David Hoard, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, featured in Clarion-Ledger

From Clarion-Ledger.com
by Editorial Director David Hampton

David Hoard, Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Tell us about yourself and why you chose to come to Jackson State.

I came to Jackson State because of the leadership change Dr. Carolyn Meyers was putting together. I’d worked with Dr. Meyers at North Carolina A&T State University and consulted with her over the years. I’ve been very impressed with every aspect of her leadership skills and style. Prior to my arrival, I was executive director of advancement at the Savannah College of Art and Design and its campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, France and Hong Kong. I’m president and CEO of D.W. Hoard and associates, a development consulting firm that concentrates on fundraising and endowment enhancing. At North Carolina A&T, I directed a $100 million campaign. I’ve served in similar fundraising capacities and North Carolina Central University and the State System for Higher Education in Pennsylvania.

What have been your impressions?

I think I was like everyone else who comes to Mississippi with preconceived notions. I’ve found most of the negative things I’d heard about just don’t exist. There are so many positives. I’ve found many great areas in Jackson in particular. I love the Fondren area, Belhaven and West Jackson. I just think Mississippi needs a strong marketing program. I knew about Jackson State’s strong reputation before I even thought about coming here. In fact, at North Carolina A&T, the only school we really considered our competition was Jackson State. Now that I’m here, Jackson State has exceeded my expectations.

What are your goals?

That’s very easy. I wake up every day thinking of past, current and future donors. What are the best ways to retain our donors and find new ones? How are we marketing all of the successes and wonderful stories of Jackson State? We have publicly said our goals this year are to raise $5 million and raise alumni giving by 5 percent. My teams in the past have been successful in raising the alumni giving percentages. At North Carolina A&T, we went from 5 percent to 16 percent in four years.

Are there any campaigns in the works?

At this time there is no major campaign in the works. We are trying to raise money for the president’s inauguration on March 30, so no state funds will be utilized. The alumni have set a goal of surpassing $1 million in gifts for the first time in the university’s history. At Dr. Meyers’ inauguration, the alumni will present a check to the university.

How important is private fundraising to the university?

There are only a few revenue sources for any university: tuition, auxiliary services, endowment and private giving. We can’t raise tuition to cover cuts in state appropriations all the time, so private giving must be successful and increase dramatically. Private giving will also drive the growth of the endowment.

Any success stories?

Carlton Brown, the developer of Jackson’s Old Capitol Green project, recently made a pledge of $2 million to the university. That is one of the largest gifts ever for Jackson State. Also, I think it is wonderful that President Meyers made a personal gift of $10,000 at the start of the semester. That really set the tone for the year. Not many presidents take the lead like that.

What is the most important project for which you would like to see private funds?

Scholarships are the No. 1 need, not only for the super stars, but assistance must be given to those in the middle as well. We have a sizable number of students who don’t complete their studies because they owe a relatively small amount of tuition. A fund to assist them would be wonderful.

What experiences have influenced you?

Playing football in high school really helped influence who I am today. I was not that good of a football player, but I noticed during the offensive lineman drills, the coach would always call the first person in line to either demonstrate the right way or the wrong way to do the drill. So I figured I would always be first in line. That way, I’d always get to do it right or I’d have the coach use me as an example to teach me how to do it right. It worked perfectly because when it was time to do the starting lineup, my name was always called. That taught me to always try to be first or close to first. You miss out on a lot if you’re not. Another lesson I’ve learned is to be a great listener. People will always tell everything about themselves, which is critical for any fundraiser. You have to listen and that is very difficult for a lot of people.

You were involved in a project recreating the Underground Railroad. What was that like?

I led a student project at Oberlin College, my alma mater, where we recreated a group slave escape walking 420 miles during the month of January in 1980. We were dressed as slaves and slept in corn cribs. There were nine students in our group. Seven walked, one was a videographer and another acted as an advance person going ahead 30 miles to find a barn for us to sleep in and give us decent directions about how to get there. That whole experience changed my life. That was the first time I wrote a grant and received funding. I worked closely with various staff at the college who were helpful, but ultimately most of the responsibility of the project fell on me. I had my 15 minutes of fame at a young age. Three reporters were with us most of the trip. After the experience, I was flown to be on Good Morning America. After the show, I went home to Philadelphia, Pa. While shopping in the grocery store with my mother, four or five people recognized me from the morning’s show. My mother was beaming!

What do you see for the future of HBCUs?

Some HBCUs will eventually close. Some predominantly white institutions will close. But Jackson State’s future is strong. Enrollment is increasing. The infrastructure is in place. We have strong faculty and staff. The fundraising component is in place. No one ever questions the future of Catholic universities or women’s colleges or Jewish universities. But everyone questions the future of HBCUs. Why? They are an easy target. There is an assumption of inferiority. But in reality, the hardest teaching and learning takes place at HBCUs. The faculty, staff and students have a lot to prove.

Anything to add?

I love being in Jackson, which says a lot. This time last year, I was preparing for a trip to Paris or Hong Kong. Never would I have thought I would have been in Mississippi. But listening to Dr. Meyers outline her vision for creating the kind of team and environment where we can all be the best made me want to come here. That is so exciting. Who doesn’t want to work in that kind of environment? I like being the best. I want Jackson State to be No. 1.

JSU student, Marissa Simms, opens on-campus boutique

From Clarion-Ledger.com
by Cassandra Mickens

Marissa Simms runs Royal Bleau Boutique at One University Place at Jackson State University in Jackson. / Rick Guy/The Clarion-Ledger

Marissa Simms’ laser-like ambition will prove to be a vital tool in building her own empire.

“I want to be a mogul,” said Simms, 22, a Jackson State University student and Callaway High School alum whose passions lie in fashion, entertainment and creative writing.

“I want to do everything, and you can do everything. You just can’t do it all at the same time.”

Simms is taking her own advice as she carefully maps her path to moguldom. Earlier this month, she opened Royal Bleau Boutique at One University Place, a mixed-use development on JSU’s campus.

“I really love shopping and fashion. It’s a hobby that’s turned into a passion,” she said. “Why not try to make money off your passion?”

Simms, a mass communications major and speech minor who will graduate in May, has fulfilled her course requirements. Her focus now is prerequisite courses for admission to JSU’s Master of Business Administration program. While textbook business lessons are valuable, Simms treasures real life, hands-on experience.

“I went and jumped in the deep end. There was so much to learn about real estate, contracts, subleasing, vendors … Ooh wee, this was a journey,” she said, her voice trailing off.

“I was most intimidated by the business plan because it’s so detailed in terms of marketing, projects costs and investors.”

Simms credits her parents, Camille Stutts Simms and Kermit Simms, for offering insight and guidance along the way.

“Whether this is successful or not, I’m so happy I did this,” she said. “Now I’m not intimidated about starting any business. I’m excited about starting at an early age.”

As a former Miss Freshman, Miss Sophomore and Miss JSU finalist, Simms, also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., has garnered overwhelming support from peers as well as the surrounding community. Simms said Royal Bleau fills a niche that hasn’t been tapped before – an affordable, chic one-stop shop for “ready to wear” fashion brands and college and Greek apparel.

“There are not a lot of places to shop around campus. I have a target market right here I can cater to,” she said. “A lot of people have come in because they’re fascinated by my story, opening a business at 22. I’m just very comfortable here. JSU is my home.”

Simms continues to brainstorm business ideas, such as adding menswear and plus-size clothing to her lineup. And she’s already talking of expansion, as any mogul would.

“I want to open up another boutique soon,” she said.

JSU to celebrate 134th Founders’ Day

Spencer McClenty

Jackson State University will bring together its past and present during the 134th Founders’ Day celebration, Oct. 27-28, on the university’s main campus, 1400 John. R. Lynch St., Jackson, Miss.

Leonard Moore, a 1993 JSU graduate and associate vice president for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, will be the keynote speaker at the Founders’ Day Convocation at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, on the campus’ Gibbs-Green Pedestrian Walkway.

Moore’s research interests include modern African-American history, black urban history, and the intersection of race, sports and hip-hop. He is the author of Black Rage in New Orleans: Police Brutality and African American Activism from World War II to Hurricane Katrina and Carl B. Stokes and the Rise of Black Political Power.

The annual Bell Ringing Ceremony will follow the convocation at 11:30 a.m. at the front entrance to Ayer Hall.  In the event of inclement weather, both events will be moved to the Rose Embly McCoy Auditorium, also on the main campus.

Jackson State alumnus Julie Jones Miller will be the keynote speaker during the Founders’ Day Banquet held at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28 at the JSU Student Center.

The former Miss JSU 1990-91 earned a Master’s of Science degree in broadcast management from Southern Methodist University.

In 1995, Miller joined Abbott Laboratories as a pharmaceutical medical representative in Houston, Texas.  In 2010, she transitioned to her current role in the Vascular Division as divisional vice president, Market Intelligence, Marketing Communication and Customer Initiatives.

In addition to her professional responsibilities, Miller is co-founder and co-director of the Meredith Erin Miller Foundation, which was established in 2008 in honor of 11-year-old Meredith Erin Miller to support the needs of pediatric cardiology patients and their families with medical care. The foundation also contributes to the field of cardiology by providing tuition and educational assistance for medical students who study cardiology.

Providing musical entertainment for the banquet will be the Dowell Taylor quarter.

The public is invited to attend all events. Tickets for the banquet are $40 each. The convocation is free. For more information, contact Tabatha Terrell-Brooks at 601-979-4208.

JSU professor cast in new TV series

By Jean Gordon Cook

Yohance Myles

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University theater professor Yohance Myles was recently selected to join a cast with actors Michael Ealy, Warren Kole and Sonya Walger in an upcoming USA Network comedy/drama television series called Common Law.

The series is about two cops, Wes Mitchell and Travis Marks (Ealy and Kole), who are partners at the Los Angeles Police Department. Because they can’t stand each other, their captain sends them to couples therapy.

The series has cast Myles to shoot 11 episodes for the completion of the project. The show is expected to air in 2012. Myles will play the role of Clyde, who also is in couples therapy.

While teaching a full load of classes, Myles also had a lead role in his department’s production of A Lesson Before Dying and directed The Drums of Sweetwater. He also was cast in New Stage’s production of A Soldier’s Story. In the summer of 2011, Myles finished filming Fire with Fire with actors Josh Duhamel, Bruce Willis and 50 Cent.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Myles began teaching at Jackson State in 2010. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Alabama State University and a master’s of fine arts in acting from Louisiana State University. His film and television credits include The Royal Family, K-Ville and Treme.

JSU freshman wins 2011 U.S. National Yo-Yo Championship

Spencer McClenty

Jackson State University freshman Harold Owens III recently won the 2011 U.S. National Yo-Yo Championship. Owens, an 18-year-old Chemistry major from Carmel, Indiana, beat out 15 other competitors to take home the title.

Article on Owens in JSU Flash
Shamereal Johnson

Staff Writer

You may have seen him near the Administration Tower  walking the dog or possibly in the student center rocking the baby.  He is Harold Owens III, a Jackson State University student, and what he is walking and rocking is a yo-yo.

Owens, an Indiana native,  recently took first place in the 1A Division of the USA National Yo-Yo Contest. The contest is held annually in Chico, Calif.

Competitors qualify to compete in the National Yo-Yo Contest through nine regional contests held throughout the United States in five different divisions. There are five divisions, ranging from a traditional yo-yo, used to perform intricate tricks on the string, two yo-yos, to one that doesn’t even have a finger loop at all, but rather a counterweight at the other end. All of the division players are given one minute to show their best tricks……..

Q. What do they call you in the Yo-Yo circuit?
Owens: I do have a nickname. It is Yo-Yo Gotti.

Q. How has your time at JSU been?
Owens: I love JSU.  It has a homey feeling to it and nice people.

Q. What kind of feedback are you getting on campus about your skills?
Owens: Since I’ve been doing some tricks on campus from my perspective it has drawn positive feedback and also made me a little more confident to be myself and I have more friends from it.

Q. How long have you been yo-yo(ing)?
Owens: I have been  yo-yo(ing) since I  was in the seventh grade. I started because one day I was bored and picked up the yo-yo and learned that I’m pretty good at it.

Q. How did it feel to win the National Yo-Yo competition?
Owens: To win Nationals was an awesome feeling.  There was a lot of competition  there and it wasn’t easy but my parents were there to support me so that also played a big part.

Q. Finally, have you taught anyone else your craft?
Owens: Yes, I have taught my little brother some basic tricks.

Q. Who is your sponsor?
Owens: My sponsor is the YoYoFactory.  This is my first year with them and I have enjoyed them thus far.

Q. Can you tell me about the YoYoFactory?
Owens:. The YoYoFactory was founded in 2003 by USA based International Yo-Yo superstar YoHans Hans Van Dan Elzen. Elzen’d  focus was on creating unique patented technology that would actually make playing with a Yo-Yo a more enjoyable experience.

EnVision Eye Care ribbon-cutting celebration at One University Place – 2 p.m. Oct. 27

By Jean Gordon Cook

One University Place

(JACKSON, Miss.) – EnVision Eye Care & Optical Boutique at One University Place will hold its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27. The Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce is co-sponsoring the event, and Miss Jackson State University Mea Ashley will take part in the ceremony.

The optical boutique is located at 1100 John R. Lynch St, just steps away from the Jackson State University campus.

Dr. Tonyatta Hairston

The shop is the third location for business owner and optometrist Dr. Tonyatta Hairston, who owns optical boutiques in Jackson’s Belhaven neighborhood and in Magee.

“I thought the University Place location was a great opportunity for the students,” said Hairston, a Jackson native who graduated from Tougaloo College and the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis. “And it’s an awesome location to serve the entire community.”

One University Place is a JSU-initiated real estate development that includes 78 luxury apartments above 22,000 square feet of prime retail space. The $18 million building is the largest private real estate development west Jackson has seen in 30 years.

Dr. Chaka Norwood

Jackson State University alum Dr. Chaka Norwood is the staff optometrist at EnVision Eye Care’s One University Place location. The new boutique offers walk-in or scheduled appointments, accepts the JSU Supercard and is currently offering 25 percent off eye exams, glasses and sunglasses. The shop carries designer frames including Gucci, RayBan, Nike, Carrera and Versace.

Located next door to the newly opened Gallery 1 at One University Place, EnVision Eye Care is the second of four new businesses in the development. The other retailers include Royal Bleau Women’s Boutique, Gallery 1, and the Penguin restaurant, which is slated to open later in the fall.

EnVision Eye Care & Optical Boutique is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and offers extended hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.  To contact the boutique, call 601-487-6812.

Lady Tigers volleyball team on 14-match win streak, has school record in sight

Jamea Adams-Ginyard


JSU Lady Tigers Volleyball Team

With 14 consecutive wins, the Jackson State University volleyball team has posted its second-longest win streak in school history. By early next week, the Lady Tigers could tie the school’s all-time mark of 16 straight wins set last season.

  In their next couple of matches, the Lady Tigers will face opponents that they have beaten earlier in the season. They go to Belhaven on Friday, Oct. 21 and host Alabama A&M on Tuesday, Oct. 25. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

JSU started the streak on Sept. 23 by winning three matches at a tournament held at Alabama State University before returning home for a three-game home sweep of Southern, Grambling, and Alcorn (in that order). JSU then traveled to the Southern University Volleyball Tournament where it went 4-0 before returning home and recording a victory over Division II Arkansas-Monticello.

The Lady Tigers showed the ability to come back from a two-set deficit in a gut-it-out battle against defending Southwestern Athletic Conference Champion Alabama A&M University Oct. 14 before flexing their muscles in two consecutive three-set sweeps of Alabama State University and Mississippi Valley State.

 During the 14-match win streak, JSU has dropped just four sets with South Carolina State and Alabama A&M stretching the Lady Tigers to five sets. In between those two matches, Jackson State won 30 consecutive sets.

Two Nobel Laureates to visit JSU for 20th annual international computational chemistry conference

By Jean Gordon Cook

Nobel Laureate Walter Kohn

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University will welcome two Nobel Laureates and two dozen other national and international experts during the 20th annual Conference on Current Trends in Computational Chemistry (CCTCC) to be held Oct. 27-29 at the Hilton Jackson Convention Center, 1001 E. County Line Road in Jackson.

Nobel Laureate Sir Harold Kroto

The Nobel Laureates include Walter Kohn from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Sir Harold W. Kroto from Florida State University.

For 20 years, the JSU Department of Chemistry has gathered experts from all over the world to discuss scientific advances in computational and quantum chemistry during the CCTCC. This year’s conference will discuss applications and the latest developments of computational chemical techniques for calculating various chemical systems.

During the three-day conference, which is organized by JSU and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, JSU graduate and undergraduate students will have the opportunity to present their research work, attend presentations and discuss ideas with the Nobel Laureates and two dozen other leading experts.

Sir Harold Kroto with JSU students during a previous visit.

“A key feature of the conference is the training of future generations of computational chemists,” said Jerzy Leszczynski, a presidential distinguished professor in chemistry at JSU who brings in chemistry research professionals from around the globe for the conference.

This year’s speakers include scientists from throughout the United States as well as Japan, Korea, Hungary, Greece, Austria and Italy.

Kohn received his Noble Prize in Chemistry in 1998 for his expertise in the development of the density-functional theory. He is also a matter theorist and an expert on the electronic structure of materials.

Kroto received his Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996 for his role in finding buckminsterfullerene, a molecule of 60 carbon atoms that has the same geometry as the stitching on a soccer ball. Known as the “Bucky ball”, the molecule and has remained one of Kroto’s signature discoveries.

Both Kohn and Kroto have visited Jackson State before.

Walter Kohn with JSU students during a previous visit to Jackson.

“Our faculty and students are excited to meet these two very prominent scientists,” said Paul Tchounwou, interim dean of JSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology.  “One of our strategic goals is to organize international symposia that bring research innovation to our campus and enrich the technical and leadership skills of our students”.

JSU Department of Chemistry chair Hongtao Yu said having scientists of Kohn’s and Kroto’s caliber on campus contributes to the quality of JSU’s academic and research environment.

“Their presence and the messages they bring will greatly benefit our students and faculty members,” Yu said.

The conference will include a series of plenary lectures, professional presentations and three student poster presentations sessions. Among this year’s topics are the applications of computational methods towards biological species, computer design of new materials and the application of computational chemistry for atmospheric reactions.

More than 250 participants are expected to attend. Over the last 20 years, more than 3,000 participants have attended the CCTCCs, including five Nobel Laureates.

“We are very proud of the outstanding leadership of Dr. Jerzy Leszczynski,” said Felix Okojie, JSU’s vice president for research and federal relations. “This conference affirms that outreach activities like this provide visibility and international recognition to the high quality of research conducted at Jackson State University.”

For more information, visit http://icnanotox.org/2011/conference-on-current-trends-in-computational-chemistry/

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JSU professor recognized as top educator under age 40

Spencer McClenty

Sophia Marshall

Jackson State University alum and professor Sophia Marshall, who’s also a teacher education preparation program director at Hinds Community College–Utica in Utica, Miss., has been selected as an Emerging Leader by Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) International, a global association of education professionals.

The PDK Emerging Leaders program recognizes top educators under age 40 from across the globe for their leadership and vision in the field of education. A review committee composed of past PDK Emerging Leaders selected this year’s 18 honorees from a competitive field of applicants, based on their outstanding professional accomplishments.

In addition to being honored at the 2012 PDK International Conference, honorees also have the opportunity to be published by PDK, apply for grants, and participate in PDK initiatives.

“I am passionate about teaching, transformational servant leadership, civic engagement, and implementing innovative teacher preparation,” said Marshall, a ’92 alumnus and adjunct professor in the JSU College of Lifelong Learning. “We should have the audacity to teach with tenacity while envisioning education’s future more exceptionally.”

Marshall serves as board treasurer for the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Program, vice president for membership and FEA officer for her local PDK chapter, and the chief financial officer for the Metro Area Community Empowerment Foundation.

“Recognizing the achievements and commitment of these young leaders is vital to PDK’s vision of cultivating tomorrow’s great educators,” said William J. Bushaw, PDK International’s executive director. “These inspiring individuals will provide a very bright future for the field of education.”

In an education career spanning more than 15 years, Marshall has received numerous accolades for teaching, service, leadership, and research, including being accepted to attend three consecutive annual meetings of the highly selective Faculty Institute for NASA Earth and Space Science Education.

About PDK International
Founded in 1906, PDK International is a global association for professional educators. The organization’s mission is to support education, particularly public education, as the cornerstone of democracy. More information is online at http://www.pdkintl.org.

Pres. Obama appointee to headline 2011 Women of Color Entrepreneurs Conference

Spencer McClenty

Gwendolyn Keyes-Fleming was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010 as the first African-American U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 Regional Administrator.

Jackson State University will host the 2011 Women of Color Entrepreneurs (WE) Conference, November 1-2 at the Mississippi e-Center @ JSU, located at 1230 Raymond Road in Jackson. The conference is sponsored by the Department of Entrepreneurship in the JSU College of Business.

Themed “Creating Economic Opportunities,” the conference will provide workshops covering topics such as: SBA Certification and Training; MDA Certification and Training; Making Your Business Bankable; Global Opportunities in Contracting; Social Entrepreneurship; and Funding Opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses.

 “The WE conference will serve as a catalyst to empower women entrepreneurs to increase their contracting capabilities in order to partner with the public and private sectors,” said Mary White, conference director and chair of the JSU Department of Entrepreneurship. “The overall goal is to create jobs by demystifying the process of contracting and assisting women-owned small businesses in initiating and completing the certification process.”

 The guest speaker will be Gwendolyn Keyes-Fleming, the first African-American U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 Regional Administrator. Keyes-Fleming was appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in September 2010. In 2005, Keyes-Fleming became the first African-American and first woman to serve as DeKalb County, Georgia District Attorney. She will speak on the topic: “Educating, Enhancing and Empowering Women Entrepreneurs” during the Opening Plenary Session from 9- 9:45 a.m. on November 1.

Other guests will include Winston Pittman, Sr., and his wife Alma Pittman, founders of Winston Pittman Enterprise, the sixth largest black-owned auto dealer in the United States. The Pittmans will speak during the Entrepreneurial Achievement Awards Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on November 2.

There also will be a networking reception and business expo, among other activities.

The conference is open to men and women. The general registration fee is $200 for non-students and $50 for students. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit http://www.jsums.edu/we or call 601 979-2541.