Carolyn W. Meyers invested as JSU’s 10th president

President Carolyn W. Meyers

(JACKSON, Miss.) – The Jackson State University community joined city, state and national leaders and delegates from colleges, universities and educational associations from around the country on March 30 for the investiture ceremony of JSU’s 10th and first female president, Carolyn W. Meyers.

Gov. Phil Bryant addressed the audience at the Rose Embly McCoy Auditorium after the procession of faculty and delegates dressed in blue, gold, green and crimson academic regalia.

“It seems like she’s always getting it right,” Bryant said about Meyers’ slate of accomplishments during her first year at JSU. “She has increased by tenfold the fundraising and enrollment is at an all-time high. I would like to say to the other university presidents who are here – look out, you have some competition.”

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. also praised Meyers’ achievements at JSU.

“Dr. Meyers has been at the helm of Jackson State University for a while now and already she has made great strides,” he said to the assembly. “Jackson State University is very important to the city of Jackson and the entire state of Mississippi.”

The investiture ceremony was steeped in history and tradition. State Institutions of Higher Learning Commissioner Hank Bounds administered the oath of office, and along with IHL board member and JSU alum Bob Owens and IHL president Robin Robinson, presented Meyers with the presidential Chain of Office. The chain is a symbol of office dating from medieval times that honors the highest official at an educational institution. Meyers’ chain is made up of curved banners engraved with the names of JSU’s nine previous presidents. A banner engraved with her name is located at the center of the chain above the university medallion.

In her inaugural address  –  much of which was directed to JSU students  –  Meyers spoke about unity of purpose, dreaming big and excellence in all things.

‎”You have our collective and unwavering vow that all of us at Jackson State University today will do all that we can to help make your dreams come true,” she told the students.

Meyers also spoke about JSU’s history, and how the university got its start in 1877 as a seminary for 20 newly freed slaves.

 “It was 20 young people who started this university, and you young people are this university,” she said. “You must never let the flame go out.”

Meyers emphasized JSU’s value to the region, where in 2010, the university’s economic impact exceeded $413 million.

 “Jackson State is not only located in this urban area, we’re also of the city and for the city,” she said. “As Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State University must lead the development of realistic solutions to Mississippi’s urban problems.”

Meyers took the helm of Jackson State University in January 2011. Under her leadership, JSU earned a 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and national accreditations in business, teacher education and engineering as well as full certification by the NCAA. Meyers also pushed Jackson State University enrollment to an all-time high of 8,903, increased fundraising tenfold to $4.2 million, and positioned the university to become a national model for educating the underserved and achieving global recognition for excellence in education, research and service.

Meyers brings to Jackson State University more than 30 years of academic and administrative leadership experience in higher education, serving most recently as President of Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va. She served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she was a tenured professor of mechanical engineering and Dean of the College of Engineering. Meyers also was a tenured faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology and was the first Associate Dean for Research in its College of Engineering.

A native of Newport News, Va., Meyers earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Howard University, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and completed post-doctoral work at Harvard University. She is a fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The final inauguration event will be the Inaugural Reception and Gala, which begins at 6 p.m. March 30 at the Walter Payton Recreation and Wellness Center.

For more information about the JSU Presidential Inauguration, visit http://www.jsums.edu/presidential-inauguration.

JSU chemistry professor breaks new ground fighting Salmonella

(JACKSON, Miss.) –  Jackson State University professor of chemistry and biochemistry Paresh C. Ray presented his groundbreaking research on how popcorn-shaped gold nanoparticles help detect and kill Salmonella during a March 27 meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

Ray’s work fulfills an urgent need for a faster way to detect Salmonella, especially the multiple-drug resistant (MDR) strains that cause the most serious disease in food and drinking water. In the U.S., Salmonella-contaminated food causes at least 1.6 million cases of food poisoning annually.

“The test for lettuce requires just a tiny sample of lettuce leaf,” Ray explained. “It doesn’t take a trained laboratory technician to perform the test or read the results. If the color changes from pink to bluish, that signals the presence of Salmonella. The test is suitable for use in farm fields and in remote areas of the developing world. We believe it may have enormous potential for rapid, on-site pathogen detection to avoid the distribution of contaminated foods.”

To find the bacteria faster, Ray and colleagues at Jackson State University enlisted gold nanoparticles that are 1 million times smaller than an ant. The researchers attached antibodies similar to those that help the immune system find and fight infections with Salmonella, to the nanoparticles. Viewed under a powerful microscope, the gold nanoparticles look somewhat like individual pieces of popcorn.

When these antibodies encounter Salmonella bacteria, they attach to the outer surface of the bacteria, carrying along their cargo of gold popcorn-shaped nanoparticles. The test, with its pink-to-blue color change, detects those gold nanoparticle-antibody-Salmonella structures, which Ray calls “aggregates.”

The approach also has potential for killing MDR Salmonella, Ray said.

“When you shine the right wavelength of light into contaminated water, for instance, the gold nanoparticles absorb that light and heat up,” he explained. “Those hot particles burn through the outer membrane of the Salmonella bacteria, killing the bacteria.”

Ray and colleagues first developed the popcorn-shaped particles to find and fight cancer. The shape was chosen because it boosts the signal for detection using something called Raman spectroscopy, which looks at the light given off after atoms or molecules absorb energy. Ray explained that this detection method is useful in other applications of the particles. “In science, we call that the lightning rod effect,” said Ray, describing how the splayed “tips” of the popcorn shape enhance the signal and make it easier to see. The group has also used the nanoparticles to detect other microbes, like E. coli.

Despite gold’s stature as a precious and very costly metal, only tiny amounts are needed, Ray noted. About $90 worth of gold is enough to make gallons of the solution containing the nanoparticles. And only a few drops of the solution are needed seek out Salmonella bacteria.

Ray said the technology can be commercialized, and a patent is pending. With concerns about the potential health and environmental effects of many kinds of nanoparticles, Ray’s team is investigating the effects of gold nanoparticles remaining in purified water, for instance. So far, they have found no short-term toxicity and will be checking on any potential long-term toxicity.

Funding for Ray’s research at JSU comes in part from the National Science Foundation.

JSU chemistry graduate student awarded in the National Symposium on Prostate Cancer

Mahabubur Rhaman

Jackson State University graduate chemisty student Mahabubur Rhaman won the prize in the Graduate Poster Competition at the 8th Annual National Symposium on Prostate Cancer held in Atlanta March 18 -20. Rhaman will receive a certificate and $250 from the symposium.

In this poster, Rhaman discussed his research work on transition metal complexes of macrocycles and their application in anion sensing and DNA cleavage. Such molecules hold the potential for curing certain cancer cells.

Rhaman is currently a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Md. Alamgir Hossain, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at JSU, and his research is supported by the National Science Foundation’s CAREER program.

Mississippi Legislature issues resolution commending JSU President Meyers

(JACKSON, Miss.) –  The Mississippi House and Senate each issued a concurrent resolution on March 28 commending Jackson State University President Carolyn W. Meyers for her dedication to the university and congratulating her on her formal investiture as JSU’s 10th president.

Sen. John Horhn (left), Gov. Phil Bryant, JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers and Sen. Derrick Simmons at the Mississippi Capitol March 28.

“A concurrent resolution is the highest honor you can get,” said Rep. Earle Banks, who put forth the House resolution. “We wanted to have this recognition in honor of President Meyers because she’s such a wonderful leader of Jackson State. She’s an asset to the community, the students and the staff and faculty.”

JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers with Rep. Earle Banks at the Mississippi Capitol March 28.

Sen. John Horhn introduced the Senate resolution.

“We’re really pleased to have you here,” Horhn said before the Senate. “You’ve provided great leadership.”

Members of the House and Senate both gave Meyers a standing ovation when she appeared in their chambers.

“I want to thank you for this honor and your friendship and support,” Meyers told the lawmakers. “I want to thank you for doing well for Jackson State University.”

The resolutions both commended Meyers for her accomplishments at JSU. Under her leadership, the university earned a 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and national accreditations in business, teacher education and engineering as well as full certification by the NCAA. Meyers also pushed enrollment to an all-time high of 8,903 and increased fundraising tenfold to $4.2 million through alumni, private and corporate contributions.

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JSU campus community set for presidential inauguration


JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University President Carolyn W. Meyers will be installed as the university’s 10th and first female president during an investiture ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, March 30, in the Rose Embly McCoy Auditorium. The ceremony is part of three days of events that start on Wednesday, March 28, and run through March 30. The schedule of events will celebrate Jackson State University’s 134 years of excellence. The public is invited to attend.

Close to 100 delegates from colleges, universities and educational associations from around the country will take part in the investiture ceremony along with the State Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, Jackson State University’s faculty and administration officers and members of the JSU National Alumni Association. The full campus community will be in attendance.

Meyers took the helm of Mississippi’s Urban University in January 2011. Under her leadership, Jackson State earned a 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and national accreditations in business, teacher education and engineering as well as full certification by the NCAA. Meyers also pushed Jackson State University enrollment to an all-time high of 8,903, increased fundraising tenfold to $4.2 million, and positioned the university to become a national model for educating the underserved and achieving global recognition for excellence in education, research and service.

Meyers brings to Jackson State University more than 30 years of academic and administrative leadership experience in higher education, serving most recently as President of Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va. She served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she was a tenured professor of mechanical engineering and Dean of the College of Engineering. Meyers also was a tenured faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology and was the first Associate Dean for Research in its College of Engineering.

A native of Newport News, Va., Meyers earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Howard University, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and completed post-doctoral work at Harvard University. She is a fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Presidential Inauguration schedule:

Wednesday, March 28
JSU Student Reception, Gibbs-Green Pedestrian Walkway (East end)
Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Faculty, Staff and Community Appreciation Reception, President’s Home (on the grounds)
1 – 2:30 p.m.

Business and Legislative Reception,Mississippi Museum of Art (by invitation)
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 29
Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast, Mississippi e-Center @JSU, 1230 Raymond Road, Jackson
8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Symposium, Rose Embly McCoy Auditorium
10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

International Luncheon, JSU Student Center – Ballroom
Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Open House for Academic Colleges and Divisions
JSU main campus, Jackson Medical Mall and Universities Center
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Alumni Reception, Hilton Garden Inn – Ballroom, 235 W. Capitol St., Jackson
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Friday, March 30
Investiture Ceremony, Rose Embly McCoy Auditorium

10 a.m. – Noon

Inaugural Lunch (by invitation), JSU Student Center – Ballroom
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Inaugural Reception and Gala, Walter Payton Recreation and Wellness Center
6 p.m. Reception – 7 p.m. Dinner
Cost per person: $50

For more information about the JSU Presidential Inauguration, visit http://www.jsums.edu/presidential-inauguration

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JSU junior selected for Summer Institute at Princeton University

Donavan Mitchell

Jackson State University political science and English major Donavan Mitchell has been selected to participate in the 2012 Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute (JSI) at Princeton University.

The JSI is part of the Public Policy & International Affairs Fellowship Program, a national consortium of the top public policy and international affairs graduate schools that prepare college juniors for advanced degrees and careers serving the public good.

 “I’m excited,” said the 20-year-old Mitchell. “I had applied for the internship in late October, and I did not receive confirmation of my acceptance until late February. I was waiting and praying for so long that I would be chosen because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

In addition to Princeton, there are four other schools that host a PPIA Summer Institute: the University of California at Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Michigan.

“I just thank God for the chance to participate,” Mitchell said. “I want to network with top students from around the country and improve my knowledge in the areas of public policy and international affairs.”

The institute at Princeton is a highly focused and rigorous academic program that will help students gain a comprehensive understanding of the university’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the opportunities available for public policy and international affairs careers. Students will take courses in public policy, statistics and economics.

The program, which begins on June 14 and ends on August 3, provides a stipend of $1,500 and covers expenses for all courses, textbooks, transportation, housing and meals.
_________________
Spencer McClenty
601-979-1457

 

JSU to host Jacob Lawrence art show, panel discussion

Jackson State University Johnson Hall Gallery hosting The Migration of the Negro by Jacob Lawrence Series of Prints

Panel Discussion on The Migration of the Negro series and The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

Exhibit Dates: March 27, 2012, through June 4, 2012

Opening Reception, Tuesday, March 27 – 4 to 6 p.m.

Panel Discussion, Thursday, March 29 – 3 to 4 p.m.

About the Art:

The Migration of the Negro, 1940 – 1941, is a series of 60 works by American artist Jacob Lawrence. The series is considered one of the greatest American masterpieces of the 20th century. Lawrence expresses through visual art a story that had never before been told this way. In March 1942, less than a year after its completion, the original series was divided evenly between the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.

All 60 reproduction-prints, courtesy of The Walter O. Evans Collection of African-American Art, will show in the Johnson Hall Gallery on the campus of Jackson State University. The exhibit is free and open to public. Hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please call the JSU Art Department for more information, 601.979.2040 or visit www.jsums.edu/art/

About the Book:

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. Wilkerson, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, tells the story of the mass movement of six million African Americans from the south to the north in the middle decades of the 20th century – told through the lives of three people who joined the exodus.

Discussion Panel, Thursday, March 29 – 3 to 4 p.m. (Free and open to the public):

The discussion panel will create a dialogue around the two works of art and the historic migration itself.  Four distinguished panelists will be featured:

Dr. Robert Luckett, Director – Margret Walker Center for the Study of the African-American Experience

Dr. Yumi Park, Art Historian – Jackson State University Art Department

Dr. Charles K. Chiplin, English Instructor – The Division of Undergraduate Studies

Dr. Walter O. Evans – African-American Art Collector

For more information, contact:
Kimberly Jacobs, Gallery Director
Gallery 1 at Jackson State University
601.960.9250 (phone)
601.960.7551 (fax)
gallery1@jsums.edu