The Grisham-McLean Institute Advisory Board provides advice on programmatic and strategic issues relating to the success of the Grisham-McLean Institute. This group of leaders assists in advancing the Institute’s priority of raising the quality of life in Mississippi.
Phillip Wiggins: Board Chair
Phillip Wiggins has over 40 years of experience in land investment and brokerage. He began his real estate career in 1980 as a land broker. In 1983, he co-founded The Stratford Group, the first of several entities involved in real estate activities related to land. Since 1980, Wiggins and his associates have brokered in excess of $1.5 billion of land. In 1998, Mr. Wiggins was the sole founder of The Stratford Company (now known as Stratford Land), a land investment company, and in 2006, he was the sole founder of Stratford Realty Capital, a hard asset lender. He has raised more than $1 billion of equity for these companies through a series of real estate funds.
Mr. Wiggins was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He attended Highland Park High School and graduated in 1973. He attended the University of Mississippi on a tennis scholarship and received his B.A. in 1977 with honors in political science and sociology. He worked for Burroughs Corporation (1977-1979) in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1979, he left Burroughs to take a Rotary Fellowship to study economics in Geneva, Switzerland. He now lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife. He is the father of three grown children.
Elena represents corporate clients of all sizes in business disputes at the local, state, and national levels. Elena is also a member of the firm’s Appellate Litigation practice, where she has represented clients in appellate matters in state and federal courts. Elena prides herself on learning her clients’ businesses and industries and applying her international experience, litigation experience, and legal knowledge to address each client’s unique needs.
Elena is an integral part of the Burr team in handling business and contract disputes between clients and their distributors and suppliers, competitors and former employees, minority shareholders, financial advisors and brokerage companies or customers, and current employees. Elena has particular experience defending and prosecuting supply chain disputes on behalf of original equipment manufacturers, tier-1, and tier-2 suppliers, and in defending and prosecuting temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunction actions in state and federal courts.
Elena received her Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where she graduated cum laude. Prior to law school, Elena attended the University of Mississippi for her undergraduate studies, where she graduated with honors, with a Bachelor of Business Administration. During her undergraduate studies, Elena also defended her thesis, The Sociological and Economic Factors Impacting a Workforce Development Program.
Throughout her time in Mississippi, Elena worked with the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement where she facilitated a summer leadership program for underserved high school youth across Mississippi, organized community workshops for entrepreneurship and business development, and was an engagement speaker for the application of virtual reality in workforce development.
Elena is a native German speaker, fluent in writing and reading.
Dr. Watt Bishop is a retired Oxford orthodontist who grew up in Cleveland, MS, the eldest son of school teachers and grandson of the mayor of Cleveland from 1951-69, which was a time of dynamic growth and transformative social change. His grandmother was an English teacher who often spoke her mind on issues of justice. His maternal grandparents were Sharkey County farmers who believed in education for their five daughters and two sons. After graduation from high school in Cleveland, Watt went to LSU where he majored in chemistry and entered UT Dental School in Memphis, where he graduated in 1973. After an orthodontic residency in Texas, he began his practice in Oxford in the summer of 1976 with the idea of seeing Mississippi prosper. The practice expanded to include offices in Grenada, Tupelo, and Southaven over the next quarter century.
The Lyric Theater in Oxford was abandoned by the early 80’s and became a signature renovation project of the orthodontic practice that brought together the concepts of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Watt mentored Todd Gilliland while a student at Ole Miss and Todd returned in 2002 after dental and specialty training to work in and take over the practice in 2008 as Watt moved on to another phase. He has served on the Oxford Planning Commission from 2009-2015 where he gained insight into how government works and the challenges of managing growth. In addition to keeping up with his children who have migrated to places like Beijing, Doha, Qatar, Alaska, New York, and Oxford, he has pondered Mississippi’s challenges and what it takes to compete and prosper in a global environment. He has also been involved with his middle son Bradley in further transformation of The Lyric in Oxford into an event venue which host concerts, wedding receptions, Thacker Mountain Radio and is home to The Canteen in the alley and Amelia’s.
Mary Blessey is an alumna of the first cohort of the Grisham-McLean Institute’s C.E.E.D. Program (Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development), serving as an “Innovation Fellow” beginning in 2014. As a Fellow, Mary studied rural poverty, community engagement, and economic development in rural Mississippi. Mary was assigned to Tallahatchie County in the Mississippi Delta. She interned at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in Sumner, Mississippi and spent two summers working with the children’s program at the Tutwiler Community Education Center in Tutwiler, Mississippi.
Mary was born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She holds an M.A. in Southern Studies and an M.F.A. in Documentary Expression, both from the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. At the CSSC, she focused on documentary film and photography, which has
informed her work in media and communications. As an independent filmmaker, Mary has directed and produced documentary film work that has been nationally broadcast on PBS and screened at the The March on Washington Film Festival, the Oxford Film Festival, the Montclair Film Festival, and other venues. She received the “Artistic Director’s Award” at the The International San Diego Film Festival. She has participated in various panels and public speaking appearances including the SouthTalks series at the CSSC. Mary pursued her undergraduate degree at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, earning a B.A. in philosophy with minors in history and religious studies. She now lives in Atlanta, GA and is currently pursuing a J.D. at Emory University School of Law.
Hunter Carpenter, most recently selected as UM’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient, is a partner of RedBird Capital Partners, a New York- and Dallas-based principal investing firm, where he is responsible for natural resources and industrial related investment activity. Carpenter’s responsibilities over the course of his career have spanned the full life cycle of private investments. The majority of his investing experience involved backing entrepreneurs to help them grow as well as navigate the challenges of scaling over longer term hold periods.
Carpenter is also a board member of the UM Foundation and chairman of its investment committee. He was named one of Oil & Gas Investor magazine‘s “Top 20 Under 40” in Energy Finance in 2014 and one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by Arkansas Business Magazine in 2011. A four-year letterman in men’s basketball at Ole Miss, Carpenter earned his bachelor’s degree in accountancy in 1999, his master’s in 2000 and his Juris Doctor in 2003. He has published articles in the fields of Corporate Finance and Constitutional Law.
Virginia Dorris is a student success coach for Missouri Online at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. As a success coach, she acts as a liaison and advocate between online students and campus partners, ensuring students have the resources and support they need to be successful throughout their educational journeys and beyond. Born and raised in south Mississippi, she received her bachelor’s degrees in English and classics from the University of Mississippi in 2017. Following graduation, she joined the North Mississippi VISTA Project where she served for two years, the first as the VISTA member for the Horizons summer learning program and a second year as VISTA Leader. After her time with NMVP, Virginia moved to Nashville in 2019 to attend Vanderbilt’s Peabody College where she was a graduate assistant and job coach for the Next Steps inclusive higher education program and a member of the graduate honor council. She completed her program in 2021, earning her master’s in community development and action. Virginia is passionate about being involved in her community and youth education and enjoys volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club and as a reading tutor.
Lee Anne Fry
Lee Anne Fry is a 1982 graduate of Auburn University where she majored in Political Science. She is married to Bill Fry, a 1980 graduate of Ole Miss. She is the mother of two grown children, Will and Katie and resides in New York City.
Lee Anne worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst from 1982 to 1988. She moved to Boston in 1988 and worked for Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a grants administrator. She then worked as a marketing research analyst for Cigna in Chattanooga, TN from 1990-94. Since then Lee Anne has spent most of her time raising her two children and volunteering at her children’s schools and various organizations including Chattanooga Children’s Museum, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Delta Delta Delta, and St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church New York City.
She currently serves on the Now and Ever Campaign Steering Committee, and she and Bill are the Business School campaign co-chairs.
Dr. Vaughn Grisham is emeritus director and namesake of the Grisham-McLean Institute at the University of Mississippi where he has taught for the past 40+ years. He has authored several books and numerous articles, including Tupelo: The Evolution of the Community and Hand in Hand: Community and Economic Development. He has helped establish leadership programs in more than 300 counties and has done community development work in more than 30 states and two Canadian provinces. He published a leadership manual, Link 2000, for the Southern Growth Policies Board. In addition, Dr. Grisham’s most recent research has centered on Extraordinary Results in Ordinary Communities, published by the Kettering Foundation.
Dr. Grisham’s research focuses on studying small, poor communities that have transformed themselves into the best economic models in the country. His community development leadership training explores how these ordinary communities have achieved extraordinary results. Leaders and community participants are introduced to the basic elements and components of community development. Leaders also will engage actual case studies in which they are able to solve problems similar to or identical to the major issues of their places.
Dr. Grisham draws on more than thirty years of experience in the field of community development to walk leaders through each step of problem-solving and project evolution. Communities throughout Mississippi, the Appalachian Region, and the Nation have implemented these community development principles to help revitalize their local economies. Dr. Grisham’s Ph.D. is in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Nyterica Jenkins is from Grenada, Mississippi, but she has found her true home in Oxford, Mississippi, where she has become a passionate leader and advocate for service leadership. Her journey began as an AmeriCorps Vista through the Grisham-McLean Institute’s North Mississippi Vista project, where she served the LOU Barksdale Boys & Girls Club and The University of Mississippi’s School of Education. In these roles, Nyterica devoted herself to enhancing educational capacity, tirelessly working to connect underserved K-12 students with the resources and service opportunities they so desperately needed.
With unwavering dedication, Nyterica began her academic journey in 2014 at The University of Mississippi where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Master of Arts in Higher Education. Throughout her academic journey she was named Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities in 2018 and named the Frank E. Moak Memorial Award Recipient in 2021. She is currently an Academic Advisor at her alma mater, guiding students towards their academic and career aspirations while imparting wisdom through teaching a First-Year experience course.
Beyond her professional commitments, Nyterica’s heart lies with the LOU community. She enjoys volunteering with non-profit organizations and being actively engaged in her church community. Notably, she recently graduated from the Oxford Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Lafayette Class of 2023, a testament to her unyielding commitment to community growth and personal development.
Born and raised in Baton Rouge in the shadow of the Campanile, Dr. Gloria Kellum’s personal and professional life is characterized by towering service to others. Her contributions to the University of Mississippi alone, where she began as an instructor in 1966 after graduating from Louisiana State University, illustrate a life of unselfish dedication and tireless commitment to making the world around her better.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in speech language pathology and audiology in 1965 followed by a master’s degree in speech pathology two years later—returning to LSU to earn a doctorate in 1981. Gloria helped launch the speech and hearing program at Ole Miss that has grown into the Department of Communicative Disorders, a nationally accredited educational and clinical program whose graduates serve as speech pathologists and audiologists, improving the lives of countless children and adults throughout the nation.
Rising through the faculty ranks to full professor, she was the first woman and, at age 32, the youngest person to receive the university’s Elise M. Hood Outstanding Teaching Award. A national authority in treating individuals with craniofacial birth defects that impact their speech, language, and hearing, Gloria Kellum helped start the Cleft Palate Team in north Mississippi that provides coordinated services for children and their families. Her professional accomplishments include 20 referred articles, 15 indexes, reviews, and state publications, 44 national presentations and workshops, four book chapters, and 28 research and teaching grants totaling more than $900,000, with significant funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Nine years ago, Gloria was asked by Chancellor Robert C. Khayat of the University of Mississippi to join the leadership team and direct the university’s sesquicentennial celebration and its capital gifts campaign. She was named Vice Chancellor for University Relations for the University of Mississippi in 1998 and oversaw the Commitment of Excellence Campaign that brought in $525.9 million in private gifts. The university’s endowment has nearly tripled under her leadership. She has been instrumental in the establishment of the William Winter Institute on Racial Reconciliation, the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, the $1 million renovation of Ole Miss—Oxford Depot, and the development of the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy.
Terrell McCallum is an Associate Vice President and Client Advisor at Bessemer Trust. Bessemer Trust, founded in 1907, is a private, independent office that oversees more than $140 billion for over 2500 families, foundations, and endowments. In this role, Terrell is responsible for $1.2 billion in assets under management, and providing clients with proactive, highly personalized advice across Investment Management, Wealth Planning, and Family Office Services.
Prior to joining Bessemer, Terrell was an associate at J.P. Morgan, where he was responsible for corporate client banking strategy and business management and served as an inaugural mentor of The Fellowship Initiative, Dallas —a JPMorgan Chase program that provides intensive academic support and leadership development for young men of color.
Terrell earned an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business, where he served as a member of the Student Advisory Board, and a graduate student portfolio manager of the Nancy Chambers Underwood Endowment Fund. The fund has assets of approximately $7 million, and it represents one of the oldest and longest student-managed portfolio traditions in the United States. He received a B.A. in general business from the University of Mississippi.
Terrell currently resides in Dallas, TX where he serves on the Gift Planning Council of the Parkland Health Foundation. The Gift Planning Council provides guidance to and advocacy of Parkland Health Foundation’s gift planning initiatives and assures the Foundation meets its mission for robust financial support of public health and hospital systems.
Dr. Catherine Moring Catherine Moring, PhD, RDN, LD, BC-ADM, CDCES, MCHES: Dr. Moring is a registered and licensed dietitian, is board certified in advanced diabetes management, is a certified diabetes care and education specialist, and a master certified health education specialist. She has a master’s degree in health Promotion and a doctorate in Health and Kinesiology, both from the University of Mississippi. She is the founder of the James C. Kennedy Wellness Center and currently serves as the Executive Director. She is also the co-founder of Diabetes Solutions, one of the only accredited virtual Diabetes Self-Management Programs serving the State of Mississippi. She has over 15 years of experience in community and population health, has worked on numerous research projects, and obtained over 8 million dollars in grant funding. She was instrumental in developing the Mississippi Diabetes Network and recently received over a million dollars in federal funding to grow and sustain the Network long-term. She serves as the project director for the Network. She is passionate about working with people and communities to improve health, wellness, and quality of life. Her leadership experience extends beyond her work at the Center and the Network as she currently serves on several boards and committees. She has a plethora of experience teaching in both the community and university settings. She also has a private practice coaching and consulting company where she works with primarily women from all over the country who are experiencing health concerns related to hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and/or auto-immune conditions.
While at the University of Mississippi, Ryan founded the McLean Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, a Mississippi-focused entrepreneurial leadership program providing 100+, largely under-served, high school students from 20+ schools with rigorous summer-learning opportunities. Ryan played a key role in structuring the program and collaborated with nonprofits across Mississippi to create scalable solutions for community development.
Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and public policy, as well as a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Mississippi. While at school, Ryan received the Larry DeBord Award for Outstanding Graduating Sociology Master’s Student, was a member of Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the Lott Leadership Institute, Phi Betta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and a McLean Institute CEED Innovation Scholar/Fellow.
Bruce Ware leads the continental U.S. joint venture partnership and capital raising activities at DaVita HealthCare Partners. DaVita is a Fortune 500 Company with over $13.0 billion in annual revenues. He and his team have pioneered leading edge best practices in partnership capital raising activities. Since starting his group at DaVita, he has led the negotiation and execution of over 65 partnerships and related financings across DaVita’s footprint.
Mr. Ware started his career on Wall Street as an investment banker at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette focused on corporate finance advisory and mergers and acquisitions activities. Additionally, he spent several years in corporate finance at JP Morgan (Bank One) and as the Assistant Treasurer of Comstock Resources a growing independent exploration and production oil and gas company.
He holds a BBA in Banking and Finance from The University of Mississippi where he was inducted into Mortar Board and served as Student Body President of the then 2,600 member business school. Mr. Ware holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and is a 2016 Masters’ degree candidate from the University of Texas at Austin’s Executive Program in Public Administration which educates leaders in both the private and public sectors.
Mr. Ware is a Board Member of Uplift Schools, a Dallas based 14 campus charter school district serving nearly 15,000 students. He, along with Mrs. Donell Wiggins, created the Grisham Fellows program at The University of Mississippi in partnership with Uplift to provide enriching opportunities for students to broaden their horizons. The program was named in honor of the founding director of the McLean Institute, Dr. Vaughn Grisham. He is also a Board Member of The Wilkinson Center, a Dallas based leading poverty alleviation and prevention agency.
Mr. Ware was born in Dallas, Texas. During his formative years, his family relocated to his grandparents’ and mother’s home town in Newton, Mississippi.
Dr. Edward R. Wilson, Jr. came to the University of Mississippi in the fall of 1962 from Sardis, MS, and remained a student for the next eleven years to earn four degrees, the B.S. in Biology, the M.S. and Ph.D. in Anatomy, and the M.D. Edward completed his post graduate residency training in anatomic and neuropathology at Emory University Hospitals in Atlanta, GA. Edward was subsequently certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, and Neuropathology. In 1979 Dr. Wilson accepted a position on the faculty of the University of Alabama Birmingham, Children’s Hospital. After two years of full-time faculty service in this position, Edward moved to adjunct faculty status, and began his career in private practice as a pathologist. He retired from Cunningham Pathology Associates, LLC in 2008. Edward and his wife Amanda have one son, Evan Robert Wilson.