OXFORD, Miss.—The University of Mississippi School of Education inducted its third class of alumni into its Hall of Fame in May.
Collectively, the six inductees have more than 200 years of wisdom, experience and commitment to education and public service in Mississippi and across the country.
The 2017 honorees include: Thomas R. Burke of Kansas City, Kansas; Laura Dunn Jolly of Ames, Iowa; Robert C. Khayat of Oxford; Jean M. Shaw of Oxford and the late Theopolis P. Vinson of Oxford. Carole Lynn Meadows of Gulfport, the second recipient of the School’s Outstanding Educational Service Award, was recognized during the ceremony on May 12 at the Inn at Ole Miss.
The School of Education Alumni Board of Directors selected honorees from nominations submitted earlier this year.
“The School of Education Alumni Hall of Fame honors those who have made a significant and long-term impact on the education profession,” said UM Education Dean David Rock. “These six individuals are the epitome of what the University of Mississippi and the School of Education represents.”
Burke began his educational journey at Ole Miss in 1969, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1970 and a master’s degree in 1972 (both in history) and a doctorate in higher education in 1981. From there, he embarked on a distinguished 39-year career at four community colleges.
Burke progressed in roles at Kansas City Kansas Community College from history professor to dean of instruction to vice president and then president of the community college in 1992, a position he served 19 years until his retirement in 2011. Burke is also a member of the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame and The Thomas R. Burke Technical Education Center was named for him.
“It is certainly a high recognition from the School of Education, which I am honored to receive,” Burke said. “In my career, I learned more from my mistakes than my successes. I think the real key is to learn not to make the same mistake over and over again but never be afraid to take action because you might make a mistake.”
Jolly, who is currently the dean of College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University, received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi in 1977, and then advanced her education with a master’s degree and doctorate from Oklahoma State University.
Jolly has a 38-year tenure with six different institutions of higher learning. Jolly received a Taylor Medal from Ole Miss in 1977, earned Georgia’s Most Powerful and Influential Women Award from the National Diversity Council in 2011, and was named “100 Graduates of Significance” by the graduate School at Oklahoma State in 2012.
“I am truly honored,” said Jolly. “As I think about it, Ole Miss was such an important part of my educational foundation. It’s really wonderful to be recognized in this way. I feel very honored and humbled.”
Khayat, the 15th chancellor of the University of Mississippi earned a bachelor’s degree from the UM School of Education in 1961. He then went on to obtain a Juris Doctor degree from Ole Miss in 1966 and then a Masters of Law degree from Yale University in 1980.
Khayat shaped the history of Ole Miss by raising more than $900 million in gifts to the university, establishing the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, attracting a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter and hosting a presidential debate among many other accomplishments. He also published a book, “The Education of a Lifetime,” which chronicles his life and times at Ole Miss.
“If teaching is what makes you happy, I doubt you could find a better thing to do that would be more rewarding than teaching,” Khayat said. “I’ve taught eighth grade science and I’ve taught law school. I’m so thankful my road took me to education and higher education and being able to teach.”
Shaw, who is the first faculty member of the School of Education selected to its Hall of Fame, obtained a mathematics undergraduate degree from Bradley University, a master’s degree in mathematics from Northwestern University, a Master of Education degree from Ole Miss in 1974 and a doctorate in education from Columbia University.
Shaw, a math and science educator, taught students from pre-kindergarten to graduate school for more than 40 years, including 30 years at Ole Miss from 1976 to 2006.
“As a teacher educator I had a lot of opportunities,” Shaw said. “I had the opportunity to meet people, to go to conferences, to speak at conferences, to be on editorial boards and work with very talented people. Working alongside dedicated educators and student teachers was an honor.”
Vinson is the first deceased person to be inducted to the School’s Hall of Fame. Vinson received a master’s degree in 1982 and then a doctorate in 1997 from the University of Mississippi.
A former teacher, he joined the staff of the School of Education in 1989 by serving as director of undergraduate student advising and field experience and assistant dean. He also worked with the Mississippi Teachers Corps, serving in Mississippi’s most critical needs school districts.
Meadows earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Mississippi in 1960 and a master’s degree in business education in 1964.
Meadows has invested 27 years as a teacher, 22 of those years at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. She is co-founder of the nationally renowned Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, Mississippi, which is the first children’s museum in the state. From 2009 to 2012, she chaired the Mississippi Council on Economic Education Board, which includes 40 top business executives and is a national leader in providing instruction and curriculum to K-12 teachers to be able to teach students to think from an economic point of view.
“What could be better than to be recognized for what you have done all your life with passion,” Meadows said. “We have an enormous role as teachers and educators. We are molding what’s to be. That’s a big responsibility, but it’s a good one.”
The School of Education Alumni Hall of Fame was established in 2015, when UM inducted its charter class of three alumni: Milton Kuykendall of DeSoto County, Judith Reynolds of Clinton and Jerome Smith of Jackson.
The 2016 class included: Suzie Mills Adcock of Jackson; Jahnae H. Barnett of Fulton, Missouri; Charles Robert Depro of Sikeston, Missouri; Cathy Stewart of Oxford; and Cecil C. Brown Jr. of Jackson. Brown received the School of Education’s first-ever service award for non-education alumni.
by Kathleen Murphy