The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning celebrated Black History Month by holding its annual Diversity and Inclusion Awards ceremony at the meeting held on Feb. 20 in Jackson. Campus and community leaders were recognized for their efforts in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect—including Dr. Glendscene Williams, associate professor of finance and director of the Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Research at Delta State University.
Dr. Susan Mayfield-Johnson, associate professor, School of Health Professions, University of Southern Mississippi, was named the 2020 Diversity Educator of the Year.
Retired administrator and community volunteer Dr. Eddie Holloway of Hattiesburg received the Karen Cummins Community Service Award. In 2017, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the Community Service Award in memory of Trustee Cummins in recognition that her life epitomized what the award is all about, helping to improve Mississippi’s communities with a welcoming and inclusive spirit.
“The Board of Trustees is very pleased to recognize Dr. Mayfield-Johnson and Dr. Holloway,” said Trustee Dr. Steven Cunningham, chair of the Board of Trustees’ Diversity Committee. “They both exemplify the ideals of diversity and inclusion and have made a tremendous difference through their tireless efforts to improve our state by demonstrating a welcoming spirit and promoting cross-cultural understanding.”
A retired university administrator and community volunteer, Dr. Holloway served in numerous roles in student affairs and taught an array of undergraduate courses in psychology and graduate courses in higher education administration. He retired in 2019 as associate vice president for student affairs/dean of students and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and personnel management, a master’s degree in community counseling, a second master’s degree in public health education, and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.
As a young man growing up in Mississippi in the 1960s, Dr. Holloway was a first-hand witness to the historic civil rights movement and freedom summer activities. These experiences influenced his life’s work helping students at Southern Miss achieve their goals and influencing countless others across the country as he presented on various topics, including cultural diversity and leadership.
The Hattiesburg native served 16 years on the City Council and as president or vice president for 12 of those years. He is a member of the board of directors for BancorpSouth and Wesley Medical Center and serves on the advisory councils for the American Red Cross, Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club. He is a charter member and past president of the Hattiesburg Public School District’s Foundation.
Dr. Holloway has chaired the Martin Luther King, Jr. Ecumenical Prayer breakfast promoting the legacy of Dr. King for the past 13 years. He and his wife, Sarah, are the parents of two daughters.
An associate professor in the School of Health Professions for the University of Southern Mississippi,
Dr. Mayfield-Johnson has made numerous contributions to diversity and inclusion at the University of Southern Mississippi and the broader community. Dr. Mayfield-Johnson has developed and taught a range of undergraduate and graduate-level courses, including Community Health, Health Disparities, Social and Behavioral Aspects for Health, and Community Organization for Health Education, among others.
An outstanding instructor, researcher and mentor, she also serves as a faculty affiliate in the area of women and gender studies and as an adviser for USM’s McNair Scholars Program. As a McNair adviser, she worked with an undergraduate student to assess the City of Hattiesburg’s five wards on issues related to access to health and social services, economic vitality, and the nutritional and recreational needs of the local community. The data gathered helped to inform numerous grant proposals developed by the City of Hattiesburg and the Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative, Inc.
Through her research, Dr. Mayfield-Johnson has gained considerable knowledge that has complemented her teaching, service, and research responsibilities in the areas of diversity and inclusion. She has focused on two major areas, including how underserved populations can become empowered to change their own health and how race, class, and gender affect access to healthcare. She has received fellowships from the U.S. State Department, the NIH Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.
In his letter of nomination, Dr. Rodney Bennett, president of the University of Southern Mississippi, noted that Dr. Mayfield-Johnson has “a long history of providing support to the students and faculty of The University of Southern Mississippi, as well as the surrounding community. Her record of research, teaching and service is evidence of her efforts to increase diversity and inclusion not only at USM, but also to other organizations and communities with which she has interacted.”
Dr. Mayfield-Johnson attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi.
In addition to the Educator of the Year, the Board also honored faculty from each of Mississippi’s public universities for advancing diversity at their institutions. These honorees include:
Dr. Ira Scott-Sewell
Associate Professor and Associate of Science in Nursing Program Coordinator
Alcorn State University
Dr. Glendscene Williams
Associate Professor of Finance and Director of the Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Research
Delta State University
Dr. Lisa Beckley-Roberts
Interim Chair and Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Department of Music
Jackson State University
Dr. Donald Shaffer
Director of African American Studies Program and Associate Professor of English
Mississippi State University
Dr. C. LaShan Simpson
Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Mississippi State University
Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine
Penny Sansing Mansell
Director of the Child and Parent Development Center
Mississippi University for Women
Dr. Abigail S. Newsome
Graduate Coordinator of Bioinformatics/Associate Professor of Biology
Mississippi Valley State University
Dr. Jodi Skipper
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
The University of Mississippi
Dr. Mohadetheh Moulana
Assistant Professor, Division of Neurobiology and Behavior Research, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
The University of Mississippi Medical Center