FAAC® Designation

Financial Aid director Nicole Patrick has been awarded the designation of


Certified Financial Aid Administrator (FAAC®) by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). To earn the FAAC® designation, professionals must demonstrate sufficient industry-related experience, successfully pass a comprehensive knowledge exam and affirm commitment to the standards for ethical behavior that are a hallmark of the financial aid profession. Patrick’s achievement of this certification serves as a testament to her commitment to the profession and the University’s student population.

“I am excited to receive the NASFAA Certified Financial Aid Administrator distinction.  This certification will add value to our office and our institution, as well as benefit my career in Financial Aid. Financial Aid Administrators have an important role in the institution’s overall success, and this certification adds a layer of credibility,” said Patrick.

Excellence in Diversity


Dr. Catherine Cotton was named the recipient of The W’s Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award. She was honored alongside faculty from each of Mississippi’s public universities in February at the annual Diversity and Inclusion Awards ceremony of the Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning in Jackson. Cotton, assistant professor of speech-language pathology, consistently co-leads first-year speech-language pathology graduate students and faculty members through discussions surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion-related topics. Students and faculty regularly reflect upon selected articles, videos and questions geared toward connecting the monthly topic with personal and professional interactions, as it relates to current and future clients and colleagues. The monthly discussions allow students to view experiences through the lenses of their classmates, peers and current and potentially future clients.

Cotton explained, “We are working with people. There will be similarities, but when those differences occur, it is not because the family is disobedient or difficult; it could be due to cultural differences, socioeconomic status differences, or a lack of experiences. When we look at it from that viewpoint, and then try to understand, then we can get our goals met because we’re treating them as a person who might have some different experiences.”

Art Exhibitions

Thomas Nawrocki, emeritus art professor, has prints in the following art exhibitions: 10th Bower Center Annual National Juried Exhibition, Bower Center for the Arts, Bedford, Virginia; Webster Arts Open Theme Annual, Webster Arts Center, Webster, Groves, Missouri; American Color Print Society Exhibition, The Plastic Club, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; National Juried Art Competition, Athens Arts Gallery, Crawfordsville, Indiana (award); and the National Multi-Media Juried Art Show, Wilson Arts, Wilson, North Carolina. 

Professional Recognition


Two professors in the Department of Psychology & Family Science earned professional recognition. Dr. Dorothy Berglund, who is the department chair, was honored for distinguished service as chair of the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) Advisory Board at the annual conference of the National Council on Family Relations, the professional home of CFLE. Dr. Cecy Brooks, an assistant professor of Family Science, completed the national, standardized exam to become a CFLE.

Lowery named interim CFO at The W

Carla Lowery was named interim vice president for operations and chief financial officer (CFO), effective May 1. Lowery has served The W since 2001 holding various leadership positions. As a faculty member,

Lowery taught various courses, including information systems using microcomputers, MIS projects and database applications.

She has served the university through numerous committees and councils, including Enrollment Management Council, SACSCOC Steering Committee, Quality Enhancement Plan Selection Committee, President’s Cabinet, Academic Council and Administrative Council.

As CFO, Lowery will be responsible for overseeing the financial operations of the university.

She will also oversee University Accounting, Resources Management, Facilities Management, Information Technology Services and Institutional Research and Assessment.

Lowery holds a Master of Science in Business Administration from Mississippi State University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Mississippi University for Women.