Disruption is at the heart of Dr. Tim Lampkin’s message.

Dr. Tim Lampkin

To disrupt issues like generational poverty, structured inequality and institutional racism, Lampkin believes business ownership is a direct pathway to building wealth. Lampkin and Higher Purpose Co have been working to promote that message since 2016.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, Lampkin will address “Economic Justice: Past, Present, and Future” as part of Mississippi University for Women’s Social Justice Speaker Series. The presentation will be in the Gail P. Gunter Room in the John Clayton Fant Memorial Library.

“The idea to fully support Black-owned businesses came during my time working at Southern Bancorp and seeing the need in the community,” said Lampkin, who recently was recognized by “Our Mississippi Magazine” as one of Mississippi’s Most Influential African Americans for the 2022-23 period. . “Our work is focused on building tangible financial assets our statewide membership can use to improve their quality of life.”

The Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Housing & Residence Life and the Fant Memorial Library are co-sponsors of the event.

Lampkin, a graduate of Mississippi Valley State University, also holds graduate degrees from Delta State University, Bellevue University and the University of Arkansas. He is the founder of Higher Purpose Co, a 501c3 economic justice nonprofit that helps build community wealth with Black business owners in the state of Mississippi by supporting the ownership of financial, cultural and political power.

Lampkin said business ownership is key to shrinking the racial wealth gap that continues to grow in the United States. He said that issue faces additional challenges in Mississippi and the Deep South due to institutionalized racism slavery, but he said Higher Purpose Co has built a strong support network to help it in its work.

“We unapologetically support Black entrepreneurs, farmers and artists,” Lampkin said. “Several allies from various geographic regions and demographics support our work. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Motley Fool Foundation, the Better Place Foundation and a dedicated list of anonymous donors also support our work.”

Lampkin was born and raised in Chicago before he moved to Clarksdale. His social justice activism started in high school and later amplified during his time at Mississippi Valley State. Lampkin said Higher Purpose Co originated in Clarksdale and now has 12 full-time employees across the state. He said the company will open its Jackson office in the second quarter of the year.

“Fant Memorial Library’s Social Justice Speaker Series has invited Dr. Tim Lampkin, from Higher Purpose Co, to again focus on what Mississippians are doing in their communities to promote social justice and equity,” said Amanda Powers, dean of library services at The W. “His talk will appeal to students, faculty, staff and the wider community. We are so grateful to have his contribution to this important and inspirational series.”

Lampkin has more than a decade of community development and entrepreneurship experience. He managed the Racial Equity Program for the Mississippi Humanities Council, which won the national 2018 Schwartz Prize, worked for Southern Bancorp Community Partners to implement multi-million community initiatives and has advised rural entrepreneurs in several counties served by Delta State.

In 2019, The Mississippi Business Journal selected Lampkin as one of the top entrepreneurs in the state. Ashoka, an American-based nonprofit organization, selected Lampkin as the first person in Mississippi for the lifetime social impact fellowship. The Motley Fool Foundation also named him Mississippi’s first Financial Freedom Fellow.

Lampkin serves as president of Lampkin Impact Ventures, LLC providing economic justice advising, impact speaking and creative digital content. He also is a member of the board of the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive and the Mississippi Humanities Council, and previously served on the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Community Development Advisory Council and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Consumer Advisory Board (CAB).

“We have been working on organizing a series of speakers that will highlight social justice initiatives in the state of Mississippi and beyond,” Powers said. “We hope to inspire our students and the broader community by showing the variety of social justice work being done by these inspiring leaders.”

The Social Justice Speaker Series originated in 2022 after Fant Memorial Library received The W’s University Initiative Impact Award for its efforts to enhance diversity, promote cultural diversity and cultivate an inclusive campus community. Dr. Ebony Lumumba and Sadè Meeks also were part of the series.

Sadè Meeks has a story to tell.

Sadè Meeks

Thing is, she may not have to say a word to connect with you. Instead, Meeks’ message about food as resistance could tickle your nostrils and make your stomach growl. In the process, Meeks hopes you will develop a greater understanding of food history and sate your appetite at the same time.

“There’s something powerful about gaining this awareness,” said Meeks, a 2015 graduate of Mississippi University for Women’s Ina E. Gordy Honors College. “Black people were stripped away from their culture and history during the slave trade and in other ways as well. However, through food, so much of that history and culture is preserved.”

Meeks will return to The W for the Social Justice Speaker Series at 6 p.m. March 9, at Nissan Auditorium. The event is a part of The W’s celebration of Black History Month and the Gordy Honors College’s Forum Series and is co-sponsored by the Culinary Arts Institute, John Clayton Fant Memorial Library, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council and Gordy Honors College. The event was rescheduled in February due to the threat of severe weather.

As part of the event, Meeks will present her documentary “Food as Resistance.” There will be a discussion about the 27-minute film, which examines the systematic realities that impact our food systems and how narrative change of cultural foods can be part of our resistance. The film focuses on reclaiming the African American food narrative and is the byproduct of Meeks’ travels from November 2021 to December 2022.

Meeks also will do a workshop with culinary arts students at The W prior to the presentation.

“My 100-year-old grandmother’s story of her garden is an example of what encouraged me to understand the power of storytelling, but also to try to encourage people by helping them understand the nuances of food as resistance,” Meeks said. “Just as there are many ways to eat healthily, there are many ways to use food as resistance. I expound more on that in the documentary and the ‘Food as Resistance’ presentations.”

Meeks, who is from Jackson, is the founder of Growing Resistance in the South (GRITS). She said her desire to pursue The W’s Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Arts stemmed from watching her mother cook and later being “upgraded” to her pastry chef for Sunday dinners. Meeks’ love for food motivated her to bake and sell cakes to her mother’s friends and co-workers when she was in middle school and fueled her passion to become a pastry chef and then to learn more about nutritional science. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Nutritional Science from California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA).

“Sadé’s honors research at The W on organic vs. processed foods was a precursor to her pioneering work connecting culture and foodways to nutrition education,” said Dr. Kim Whitehead, a professor of English and Religion and the director of the Gordy Honors College. “It is very exciting to celebrate what she is doing and to have her back on campus so our students and campus community can benefit from her expertise, experience, and example.”

Meeks said her academic and lived experiences led her to found GRITS, which is based in Jackson but has a national reach. She said the goal of GRITS is to bridge the gap between nutrition and culture and promote narrative change regarding cultural foods. To accomplish those goals, GRITS has partnered with the Local Mississippi Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind and Healthworks Jackson and plans to build on those partnerships. It also plans to launch a capital campaign this year and to develop a GRITS campus in Jackson.

“The popular narrative is that African-America foods are ‘bad,’ but contrary to that false narrative, there are so many nutritious and beneficial parts of our foods,” Meeks said. “That’s the story GRITS tells.

“When black people gain a greater understanding of things like food history, it can give us the power to advocate for justice for black farmers, to dismantle stereotypes and change the narratives that perpetuate anti-black racism, or to use our voice to speak out against injustice whether that’s on a personal, community and/organizational level. This awareness gives us the power to promote and advocate for social justice and food justice.”

The Social Justice Speaker Series originated in 2022 after Fant Memorial Library received The W’s University Initiative Impact Award for its efforts to enhance diversity, promote cultural diversity and cultivate an inclusive campus community. Dr. Ebony Lumumba (Jan. 24) and Dr. Tim Lampkin (March 21) also will be a part of the series to speak about their social justice initiatives.

“We have been working on organizing a series of speakers that will highlight social justice initiatives in the state of Mississippi and beyond,” said Amanda Clay Powers, dean of library services. “We hope to inspire our students and the broader community by showing the variety of social justice work being done by these inspiring leaders.”

Feb. 7, 2023
Contact: Adam Minichino
(662) 329-1976

Dr. Joe L. Alexander continues to expand his portfolio.

In the process, Alexander, a professor of music at Mississippi University for Women, keeps earning accolades as a world-renown composer.

Dr. Joe L. Alexander

Two of Alexander’s most recent compositions, “DJ2 Extravaganza” and “Ruffner Mountain Express” received Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL) Award nominations in the Music Composition, Classical category.

“I am extremely happy to find out I had been nominated for the MIAL awards,” Alexander said. “I am very pleased with both of the pieces and look forward to getting them performed.”

This is the second time in as many years (and second overall) Alexander has been nominated for a MIAL Award. He is one of five people with ties to The W to be recognized for the annual awards. C.T. Salazar (“Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking) and T.K. Lee (“Scapegoat”) were nominated in the Poetry category. Ian Childers (“Pots for Simon”) was nominated in the Visual Arts category, and Dr. Valentin Bogdan (“Three Songs on the Poetry of Mihai Eminescu”) was nominated in the Music Composition, Classical category.

The winners will be announced June 3 at the 44th Annual Awards Gala in Oxford.

“DJ2 Extravaganza” is a quarter for euphonium, two tubas and percussion. It was commissioned by James Gourlay, a world renown tubist, at the 2019 International Tuba/Euphonium Conference (ITEC) at the University of Iowa. Alexander said Gourlay, an adjunct professor of tuba at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh who also is a leading performer, teacher and academic and a member of some of Europe’s finest orchestras, suggested the instrumentation and that they try and schedule the piece for the next ITEC. There hasn’t been a live conference since the COVID-19 pandemic. The group would consist of Gourlay, Joanna Ross Hersey, Danielle Moreau and Danielle VanTuinen.

“Ruffner Mountain Express” is a six-part trumpet ensemble piece that earned its name from Ruffner Mountain, a privately held, 1,040-acre urban nature preserve in Birmingham). Alexander said he often performs in recitals with Dr. James Zingara, a trumpet teacher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and last December we played on a show in Gainesville, Georgia. While preparing for the concert, we talked about me writing a piece for his group, the UAB Trumpet Ensemble.

Alexander completed both pieces in late December 2022 and is looking forward to having both performed.

“I need to write large chamber ensemble pieces and both pieces fit that bill,” Alexander said. “Even more important that the piece, having James Gourlay ask to write a piece is a dream come true.”

The desire to provide greater care and lasting relationships brings two nursing alumni back to Mississippi University for Women.

Dr. Lindsay Kemp (right) demonstrates suturing for graduate student Lauryn Hicks

Each week, 21 nurses from Mississippi and neighboring states assemble on the campus of Mississippi University for Women as part of the university’s Master of Science in Nursing program. The program is available to nurses with a baccalaureate degree and two years of registered nursing experience. Upon completion, graduates are prepared to be a direct provider of care and eligible to sit for national board certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).

As part of the Advanced Procedures course, students receive personal, hands-on instruction from seven graduate faculty members on such skills as suturing, basic radiology and chest x-ray overview, EKG interpretation, physical therapy ordering, palliative care practice considerations, dermatological procedures in primary care and diabetes/obesity management.

The on-campus course allows students to network and build collaborative relationships with faculty and statewide experts such as nurse practitioners, physical therapists, specialty nurses, physicians and surgeons. The on-campus relationships help to prepare the future nurse practitioners to become safe, competent and cost-effective healthcare providers.

Dr. Alena Groves

“The in-person classes offer a connection for the students that they do not receive in online programs. It allows them to get to know the faculty and allows the faculty to better support, guide and mentor the students with weekly face-to-face advisor meetings. The W provides a ‘connective’ educational experience that is difficult to achieve with online programs,” said Dr. Alena Groves, coordinator for the Master of Science in Nursing program at The W.

For labor and delivery nurse Lauryn Hicks becoming a nurse practitioner is the next step in furthering relationships with her patients.

“Making the bond with the patient is the biggest reward at the end of the day, especially after a tough day. Nurse practitioners diagnose, manage and follow patients. It’s a continuous relationship,” said Hicks.

From her time at Forrest General Hospital, Hicks developed a passion for women’s health. She sees a need for more women’s health nurses and a better quality to care, especially in rural settings.

Austin Black discovered his passion as a Veterans Affairs nurse in Tupelo.

Austin Black

“At the VA, I guide the care more than I was exposed to in a hospital setting. I really enjoyed being involved in the patient’s care. I wanted to continue learning the why behind physicians’ decisions and how to help the patient.”

As alumni of the university, furthering their career at The W was an easy decision. The opportunity to have face-to-face classes from expert faculty was at the top of their list of priorities when choosing a program.

Groves said many nurses return to pursue their master’s degrees to improve access to care among their communities and their state in order to improve health outcomes in areas that historically have poor health and nutrition and have a lower socioeconomic status when compared to other states.

“Nurses in advanced practice, such as nurse practitioners, are in a position of influence among their communities with regards to the policies that affect nursing practice and the overall health outcomes of their patients. They have reach, rigor and drive. They affect their local commerce by reducing detrimental health effects, reducing health care costs and even providing employment,” explained Groves.

The W is the only program offering an on-campus advanced procedures skills workshop. The program is a three semester, face-to-face family nurse practitioner program offering a personal, connected learning experience. Learn more about The W’s hybrid MSN program at: https://www.muw.edu/nhs/graduate.


March 9, 2023

Contact: Tyler Wheat

(662) 241-7863

For the first time in its brief existence as a program, the Mississippi University for Women men’s basketball program is going dancing! The Owls (11-13) were named as the No. 6-seed in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division I Championship bracket, announced by the national office on Sunday.

The W will face The Apprentice School, the No. 3-seeded squad in the eight-team field. Paul Quinn College from Texas is the tournament’s top seed, when the event takes place March 13-16 in Richmond, Va., at the Virginia State University Multi-Purpose Center and Richard Bland College. An awards program and skills competition will take place on Sunday, March 12, as well.
The Owls’ selection caps a great turnaround from last season, when the team won just three times in Head Coach Dean Burrows‘ first campaign at the helm with a largely inherited roster and a late hiring. Fast forward to 2022-23, as The W equaled the previous school season record for victories (11 in 2019-20) and a primary cast of players who are still underclassmen (graduating just three members from the 2022-23 roster).
MUW clung to a ranking between seventh and 10th most of the year. Playing one of the more difficult schedules among the USCAA teams, Burrows’ crew solidified its position down the stretch by winning three of its final five games (losing only to Belhaven University, twice, in that span). The W handily defeated Southeastern Baptist College, Warren Wilson College, and Pensacola Christian College down the stretch of the regular season.
Statistically, the Owls were in the top-10 in virtually every USCAA category. The W ranked No. 4 in field goal percentage (45.7), No. 7 in three-point field goal percentage (32.4), No. 6 in free throw percentage (69.2), No. 7 in scoring (77.4 p.p.g.), No. 6 in rebounds (39.7 r.p.g.), and No. 3 in assists (16.5 a.p.g.).
This will be the first-ever meeting in men’s basketball between the Owls and Apprentice. Largely due to geographic location, the teams have no common opponents, either. The Builders – from Newport News, Va. – are 20-7 on the year, with a 12-3 mark at home and 7-4 on the road (1-0 on neutral floors).

Form 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage) was mailed to the employee’s mailing address on file. Employees can also access this form in the New! Banner Self-Service.

LifeWorks offers assistance and counseling in person or by telephone, a variety of resources for health and wellness as well as numerous referral services and it’s all confidential.  This benefit is available to you as a benefits-eligible employee and your immediate family.  LifeWorks also offers numerous discount programs; which include electronics, travel, home and more.  

Follow the link for Humana’s contact information and to learn more about this benefit:  https://www.muw.edu/hr/employees/benefits#EAPWL