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2/18/2010 - Jackson, Miss.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning honored Black History Month today by recognizing Dr. Paulette Meikle-Yaw of Delta State University as IHL’s 2010 Educator of the year.

Dr. Meikle-Yaw is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Community Development, and has emphasized introducing students to diverse perspectives and cultures in the classroom. In years past, Dr. Meikle-Yaw has led field study groups to do research in the West Indies and Jamaica. This year, under her leadership, a group will travel to the Cayman Islands to do community work.

Dr. Meikle-Yaw is also founder and chair of the Gender Studies Group, which conducted a survey of 100 African-American women in Shelby, Miss., to explore the role of women in building social capital and community engagement.

“Ensuring that our campuses are diverse places to live, learn and work is one of the Board’s top priorities,” Board President Scott Ross said. “Dr. Meikle-Yaw is an excellent example of how this mission is advanced every day through the work of our outstanding faculty.”

The Board also recognized Greenville Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson as the 2010 Community Honoree.

Hudson was elected in 2003 as Greenville’s first African American and first female mayor. Her platform has centered on improving schools and neighborhoods in the Delta city, as well as redeveloping the downtown area.

The Board also honored faculty from each of Mississippi’s other public university for advancing diversity at their institutions. These honorees include:

  • Dr. John E. Walls, Jr., Adjunct Professor at ASU;
  • Mei-Chi Chen Piletz, Director of China Initiatives at JSU;
  • Eva Maria White, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Holmes Cultural Diversity Center at MSU;
  • Dr. Kevin Hunt, Associate Professor of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture in the College of Forest Resources at MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry & Veterinary Medicine;
  • Dr. Lillie Gayle Smith, Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Human Sciences at MUW; and
  • Dr. Kathryn Green, Coordinator of the History Program at MVSU;
  • Toni Denise Avant, Director of the Career Center at UM;
  • Dr. Acie Whitlock, Jr., Clinical Professor in the Department of Endodontics at UMMC; and
  • Dr. Kimberly M. Davis, Associate Professor of Music and Voice at USM.


Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, IHL governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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