FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2006
Contact: Deana Middleton
MUW alumnae to receive Alumni Achievement Awards
COLUMBUS, Miss.—Mississippi University for Women will
recognize five of its alumnae for contributions to MUW and
their communities during Homecoming convocation on Saturday,
This year’s Alumni Achievement Award recipients are Allegra
Cope Brigham of Columbus, Alma Coign Ellis of Flora, Ellen
Claire Young Gunn of Ellisville and Lydia Quarles of
Jackson. Emily T. Myers of Jackson will receive the Young
Alumni Achievement Award.
Brigham currently serves as 4-County Electric Power
Association’s chief executive officer and is responsible for
managing all aspects of the electric cooperative. Prior to
being named CEO, Brigham managed 4-County’s public relations
and marketing efforts.
>From 1983 to 1988, she was director of public relations and
associate professor of communications at MUW, where she also
taught journalism and headed the Division of Journalism &
She was managing editor and lifestyles editor for The
Commercial Dispatch, where she directed publication of the
award-winning newspaper. She also taught high school social
studies, history, journalism and newspaper at Heritage
Brigham is involved in numerous professional and civic
organizations, including the Board of Governors for the
Mississippi Economic Council Board of Directors and the
Columbus-Lowndes County Development Link Board of Directors.
Her honors include being named one of Mississippi’s 50
Leading Business Women in 2005 as well as a recipient of
East Mississippi Community College’s Workforce Development
Award for 4-County’s commitment to workforce education and
A 1969 and 1972 graduate of MUW, she earned a bachelor of
science in journalism with a minor in social studies and a
master of arts in history.
Ellis has served as project coordinator in the Jackson
office of the Institute for Disability Studies at the
University of Southern Mississippi for nine years. She
handles the day-to-day activities of Project BRIDGE, a three
year Medical Real Choice systems change grant focusing on
the integration of housing and long-term support services
for Medicaid-eligible people with disabilities.
A writer, researcher and editor, she routinely prepares
brochures, newsletters, press releases, text for web pages
and is involved in grant writing for the Institute.
She began her career as a newspaper reporter and
photographer and worked as a corporate communication
professional for 14 years. Ellis is a past president and
Communicator of the Year award winner of International
Association of Business Communicators Mississippi. She has
won competitions for writing, design and photography from
IABC/MS and the Mississippi Press Women.
Her service to MUW includes serving as president of the
Alumnae Association as well as vice president and secretary.
Ellis served on committees for Homecoming and the alumni
cookbook, “Southern Grace.” She is a former president of the
Metro Jackson Area MUW Alumni Chapter and remains active in
the organization. She also was active in the Institutions of
Higher Learning Inter-Alumni Council.
Ellis graduated cum laude with honors in journalism and a
minor in English from MUW in 1975.
Gunn has been an independent piano teacher for 47 years and
taught allied arts and piano courses at Southern for five
She is a member of Music Teachers National Association, the
Mississippi Music Teachers Association and Jones County
Music Teachers Association and Delta Kappa Gamma, an
honorary organization for teachers.
During her career, she has managed rental property, both
commercial and residential in Ellisville for the past 10
Gunn currently serves on the Board of Directors for the
Jones County Forestry Association and Keep Jones County
Beautiful committee as well as chairman of the Great
American Clean-up for Ellisville. She is a member of
Ellisville First United Methodist Church, where she played
the organ for 35 years.
A member of the Alumnae Board for the past six years, Gunn
graduated from MUW in 1957 with a bachelor’s in music and a
master’s in music education from USM.
Quarles serves as commissioner of the Mississippi Workers’
Compensation Commission, where she has contributed to
various aspects of the organization.
She designed and directs the Gandy-Phillips Mentoring
Project, which is being studied by the Professionalism
Committee of The Mississippi Bar for implementation
bar-wide. Quarles also wrote and implemented two grants
obtained by the Workers’ Compensation Section of The
Mississippi Bar from The Mississippi Bar Foundation to make
workers’ compensation issues more accessible to Hispanic
speaking laborers in Mississippi.
Quarles chairs the Women in the Profession Committee, a
standing committee of The Mississippi Bar, and is chief
operating officer for the Workers’ Compensation Section of
The Mississippi Bar.
Her honors include being on the Board of Regents for the
International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and
Commissions as well as receiving the Distinguished Service
Award from The Mississippi Bar in 2003. She chairs the Women
in the Profession Committee, a standing committee of The
Quarles, who is active on the MUW Alumnae Board, earned a
bachelor of arts in political science and a master of arts
in speech in 1972 while at MUW.
Myers, a native of Caledonia, is director of marketing and
public relations for River Oaks Health System, a 300-bed
acute care health system in metro Jackson.
Before joining River Oaks Health Systems, she served as
communications director for Melanie Musgrove while she was
first lady. She was director of marketing and communications
for the American Red Cross of Central Mississippi and
director of professional development for the Mississippi
Pharmacists Association immediately after graduation.
Her honors include the Mississippi Business Journal’s Top 40
under 40 and 50 Leading Business Women.
A former president of the Jackson Alumnae Chapter, she also
has served as secretary of the National Alumnae Association,
chairman of the Young Alum Committee and publicity chair for
“Southern Grace” cookbook committee.
Myers received a bachelor of science degree in journalism
and public relations in 1995.
The awards ceremony will be held Rent Auditorium at
Whitfield Hall. Prior to the ceremony, a reception will be
held in their honor at 9:30 a.m. in Puckett House.