University of Mississippi

Winkle’s Vast Contributions Honored with Fund Promoting Faculty Excellence

John Winkle

John Winkle

For nearly four decades, UM political science professor John Winkle has impacted the lives of his students and devoted ample time to academic endeavors across campus.

In honor of his years of service, the University of Mississippi has established the John W. Winkle III Fund for Faculty Excellence. The initiative will attract funds for faculty support in the Department of Political Science, providing resources and encouraging the pursuit of excellence in the spirit of Winkle’s devotion to teaching. His honors include UM’s Faculty Achievement Award among others.

Winkle, whose long tenure teaching and advising concluded in the spring of 2013, was chosen to deliver the inaugural Mortar Board Last Lecture, an annual event for the entire UM community to close the traditional academic year. Since 2003, he served as faculty advisor to  the undergraduate Mock Trial team. This opportunity led many students to continue their studies at the UM Law School.

An avid advocate of honors education, Winkle assisted in the transformation of UM’s Honors Program to the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Its academic structure includes the professor’s suggestions of a required senior research thesis and an emphasis on community service.

Among the few faculty selected to lead discussion-based honors classes and sponsor theses, Winkle’s interaction with SMBHC scholars allowed him a front-row seat to see the results of his efforts to strengthen educational opportunities for high-achieving students.

Senior honors student Frances Sullivan said, “Through his lectures and assignments, Dr. Winkle not only challenged us to push oursevles academically but to also our abilities to make a difference in society.”

TO MAKE A GIFT: Contact John Bruce, professor and chair of political science, at 662.915.7218 or jbruce@olemiss.edu, Nikki Neely at  662.915.6678 or nlneely@olemiss.edu, or visit the UM Foundation website.

Maj. Gen. James E. Donald Inducted in Alumni Hall of Fame

Maj. Gen. James E. Donald

Maj. Gen. James E. Donald

The highest annual honors for alumni who have made an outstanding contribution through good deeds, services, or contributions, admitted retired Maj. Gen. James E. Donald of Atlanta to the University of Mississippi Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 2012.

Donald, former chairman of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, earned the Bronze Star for his bold leadership as a task force commander with the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles during Gulf War I. He achieved strategic successes as deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Pacific and two tours of duty in the Pentagon. He was appointed commissioner of corrections in December 2003.

In 2009 Donald was sworn in by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to a seven-year term on the State Board of Pardons and Paroles and was subsequently elected by his colleagues to serve two consecutive terms as chairman.

A Jackson native and a 1970 graduate of UM with a B.A. in political science and history, Donald earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri.

 

Travis Gray’s Agricultural Policy Analysis

Travis Gray

Travis Gray

Travis Gray created quite a stir with his presentation at the Southeastern Conference for Public Administration in Coral Springs, Fla.

Gray’s honors thesis, “The Economic Impact Analysis of Agricultural Subsidies in Mississippi,” “was the only undergraduate paper accepted for presentation at the 2012 conference. The triple major in political science, public policy leadership, and French, who graduated in May 2013, scored high marks for his presentation.

“His paper spurred more discussion than any other on the panel,” said Joseph “Jody” Holland, visiting assistant professor in public policy leadership. “The comments focused on the big picture of food in America—what we eat and where it comes from—and on Gray’s policy recommendations. There are negative connotations around farm subsidies, so the conversation was about how these recommendations would affect individuals.

“The feedback was about sharing experiences and models that complemented his recommendations of providing subsidies to local food economies. Even though federal funds may be used, people suggested that it be managed and implemented at a local level.”

Using the Regional Economic Model, or REMI, forecasting and policy analysis tool, Gray worked with Holland to analyze a projection model of Mississippi’s economy without federal agricultural subsidies—money paid to farmers and agribusinesses to supplement their income, manage the supply of agricultural commodities and influence the cost and supply of commodities such as wheat, feed grains, or sugar.

Gray’s longitudinal analysis identified the economic impact of the state not receiving $400 million to $500 million annually in agricultural subsidies and its affect on the farm and food industries in Mississippi. His research indicated a loss of 3,000 jobs the first year with the economy eventually correcting itself through appropriate market mechanisms.

“Our panel was called Strengthening Rural Economies, which was ironic because taking away subsidies will hurt—immediately,” Gray said. “But we came up with policy recommendations for after the removal of subsidies.”

A friend’s sustainable farm and workshops for farmers prompted Gray’s interest in agricultural policy during high school in Little Rock, Ark.

He plans to attend law school and, possibly, specialize in food law.

Recent UM Graduate Elected to Summit Town Council

summit-town-168x300University of Mississippi graduate Daryl Porter Jr. has taken a step closer to his political goals by becoming the youngest elected councilman for his hometown of Summit.

As a student, the political science major was always involved, participating in College Democrats, One Mississippi and Sigma Pi fraternity at the University of Mississippi. And after going to Jackson for an internship in the Speaker of the House’s office as a policy assistant, he felt he was ready to embark on a political career.

“I’ve always loved politics,” said Porter, who graduated in May. “And I saw in the newspaper that a seat was available in Summit. You have to petition 50 signatures to run. They verified the signatures I collected and I started campaigning.”

Beginning in March and going right up to the day of the election, Porter, along with several of his friends from UM, campaigned by “knocking on doors, going to different events, shaking hands to get to know people” and telling each about his goal to bring more revenue to Summit.

Porter participated in the first Summit Town Councilman Forum, where he communicated his platform, stating that would have an open-door policy and even giving his number and address to the audience.

“I’m there for the people, I’m their voice on the town council,” he explained.

Since his win, Porter has been to only two board meetings, in July and August, but he has major plans to bring the town into the technological era. For example, the town had never had a website, but now has one, he said.

“I’ve been doing a lot of listening – seeing what has been and can be done,” Porter said.

Porter attributes much of his success to his experience at the University of Mississippi, where he took various political science classes and learned about campaigns and funding.

“Daryl represents the best qualities that we so desperately need in politics today,” said Cy Roseblatt, undergraduate academic adviser in the Department of Political Science. “He is bright, sincere, analytical and positive. If Daryl says that he will do something, he is going to do it. He exudes a quiet determination as he persists in his goal to serve others. What more can we ask of our public servants?”

“Ole Miss has a lot of great connections, if you network with the right people,” Porter said. “Cy Rosenblatt, my adviser, was instrumental. He helped me with the internship. It was great to have him and other politicians talk about how to help my campaign and the town of Summit.”

“I think what Mr. Porter has done here is very unusual,” said John Bruce, UM chair and associate professor of political science. “There are a lot of people who will run for something – to do so the month after you graduate is unusual.

“He is a remarkable young man that impressed people here and in Jackson while working for the state government. That kind of work ethic and people skills will serve him well in his new position.”

Politically, Porter looks up to District 38 state Sen. Kelvin Butler, for whom he served as a page in high school.

“Daryl has always loved the political process,” Butler said. “We need more young people like him who are interested in politics and policy. I know he will do a great job because he listens, which is the most important attribute to in joining this political arena. He is always willing to learn and doesn’t mind asking questions.”

As far as his political aspirations, Porter said he sees this as the beginning, a “laying of the foundation” for the rest of his political career. His ultimate goal is to become a U.S. senator.

“I want to set a precedent for other people my age,” he said. “You don’t have to wait until you’re 35 to start making a difference.”

The son of Daryl Sr. and Emma Porter of Summit, Porter is a graduate of McComb High School.

Political Science Major Wins International Debate

debateteam-300x168Taking first place at the China Open at Xi’an International Studies University were Austin “Woody” Wood, a senior political science major from Dallas, and  Isaac Lichlyter, a 2013 UM graduate and Croft International Studies scholar from Pelham, Ala. The two members of the  University of Mississippi forensics team and David Miller, a sophomore political science major from Clinton, represented UM at the contest.

The China Open is the International Debate Education Association’s premier competition in China, aimed at contributing to thriving debate communities and encouraging interactions among debaters.

“All of the competitors in the final round were extremely polished, so I felt very honored to be chosen by the panel of judges,” Lichlyter said. “Even more so because the panel included both Chinese and American judges, which meant our rhetoric had to be based in a multicultural understanding of the arguments. It was an incredible experience.”

His teammate was equally enthusiastic about the victory. “It was unbelievable,” Wood said. “Each round we advanced during the elimination rounds, my heart would start to beat a little faster until we were sitting on the auditorium stage during that final in front of hundreds of people from across the globe. That really was an eye-opening experience, and one I will cherish forever because it helped illuminate the vastness of our activity.”

With 109 other schools in attendance, this was UM’s first venture onto the international debate stage. Willamette University in Oregon is the driving force behind a series of regional tournaments throughout China in the fall semester that concludes with an international invitation to participate in the China Open. Tournament dates and sites were May 31-June 2 in Xi’an and June 7-9 in Beijing.

Ole Miss Debaters Look forward to China Open

Pictured from left to right : Austin “Woody” Wood, David Miller, and Isaac Lichlyter

All debates are conducted in English. Most of the teams are either hybrid or “friendship” teams, in which a Mandarin student is paired with an English-speaking student. Miller was paired with Yiming Zhao, who goes by her nickname “Amy,” a freshman English major and Mandarin Chinese national attending Xi’an Jiaotong University.

“What made this experience uniquely amazing was my partner,” said Miller, who has competed in similar debates elsewhere. “Amy started debating only six months ago, and while she speaks English very well, it is still a work in progress. She was very, very impressive to compete with. It was amazing to see how someone from a different culture would approach the same problem and find the solution in a completely different way.”

The topics for two of the elimination round debates – students debate a different topic every round during the preliminaries and elimination rounds – concerned China’s presence in space and the need for international communities to focus on domestic rather than foreign policy issues.

UM Forensics began this year competing in the British Parliamentary Worlds Style debate competitions. BP Worlds Style is an internationally relevant debate style that utilizes the traditional skill-sets of logic, reasoning and research, but encourages an international view, using a principle-driven approach to creating and debating a motion.

“Hearing the announcement of our team winning first place was incredible,” said Debra Yancy, assistant director of forensics and speech instructor who accompanied the team. “I do not usually tear up at a debate tournament, but for this one I did! I am so proud of all three of these young men. Also, I am proud to be a part of representing the University of Mississippi here in China.”

Even better than winning, Wood said, was being able to hear the thoughts, thinking styles and perspectives of cultures he has had little chance to interact with on such an intellectual level.
“It felt amazing to win, but being able to be on a huge stage with debaters from Korea, Singapore and China was an experience that will trump most experiences I’ve had,” Wood said. “I am so honored that the university has given me this opportunity and I know that it has helped me become not only a better debater, but more importantly a better human being.”

Yancy thanked Chancellor Dan Jones; Provost Morris Stocks; Glenn Hopkins, dean of the College of Liberal Arts; and Bill Gottshall, director of the Lott Leadership Institute, for the opportunity to accompany the team to China for a once-in-a- lifetime experience. She also solely credited JoAnn Edwards, director of forensics, for leading the team’s preparation for the event.

“British Parliamentary debate (or Worlds Style) is a new event for us,” Yancy said. “In fact, we appear to be one of the few teams in the South competing in this style. Acting as a judge for this tournament, I gained valuable experience to bring back home.”

News of the team’s win has brought congratulations from across the Oxford campus.
“I am most excited for the team,” said Edwards, also a speech instructor. “Our students continue to amaze me with their abilities to communicate effectively across cultural and academic audiences. We continue to be small, but mighty – honoring the power of the spoken word.”

Top UM administrators were equally enthusiastic.“I am so proud of our Ole Miss forensics team,” Jones said. “They continue to excel at the highest level. They have moved from winning national competitions to winning at the international level. Way to go!”

“The performance by members of the University of Mississippi Forensics Team at the China Open is extraordinary,” Hopkins said. “Their success in this international competition is testimony to their exceptional debating skills, as well as the expertise and dedication of their coaches and instructors.”

For more information about the China Open, go to http://willamette.edu/cla/china_debate/events/upcoming/chinaopen.html.
By Edwin Smith

John Winkle Retires After 39 Years

winkleA beloved professor of political science retires this month, but his calendar will still be full for some time to come.

John Winkle, who joined the UM faculty in 1974, has left an indelible mark on the university during his 39-year career as both an academic and a motivator.

His colleague, John Bruce, chair and associate professor of political science, said that Winkle demonstrated the best practices of faculty across his career, all the while performing extensive service for the department, college and university.

“Without doubt or hesitation, I can say that he has left the largest footprint of any faculty member here in a long time,” said Bruce, who has worked with Winkle for 17 years. “His students think the world of him and routinely mention him when contacted years after graduating from the university. Beyond the work dimension, John is a delightful person, and we have been privileged to call him a colleague and friend over the years.”

Winkle was instrumental in the creation of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the honors program before it. In the summer of 1996, he wrote a statement proposing an academic vision for a new honors college, which would be part of a larger document that then-Chancellor Robert Khayat would take to a prospective donor.

“I thought about the need for a unique and transformative experience for each student in a new honors college and I used the professorial model of research, service and teaching,” Winkle said. “I envisioned that each student would write and defend a capstone research thesis in the senior year. I thought it vital that each student understand the importance of giving back to the community in the form of required public service, and I also suggested that students instruct their peers by giving a couple of lectures in introductory classes in their disciplines.”

Two of his three recommendations – the senior thesis and the public service – are components of the Honors College experience to this day.

Winkle also gave his ideas about what would become the Lott Leadership Institute.

“In 1997, I proposed to then-Chancellor Khayat that we consider creating a program in leadership studies,” he said. “He sent Andy Mullins and me to visit colleges and universities whose programs we might model. We returned and submitted a proposal using the model of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond. Eventually, because of the chancellor’s leadership, a proposed program became an institute.”

Besides his academic work, Winkle has inspired countless students over the years. He is a recipient of the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award, as well as the Faculty Achievement award, the Random Acts of Kindness Award and the Frist Student Service Award. In 1998, the IHL presented him with the Harrison Governing Boards Award, given to one faculty member in the state system for contributions to higher education in Mississippi.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mills, a former student of Winkle’s who lives in Oxford, called him a fine instructor.

“I worked with him later when I was in the Legislature and he served as adviser to several law-related committees, and we worked together on various pieces of legislation,” said Mills, who took two constitutional law classes and a political science class from Winkle. “He is a good man and too young to retire. He must have a satisfied mind because he hasn’t aged a day since the first day I met him.”

Since 2003, Winkle has been the faculty adviser for the undergraduate mock trial program.

“I will most miss the classroom interaction and the exchange of ideas,” he said. “I challenge my students to think critically. I tell my students that the answer to any question they ask should always prompt another question, for the essence of true learning, I believe, lies in the ability to ask the better question.”

Winkle earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Mercer University and a master’s and Ph.D. in political science from Duke University. He had two visiting appointments at Emory University in 1991 and 1992; and at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1999. His research interests are judicial behavior and judicial lobbying.

He has truly loved his time at the university.

“I have respected the learning process and have encouraged my students to do so. I have cared about my students and have treated them as individuals,” he said.

Plans are under way for the John W. Winkle III Fund for Faculty Excellence.

Winkle’s retirement won’t leave him resting on his laurels, though. Next year, he plans on completing two ongoing research projects for publication.

“Thereafter, I hope to explore several possibilities, such as living abroad for six months, working for nonprofit groups, helping to launch honors programs elsewhere or becoming active in court reform projects,” Winkle said.

International Career

shruti2

Photo by Kevin Bain/UM Communications

University of Mississippi junior Shruti Jaishankar of Ridgeland could have attended any college on her long application list in 2010 when she graduated from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School as a National Merit Finalist.

In choosing her college destination, Jaishankar held at least two convictions: She knew she wanted to study international relations in preparation for her long-term goal of joining the Foreign Service and working for the U.S. Department of State, and she was seeking an environment with other students who are serious about becoming the best they can be.Upon learning about UM’s Croft Institute for International Programs, she was sold.

“I decided to attend Ole Miss because of the Croft Institute,” she said. “I always knew that I wanted to study international relations, and Croft offered me the opportunity to attend an elite program for a fraction of the cost of other prestigious international relations programs.”

“We are thrilled to have a student of Shruti’s caliber in the Croft Institute,” said Kees Gispen, Croft director. “I have taught her and seen her in action in other classes and, based on that, I can say with confidence that it’s easy to imagine Shruti as a future Foreign Service officer or in any one of a wide variety of responsible international service positions.”

Upon closer look at the university, Jaishankar also was attracted to the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, which she thought would add value to the package.

“Both Croft and the Honors College have allowed me to study with students that take their education as seriously as I do,” she said. “They have given me the opportunity to travel and interact with great minds, such as Attorney General Eric Holder and famed poet Robert Haas, and pushed me to stretch my mind and have made college rewarding and fun.”

As for travel, Jaishankar spent summer 2011 studying in Quito, Ecuador, and she is enrolled this semester at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso in Chile. Her Ole Miss tuition covers her expenses, and she is earning academic credit, with majors in international studies, political science and Spanish. She thinks it’s a good deal.

“I think studying abroad is the best experience a student can have while finishing an undergraduate degree. It allows you to see America through the lens of other countries and leads to a greater understanding of how the world works. The United States is not alone in the world, and it’s important to develop relationships with people from different countries so we can become truly thankful for the privileges we may take for granted, while also learning to understand the flaws of our own society.”

She chose Chile for her study destination because she plans to write her honors thesis about how American electoral laws compare with those around the world.

“Since my concentration in Croft is in Latin America, I chose Chile because it has a unique electoral system with a fascinating history, and I also wanted to experience the rich Chilean culture and travel to regions like Patagonia.”

She expects to get a firsthand look at the country’s culture while living with a host family and commuting to classes at the PUCV.

Jaishankar is slated to graduate from Ole Miss in May 2014, with bachelor’s degrees in both international studies and political science. She hopes to land an internship with the White House or the Department of State, before continuing her education.

“I want to eventually apply to a (juris doctor/master’s) program, where I’ll finish a law degree and a master’s in international relations.”

Besides her academic enrichment and travel abroad, Jaishankar has been rewarded in other ways since arriving on the Oxford campus.

“Ole Miss has taught me to interact with people from many different backgrounds and all walks of life,” she said. “I truly think I’ve become a kinder person after spending so much time among the warm and welcoming Ole Miss community.”

Former UM Linebacker Tackles Meridian Classroom

Jonathan Cornell

Jonathan Cornell

Former University of Mississippi middle linebacker Jonathan Cornell has gone from breaking through offensive linemen to teaching Meridian High School students about African American literature and public speaking during his first year in the Mississippi Teacher Corps.

The February UM School of Education student of the month, Cornell grew up as the youngest of six children in Azusa, California. He graduated from Bishop Amat High School in 2006 with a football scholarship to the University of Mississippi. He graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

“He’s become an outstanding teacher in a short time,” said Aaron Johnson acting Teacher Corps program manager who nominated Cornell. “I think it’s because he’s extremely positive and wants to share his experiences. He came from a challenging background in California, then became a successful football player, then he became a teacher in a critical needs school. He reaches out to his students and teaches in an almost coaching fashion.”

During his undergraduate years, the athlete-turned-teacher said he became intellectually inspired by several UM faculty members including political science professor Susan Allen—one of multiple teachers, he remembers, who inspired him to think deeper and even apply the mindset of a linebacker to his studies.

“I knew we were reaching him when he started drawing parallels between theories of international conflict and football,” said Allen. “I have no doubt that his students in Meridian are starting to make connections between the things they learn in Mr. Cornell’s class and their everyday lives.”

During one of Allen’s political science classes, Cornell remembers submitting drafts of a research paper while the professor continually asked him to reevaluate his work with questions such as “Why do you think this?” and “Why do you propose that?”

At first, he became frustrated. But today, he appreciates the “why” questions and tries to bring the same challenge to his students. He also applies his football experience to his new career.

“I remember Coach O used to always tell us ‘be a pro’,” he said. “I didn’t fully understand that until I joined the Teacher Corps. As a teacher you have to be a pro every day with all that you do.”

The Teacher Corps offers non-education college graduates teacher training and job placement for two years in critical-needs schools across North and Central Mississippi as well as the chance to earn a master’s degree in education free of charge during weekend classes and summer classes at the UM School of Education, the state’s largest producer of teacher and educational leadership candidates.

A rigorous summer training program, hosted by Teacher Corps staff and faculty at Holly Springs High School with summer school students from surrounding North Mississippi school districts, is a trial by fire for new recruits.

The process is heavily based on learning by doing combined with a mentor system between Teacher Corps veterans and current members. Not unlike athletes, teachers are asked to review their performance on video and address strengths and weaknesses as classroom leaders.

“You’re thrown out there and you either sink or swim,” said Cornell. “The majority of us end up swimming but there are a few who end up sinking. That strengthens you.”

Cornell hopes to continue his teaching career after he graduates from the program in May 2014.

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Doctoral Student’s Fellowship Allows for One-of-a-Kind Research

Perseverance and a unique research proposal led to a Boren Fellowship for a University of Mississippi political science student.

Matthew Becker visits the location of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand I in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Matthew Becker visits the location of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand I in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The Boren Fellowship is a highly competitive, national competition,” said Matthew Becker, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science. “Being awarded this fellowship is truly an honor, for it shows the importance of my research; this is because the Boren Fellowship focuses on geographic areas, languages and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security.”

The Boren Fellowship provides American graduate students with an opportunity to add an international and language component to their education. The fellowship will fund one year of Becker’s dissertation research in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as intermediate-level Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian language study. While overseas, Becker will be visiting approximately 24 cities and towns, where he will give surveys to high school seniors.

“My dissertation is on the role of schools and history textbooks in the political socialization and ethnic identity formation of high school students in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Becker said. “My research will be the first quantitative, Bosnian-wide research of its kind on this topic.”

A Florida native, Becker holds master’s degree in international affairs and a bachelor’s in political science, both from Florida State University. He will leave for Bosnia and Herzegovina in July 2012 and will be there until July 2013.

Before he goes overseas, Becker will study Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian languages at the Critical Languages Institute, or CLI, at Arizona State University. His goal is to reach the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages proficiency level of B2 “Vantage or Upper Intermediate” in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.

“CLI is an intensive summer language program that offers several critical-needs and less commonly taught languages,” Becker said. “I have also been awarded a U.S. Department of State Title VIII Fellowship as part of my domestic language study this summer. I studied elementary-level Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian last summer at CLI, which was funded by a Title VIII Fellowship.”

Cooper Retreat2

Dr. Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper, associate professor of political science, was Becker’s adviser at UM.

“Matthew Becker has a wonderful opportunity to conduct original field research in Bosnia for his dissertation,” Cooper said. “He plans to conduct a survey of attitudes toward each of the three main ethnic groups in Bosnia – that is, the survey respondent’s own ethnic group and the other two. He will also be able to gather numerous primary sources that are available only in Bosnia.”

Cooper feels that Becker is deserving of the fellowship because of his unique research interests.

“From the time he arrived at the university, Matthew has had a very strong interest in issues of ethnicity in post-communist Eastern Europe in general and the former Yugoslavia in particular,” Cooper said. “He has invested substantial time and energy into study of the languages spoken in Bosnia. His dissertation topic is original and well ‘off the beaten path.’ With the Boren Fellowship, Matthew is in an excellent position to pursue unique research.”

Becker is eager to begin his research overseas.

“I am very excited about advancing my language proficiency and acquisition via total language and cultural immersion, as well as the opportunity afforded to me by the Boren Fellowship to conduct original field research that is relevant to the academic and policy communities,” he said.

Cooper believes that Becker’s fellowship says a lot about the overall work of graduate students in the political science department.

“The doctoral work of students in the political science department is on an exciting upward trajectory,” she said. “Graduate students receive excellent training in the department, and we are happy to see it culminate in their dissertations.”

UM Alumni Association Honors 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees

2012 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee retired Maj. Gen. James E. Donald (B.A. 1970) of Atlanta.

Retired Maj. Gen. James E. Donald (B.A. 1970) of Atlanta was awarded the University of Mississippi Alumni Association’s highest honor when he was inducted into the 2012 Alumni Hall of Fame during Homecoming. 

Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors those select alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their country, state or the University of Mississippi through good deeds, services or contributions.

Donald is former chairman of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. He earned the Bronze Star for his bold leadership as a task force commander with the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” during Gulf War I. He achieved strategic successes as deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Pacific and two tours of duty in the Pentagon. He was appointed commissioner of corrections in December 2003.

In 2009, Donald was sworn in by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to a seven-year term on the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. He was subsequently elected by his colleagues to serve two consecutive terms as chairman of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Donald is a Jackson native and a 1970 graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in political science and history. He earned his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri.