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2/17/2012 - Jackson, Miss.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning recently honored Black History Month by recognizing campus and community leaders for the impact they have made in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect. Dr. Kim M. LeDuff of the University of Southern Mississippi was named as the 2012 Black History Month Educator of the Year. The 2012 Community Leader Award was presented posthumously to Gwendolyn A. Magee (1943-2011), nationally and internationally renowned textile artist and author.

Mrs. Gwendolyn A. Magee

“Black History Month is a time to learn about and reflect upon the many important contributions that African Americans have made to our state and our country. It is also a time to recognize the important achievements that our university faculty and staff are making today and every day through their work in promoting diversity and academic excellence on each of their respective campuses and the community,” said Trustee Bob Owens, Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee. “Dr. LeDuff has demonstrated a personal and professional commitment to encouraging diversity on campus, in the local community, and beyond. Mrs. Gwendolyn A. Magee shared her creative talents so generously with us during her lifetime. Her artwork has provided us with a dramatic, visual presentation of the African American experience that has become woven into the fabric of our lives.”

Working through its Diversity Committee, co-chaired by Trustee Bob Owens and Trustee Alan Perry, the Board selects one individual as the Educator of the Year and one individual as the Community Leader Honoree. Other Board members serving on the committee include Trustee Christy Pickering, Trustee Doug Rouse and Trustee Amy Whitten.

Dr. Kim M. LeDuff currently serves as an Associate Professor and Associate Director in the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern Mississippi. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Xavier University in Louisiana; a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland-College Park; and a Ph.D. in mass communication from Indiana University with concentrations in communication and culture, media and technology.

In the School of Mass Communication and Journalism, Dr. LeDuff played a key role in developing the School of Mass Communication and Journalism’s Diversity plan, which was identified by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC), as a model for other colleges and universities. As a result, she was invited to become a site team member for ACEJMC and has been charged with assessing diversity in the accreditation process. She also serves as chair of the newly formed diversity committee at Southern Miss and has expressed a sincere commitment to assisting the university with activities and practices that reinforce diversity.

Dr. LeDuff teaches a course titled ‘Women, Minorities and Media,” a course on race, gender and media at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, which is reflective of her research on race and representation in the mass media. She has also taught courses in broadcast journalism, media writing, mass media theory and pedagogy.

In addition to her service on campus and in the community, Dr. LeDuff has published and presented a vast body of research on diversity issues. In 2011, she published her first book, Tales of Two Cities: How Race and Crime Intersect on Local Television News, and she co-authored Race and News: Critical Perspectives with several of her colleagues.

She presented her research at the National Association of African American and Hispanic Studies, announcing the establishment of the Center for Black Studies at Southern Miss, the first center for Black Studies in South Mississippi. Dr. LeDuff’s scholarship will have a significant impact on the university for years to come.

The 2012 Community Leader Award was presented posthumously to Gwendolyn A. Magee (1943-2011), nationally and internationally renowned textile artist and author. Mrs. Magee was born in High Point, N.C. and became a resident of Jackson, Miss., in 1972. She graduated from the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and after three years of graduate school, she moved to Mound Bayou, Miss., to work, where she met and fell in love with D.E. Magee, Jr., a fourth-year medical student.

In 1989, at the age of 46, Mrs. Magee began her craft of quilting after deciding she wanted to make a special gift for each of her daughters to take with them to college. She took a six-week course in quilting and over the years, in addition to her mastery of quilting, she moved into abstract art and other art forms. Mrs. Magee traced her quilting style back to Africa and discovered that quilting played a vital role in the survival of black families in both slavery and Reconstruction eras.

Mrs. Magee has been recognized and honored for her work, both locally and nationally, receiving such awards as the 2011 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Her work is housed in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Michigan State University Museum of Art.

The Mississippi Museum of Art selected Mrs. Magee as its sole community representative for the 2010 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service ceremony which was presented to her by First Lady Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C.

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

Dr. Ruth R. Nichols

Dr. Ruth R. Nichols
Senior Director of Community Outreach and Partnership Development
Alcorn State University

Dr. Vicki N. Webster

Dr. Vicki N. Webster
Assistant Professor of Computer Information Systems
Delta State University

Dr. Mohammad Shahbazi

Dr. Mohammad Shahbazi
Professor and Chair, Department of Behavioral and Environmental Health and Director of Global Community Health Worker Training and Public Health Certification Program
Jackson State University

Dr. Robert J. Damm

Dr. Robert J. Damm
Professor of Music
Mississippi State University

Dr. Mark L. Lawrence

Dr. Mark L. Lawrence
Associate Dean and Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine
Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Phillip Cockrell

Dr. Phillip Cockrell
Director of Student Life
Mississippi University for Women

Dr. Barbara Washington

Dr. Barbara Washington
Associate Professor of English
Mississippi Valley State University

Ms. Janice W. Murray

Ms. Janice W. Murray
Professor of Art and Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts
The University of Mississippi

Dr. Loretta Jackson-Williams

Dr. Loretta Jackson-Williams
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
The University of Mississippi Medical Center

Dr. Kim M. LeDuff

Educator of the Year
Dr. Kim M. LeDuff
Associate Professor and Associate Director, School of Mass Communication and Journalism
The University of Southern Mississippi


View photos of honorees, with identification of individuals in photos.

Select the photos above to view larger versions.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning 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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