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.
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.
Magee was born in High Point, N.C. and became a resident of Jackson 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 to work. In 1989, at the age of 46, 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.
The board honored faculty from each of Mississippi’s public universities for advancing diversity at their institutions. These honorees include: Dr. Ruth R. Nichols, senior director of Community Outreach and Partnership Development, Alcorn State University; Dr. Vicki N. Webster, assistant professor of computer information systems, Delta State University; 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, professor of music, Mississippi State University; 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, director of student life, Mississippi University for Women; Dr. Barbara Washington, associate professor of English, Mississippi Valley State University; Janice W. Murray, professor of art and associate dean, College of Liberal Arts, University of Mississippi; and, Dr. Loretta Jackson-Williams, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of emergency medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center.