JSU student wins six 2011 Miss. Broadcasters awards

Spencer McClenty

Jackson State University student Kourtney Paige’s name was called six

Kourtney C. Paige

times during the 26th Annual Mississippi Associated Press Broadcaster Awards held April 23 at the Capital Towers Building in Jackson. Paige, who hosts shows on both the university’s public radio station (WJSU 88.5FM) and closed-circuit television station (JSUTV-22), won the following awards in the College/University category:

First Place – Best Radio Newscast; First Place – Best Radio Sportscast; First and Second Place – Best Radio News Story; Second Place – Best TV Newscast; and Third Place – Best Radio Feature Story.

“I was so excited that we placed,” said Paige, a senior Mass Communications major from Louise, Miss.  “This was a team effort that included many people such as Gina Carter-Simmers, general manager of WJSU; Dale Morris, station engineer at WJSU; and Olorundare Aworuwa, interim chair of the Mass Communications Department. It was a thrill to accept the awards on behalf of all of them.”

Paige, who also received a $500 scholarship with his Best News Story award, said he produced all of his entries under the close guidance of Sunny Fridge, Ph.D, clinical assistant professor in the Mass Communications Department and L.A. Warren, community and public affairs producer at WJSU 88.5FM, for both of whom he has great respect.

“L.A. Warren is a colleague and a mentor just like Dr. Sunny Fridge. They trust my judgment and have given me the opportunity to strive for greatness. They are two incredible people and I put them both on very high pedestals. Also, JSU22, WJSU and Jackson State University have given me so much. I was proud to showcase our university at the awards and I will continue to do this even after I finish my degree. I will never forget to give back.”

Another Jackson State student, Maurice Richardson, also was honored during the ceremony, receiving the second place award for Best Radio Feature Story in the College/University category. In the Professional Radio category, WJSU 88.5FM won third place for Best Newscast (WJSU News Now Update at Five) and third place for Best Feature Story (For Colored Girls). For a complete listing of winners at the 2011 Mississippi Associated Press Broadcaster Awards visit http://www.ap.org/mississippi/Broadcast.html.

West Jackson restoration group to hold neighborhood tour and homebuyer workshop – April 30

(JACKSON, Miss.) – The organizers of a project that is restoring homes in West Jackson will hold a neighborhood tour and informational workshop from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at Koinonia Coffee House, 136 S. Adams St. near the Metro Parkway in Jackson.

Called the WESToration Initiative, the program enables new or existing homeowners in West Jackson to apply for mortgage loans to finance properties and pay for renovation costs.

The workshop will include an information session, a neighborhood trolley ride, a tour of two homes and a discussion with financial education specialist Amia Edwards with CredAbility regarding credit repair. Mississippi Department of Archives and History architectural historian Todd Saunders will be a part of the trolley ride denoting the architectural details of the featured homes. Anyone who is interested in the program is welcome.  

“A representative from Authentic Historical Designs will also be part of the tour to give people tips on what they can do with the houses,” said Curnis Upkins, III, program manager at Jackson State University’s Center for University-Based Development, which is promoting the project.

The target area for restoration encompasses a collection of neighborhoods including Pecan Park, West Park and Washington Addition and is bordered by Gallatin Street and Ellis Avenue from east to west and Capitol Street and U.S. 80 from north to south.

Launched in November 2010, the WESToration Initiative has already facilitated one home purchase and renovation, and several more are in the works.

The mortgage program, called 203(k), is administered by the Federal Housing Administration and is aimed at restoring and making older homes more energy efficient. To provide funds for the rehabilitation, the mortgage amount is based on the projected value of the property with the work completed. The loans can be used for projects ranging from replacing windows to a gut renovation.

The goal of the WESToration Initiative is to save the historic structures in the area by attracting new homebuyers and helping existing homeowners fix up their homes, said Kimberly Hilliard, director of JSU’s Center for University-Based Development, which is promoting the project.

Hilliard said the neighborhood offers close-to-downtown living with the added benefit of having a yard and access to parks and plenty of public schools. Homeowners would also quickly build equity because the homes in the area are greatly undervalued, some selling for less than $10,000.

The program is a West Jackson initiative led by Cornerstone Home Lending and whose partners include the JSU Center for University-Based Development, Atmos Energy, Wright Concepts and Leah Cim Real Estate and Property Management.

An application for a 203(k) mortgage requires an estimate from a licensed contractor for the work the loan will cover. Bo Smith of Cornerstone Home Lending said the program allows for homeowners to live within their means while customizing their houses to their specific taste and lifestyle.  

“If people could realize they could do this to these houses, it could change the landscape of consideration of homes in West Jackson,” Smith said.

To RSVP for the April 30 workshop, call the JSU Center for University-Based Development at 601-979-2255 or register online at:


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply

Los Angeles Clippers star Mo Williams to speak at JSU

Spencer McClenty

Los Angeles Clippers guard and Jackson, Miss., native Mo Williams will speak to Jackson State University students at 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 26, in the College of Business lecture room, located on the university’s main campus. The

Mo Williams

event is part of the Department of Entrepreneurship’s First Tuesday Lecture Series, a monthly program that brings local and national business people and entrepreneurs to JSU to speak to students.

“Some of our past speakers have been Con Maloney of Cowboy Maloney, Ben Allen of Downtown Jackson Partners and Judge Robert Gibbs,” said Mary White, chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Professional Development. “Mo Williams is part of the entrepreneurship community, and he has a brother (Montrell Williams) who will be graduating from our department in May 2011.”

The 2010-2011 NBA season was Williams’ ninth in the league. After a successful high school career at Murrah High School in Jackson, Williams attended college at the University of Alabama where he led his team as a freshman to a 27-8 record and a share of the 2002 Southeastern Conference regular season championship. After two seasons at Alabama, Williams entered the 2003 NBA Draft and was selected in the second round by the Utah Jazz. He has since played for three other teams: the Milwaukee Bucks, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Also, Williams founded the Mo Williams Foundation in the summer of 2005 to benefit underprivileged kids in the state of Mississippi and assist Hurricane Katrina victims

The forum is free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Mary White at mary.m.white@jsums.edu or 601-979-2541.

22 Tigers inducted into Athletic Honor Society

Wesley Peterson

2011 Halbrook Award Winners - Shauna Kay Spencer(left) and Lemnyuy Bernard Nyuykongi

Twenty-two Jackson State University student-athletes were inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society at the University’s Student Center Theater Tuesday morning. In order to be included into Chi Alpha Sigma student athletes must have lettered in their prospective sport and maintained a 3.4 grade point average or greater. 

The following student-athletes were inducted into the 2010 class of Chi Alpha Sigma: College of Business – Vishesh Bhatia (Men’s Tennis), Mitchell de Jong (Men’s Tennis). College of Education and Human Development – Chyna Coleman (Volleyball), Antoine Guice (Men’s Track), Nicole O’Grady (Softball), Raina Sanders (Women’s Track). College of Liberal Arts – Daedra Carline (Volleyball), Allison Lane (Soccer), Kenesha Phillips (Softball), Janell Plaza (Softball), Britney Shy-Nelson (Women’s Tennis), Glenn Walker (Baseball). College of Public Service – Latoya Clark (Volleyball), Daria Lawrence (Soccer). College of Science, Engineering and Technology – Ashley Blakley (Bowling), Charles Epperson (Baseball), Liana Knight (Soccer), Kendall Logan (Baseball), Elisa Mulzac (Soccer), Asha Saravanamohan (Women’s Tennis), Jennifer Sells (Women’s Golf) and Shauna-Kay Spencer (Soccer).  

In addition, Shauna Kay Spencer (Soccer) and Lemnyuy Bernard Nyuykongi (Men’s Track) were recipients of the David Halbrook award. This award is given to a male and female student-athlete with the highest grade point average. Men’s Tennis won the Academic Performance Report (APR) award with a score of 970 and soccer and women’s golf tied for the award with an APR score of 1,000.

Earnest Wilson, JSU’s offensive coordinator for football, was the guest speaker. Wilson told the inductees that they are great representatives of Jackson State University. 

“Athletics can take you all around the world,” said Wilson. “And some of you are from all parts of the world. You are great for Jackson State. You are in great company – being inductees of this organization. Chi Alpha Sigma chapters are located on 186 college campuses across the nation at some of the most prestigious universities.” 

He also stated that the female athletes are doing a great job and more males need to be inducted into the honor society and vowed that some football players will be on the list next year. 

“There are three things that we all should work on to be successful in life. (1.) Physical – as athletes you all are doing a good of that, (2.)  Mental – as scholars you are doing a good job of that and (3.) Spiritual – this is the aspect of our lives that we will have to lean on when times get tough.” 

Wilson concluded his speech with a passage from the bible – Ephesians 2:10. ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’ 

Interim Athletic Director Robert Walker also praised the 2011 induction class for their dedication on the field and in the class room.  

“You are showing that it is possible to succeed in the classroom and in athletics,” said Walker. “You are showing that you can take some of the principles used in athletics – hard work and discipline – and apply them in the classroom. You are doing a great job of getting it done.”  

Jackson Sate is only the second member Institution of Higher Learning in the state of Mississippi, and has been designated as the Mississippi Beta Chapter of Chi Alpha Sigma in 2008. Jackson State is one of six Historically Black Colleges and Universities with a chapter of Chi Alpha Sigma. 

More About Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society

Established in 1996 at DePauw University, Chi Alpha Sigma is a non-profit organization, established to recognize college student athletes who have earned a varsity letter in at least one sports while maintaining a 3.4 or higher cumulative GPA throughout their junior and senior years.  

For the purposes of rewarding high academic scholarship of college athletes at four-year accredited colleges and universities, encourage good citizenship, moral characters and friendship among the high academic achievers in college athletes, and to provide leadership to other athletes are some of the reasons this organization was chartered.  

For more information about the Mississippi Beta Chapter of Chi Alpha Sigma, contact Clarence Lowe, athletic academic coordinator at 601-979-2127 or clarence.lowe@jsums.edu.

Dr. Jimmie James Jr. establishes endowed scholarship for music students

Tommiea J. King

Dr. Carolyn Meyers (left) and Dr. Jimmie James

 Retired Jackson State University music professor Jimmie James Jr. has established the Jimmie and Carrie James Endowed Scholarship.  In a meeting with President Carolyn Meyers on Thursday, James talked about the passion he and his late wife shared for education.

“We believed that students should not be denied a college education because of their inability to pay,” James said. “Scholarships are necessary.”

The scholarship, established with a check for $20,100, will be available to students studying music and aims to support the music department’s goal of attracting and retaining promising students. Students may apply for the scholarship beginning Spring 2012.

“We certainly appreciate your investment in us,” Meyers said. “Scholarships make the future possible and dreams come true.”

James retired from JSU in 2009 after 43 years of dedicated service as a teacher, band director, and music department chairman. The Hattiesburg native was most commonly known as the voice of the Sonic Boom of the South, a position he held since his first year of employment at JSU.

James began his professional career in 1966, six years after graduating from the then Jackson State College. He was Jackson State’s first tuba major.

For more information on this and other scholarships, contact Linda Daniels at 601-979-6942.

College of Lifelong Learning faculty awarded $90,000 Fulbright-Hays Scholarship

Spencer McClenty

Carlos D. Wilson (left) and Johnnie Mills-Jones

Johnnie Mills-Jones, Dean of the College of Lifelong Learning at Jackson State University, and Carlos D. Wilson, Specialist for Global Training and Instructor in the College of Lifelong Learning, were recently awarded a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship to study the arts and culture of the Caribbean Islands. The Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the U.S. Department of Education selected a proposal submitted by Mills-Jones and Wilson. The pair will receive a grant of $90,660.

“This is the second Fulbright-Hays project that we have had funded in the last four years, Wilson said. “We were able to develop a great document of curriculum units and lesson plans as a result of our first study, which was in South Africa, and we look forward to researching the culture of the Caribbean and completing another great project.”

 The project will be hosted by universities on the islands of Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Trinidad and Tobago. The data collected will help develop lesson plans in the arts and culture of the Caribbean to enhance Caribbean studies and African-American studies in colleges and public schools.

The College of Lifelong Learning has already begun to recruit participants and plans to conduct the project during the summer of 2012. The primary goal is to increase educators’ appreciation for and knowledge of the Caribbean cultural arts through first-hand study of cultural themes that exist in the lives of the people who inspire them.

 “We will give participants the opportunity to have a glimpse of the many cultural art forms in the Caribbean islands through field trips, observations, interviews, surveys, and through participation where possible,” Mills-Jones said.

For more information about this study, contact Carlos Wilson at carlos.d.wilson@jsums.edu

Hamer Institute announces humanitarian award recipients

Fannie Lou Hamer

Hamer Institute announces humanitarian award recipients

The Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy will recognize six exceptional individuals at its 5th Annual Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Awards Luncheon to be held at 11:30 a.m., Friday, April 15 at the JSU Student Center on the university’s main campus at 1400 John R. Lynch Street.

Honorees include Monica Galloway, operations director for the Mississippi Center for Justice; Dorie Ladner, civil rights activist arrested for attempting to integrate the Woolworth’s lunch counter; Donna Ladd, an American investigative journalist and co-founder of the Jackson Free Press; Jerry Mitchell, an investigative reporter for The Clarion Ledger; Brad Pigott, community leader known for his “Weed & Seed” and “Safe Streets” programs which aim to reduce and prevent crime; and Hollis Watkins, Civil Rights leader and president of Southern Echo, Inc.

“The Hamer Institute is honored to be able to recognize these special persons in our state,” said Leslie Burl McLemore, director of the Hamer Institute. “Collectively and individually, they have helped to change the course of human history and have been instrumental in modeling a civil society.”

For more information, please contact Latosha Garrett at 601-979-1562, Keith McMillian at 601-979-1563, or email: Hamer.Institute@JSUMS.edu.

 – JSU –

About Jackson State University: Bridge to a Brighter Tomorrow

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

Judge Carlton Reeves Investiture Ceremony to be held at Rose McCoy – April 15

Judge Carlton Reeves

(JACKSON, Miss) – On April 15, 2011, Congressman Bennie Thompson and other community, judiciary, and bar leaders will honor the appointment of Carlton W. Reeves, a native of Yazoo City, as United States District Judge. Judge Reeves, who was nominated for the federal judiciary by President Barack Obama on April 28, 2010, was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on December 19, 2010 to serve as an Article III Judge in the Southern District of Mississippi. Louis Guirola, Jr., Chief Judge of the District, will preside over the investiture, and Senior District Judge William H. Barbour, Jr., who also hails from Yazoo City, will administer the oath of office.

The Investiture Ceremony will be held at the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium on the campus of Jackson State University, 1400 John R. Lynch St., Jackson. The public is invited to attend the Investiture, which will be webcast on Jackson State University’s website, www.jsums.edu.

“I am honored and deeply humbled to be given a lifetime to adjudicate life changing cases,” Reeves noted. “This investiture is a very proud moment for my family, Jackson State University, the citizens of Yazoo City, and the Magnolia Bar Association.”

Judge Reeves is a 1986 magna cum laude graduate of Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. He obtained his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1989. Upon his graduation, he clerked for Justice Reuben Anderson of the Mississippi Supreme Court. He practiced with the Phelps Dunbar law firm before serving in the U. S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Mississippi as Assistant United States Attorney and Chief of the Civil Division, where he both supervised the daily trial and appellate litigation efforts of the attorneys.

He served nationally on the Department of Justice, Civil Chiefs Working Group and was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Immediately prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Judge Reeves was engaged in the private practice of law with Pigott Reeves Johnson, P.A., a law firm he founded in 2001, where the focus of his practice was state and federal litigation. He also served as a Special Master with the Hinds County Chancery Court.

Judge Reeves is a former President of the Magnolia Bar Association and Magnolia Bar Foundation. He has also served as Commissioner of the Mississippi Board of Bar Commissioners.

The public is invited to attend the Investiture which is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 15.  The Investiture also will be webcast on Jackson State University’s website, www.jsu.ms.edu.      


JSU social work students earn top awards at statewide conference

By Jean Gordon Cook

JSU master’s candidate Kimberly McMurray (left) and undergraduate William “Nick” Nicholas received the Claire Nowlin Student Awards from the MS Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. The students will graduate in May.

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Two students from Jackson State University’s School of Social Work earned the top student prizes at the annual conference of the Mississippi Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers on March 24.

The two future social workers, master’s candidate Kimberly McMurray and undergraduate William “Nick” Nicholas, both Jackson natives, received the Claire Nowlin Student Awards, which are granted to students from accredited B.S.W. and M.S.W. schools in Mississippi. One student is selected for the graduate award and one for the undergraduate award from among nominations received from the schools.

“It is really a huge honor to be nominated by my professors for such a prestigious award,” McMurray said. “Then to actually receive the award is incredible. I have a huge sense of gratitude.”

The University of Mississippi graduate said she chose to pursue her master’s in social work at Jackson State because of the school’s reputation and the commitment of its professors.

“I had spoken to several people who spoke so highly about the social work education they received here,” she said.  “The professors really make the program. They are so dedicated and encouraging to their students. It’s really been a phenomenal experience.”

After she graduates in May, McMurray plans to get a job working with children and families and continue her studies to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

Nicholas, who returned to school to study social work after a decades-long career as a paralegal and in the information technology field, said he was “blown away” by receiving the award.

“I was just so honored, not just for me but for Jackson State,” said Nicholas, who will graduate in May. “It’s a real testament to the program here. Jackson State has the best social work program in the state of Mississippi.”

The 52-year-old said he decided to pursue a social work career after learning in 2007 that he had contracted AIDS. After he finishes his education, Nicholas plans to work with people affected by HIV/AIDS in Mississippi.

“There’s just too much to be done here,” said Nicholas, who moved back to Mississippi from California after being diagnosed with AIDS. “I really do feel like I have a calling. It took me to turn 50 years old and come down with a terminal illness to figure out what I wanted to do.”

Judge Carlton Reeves to speak at JSU Department of Political Science awards banquet

Spencer McClenty

Judge Carlton Reeves

U.S. District Court Judge and Jackson State University alumnus (’86) Carlton Reeves will be the guest speaker at the JSU Department of Political Science’s annual end-of-the-year awards banquet at 5:30 p.m., April 18, at the JSU Student Center Ballroom A. The department will recognize outstanding students and faculty, as well as honor African-American judicial and legal trailblazers in Mississippi.

Reeves, a partner in the law firm of Pigott, Reeves, and Johnson P.A. in Jackson, was appointed by President Barack Obama and sworn in last December. He served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1995 to 2001, where he was chief of the Southern District’s civil division.

 “There also will be several awards given at the banquet such as Best Student Worker, Best Grade Point Average and the Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Community Service,” said Byron D. Orey, Ph.D, chair of the Department of Political Science.

Additionally, students will have an opportunity to interact with various local and national political professionals, several of whom also will receive awards during the event.

 “We have designated the first hour of the event as a network period where the awardees can tell their stories and give advice to students face to face,” Orey said.

The banquet is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the JSU Department of Political Science at 601-979-2136.