The McLean Institute Advisory Board provides advice on programmatic and strategic issues relating to the success of the 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 30 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 in excess of $960 million of equity for these companies through a series of real estate funds. Currently, Stratford Land and Stratford Realty Capital have four offices located in the southern and western portions of the United States.
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 and won the company’s Legion of Honor award for outstanding sales performance. In 1979, he left Burroughs to take a Rotary Fellowship to study economics in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. Ivye L. Allen is President of the Foundation for the Mid South, a regional foundation serving Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The Foundation funds programs and initiatives that focus on community development, education, health and wellness, and wealth building. Since its inception in 1990, the Foundation has leveraged more than $750 million to the region. Prior work experience includes serving as Chief Operating Officer for MDC Inc. and Director of Fellowship Programs for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Before working in the nonprofit arena, Ivye’s early experience was in finance and marketing positions in fortune 100 corporations. Her education includes a Ph.D. in social policy from Columbia University; a M.S. in Urban Affairs from Hunter College; a M.B.A. in marketing and international business from New York University; and a bachelor’s in economics from Howard University. She serves on numerous boards and advisory groups and is a member of several professional and social organizations.
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.
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.
Billy Crews worked directly for George McLean, for whom the McLean Institute is named, for five years prior to his death. He worked at Journal Publishing Company for 34 years and ultimately succeeded McLean as publisher of the Tupelo/Northeast Mississippi newspaper and CEO and Chairman of the parent company. After serving in the private sector, focused on community and regional development and business expansion, Billy decided to embark on a second career working to improve public education. He worked in the Mississippi Region of Teach For America as its Vice President from July 2012 through December 2014. TFA works in partnership with public schools to achieve educational equity and close the achievement gap faced in our classrooms. Billy currently serves as the development officer for the School of Education at the University of Mississippi.
Dr. Vaughn Grisham is emeritus director of the 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.
Sanford Johnson is the Deputy Director of Advocacy for Mississippi First, a non-profit dedicated to advancing the best education policy ideas through the policy continuum—research and analysis, public awareness and issue education, advocacy (Legislative & Administrative), implementation, and evaluation. He directs all MSF’s community-level policy outreach and advocacy efforts. He leads the advocacy campaign for the CHART Initiative and Common Core and spearheads our campus outreach. Sanford engages educators, students, parents, and community members through presentations, trainings, and project facilitation.
Prior to joining Mississippi First, Sanford was a high school social studies teacher. From 2003-2005 he taught with Teach For America at Coahoma County High School. From 2005-2007 he taught history and civics at the KIPP school in Helena, Arkansas. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Auburn University and a Master of Public Service degree from the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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 1996 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.
Dick Molpus is president of The Molpus Woodlands Group (MWG), a timberland investment management organization headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi. MWG buys and manages timberland investments across the United States for clients. A Philadelphia, Mississippi, native and a 1971 business administration graduate of the University of Mississippi, Molpus served for a number of years as vice president of manufacturing for Molpus Lumber Company.
Dick Molpus was among several young gubernatorial staff members known as the “Boys of Spring” who helped guide to passage Governor Winter’s historic Education Reform Act of 1982. In 1983, in a race involving seven opponents, Molpus was elected secretary of state of Mississippi; he was re-elected by significant margins in 1987 and 1991. During his tenure Molpus converted the secretary of state’s office from an agency that was a tax drain of $200,000 into one garnering a profit of over $2 million per year.
In 2005 Molpus was inducted into the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame, and in 2008 he was honored as a Champion of Justice by the Mississippi Center of Justice. He was co-chairman of the highly successful 2006 Jackson Public School Bond Campaign that brought $150 million for renovations and new schools to Jackson. And in 2013 he was inducted into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame.
Dr. Catherine Moring is the founder and executive director of the James C. Kennedy Wellness Center located in Charleston, MS. The Center specializes in programming and services that address, prevent and manage chronic health conditions, namely diabetes and obesity. Dr. Moring is an experienced health professional with expertise in individual, community and worksite health. She has her PhD in health and kinesiology with an emphasis in health behavior, a master’s degree in health promotion, is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES), a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, a Whole30 and Keto and Intermittent Fasting Certified Coach and a diabetes educator. She is also an affiliated research associate for the UM Center for Population Studies and is the current president-elect of the MS Public Health Association.
Josephine Pradia Rhymes
Josephine Pradia Rhymes has been Executive Director of Tri-County Workforce Alliance (TCWA) since its implementation in 1996. TCWA helps bring economic and community development to a three-county region (Coahoma, Bolivar, Quitman) of the Mississippi Delta.
Josephine is also Program Director of Youth Leadership Clarksdale, a program she helped to conceive 18 years ago. She taught for many years at both the high school and community college levels and was selected for Who’s Who Among American Teachers in 1990. In 1992 Josephine received the NAACP’s Education Award and was selected Citizen of the Year for Clarksdale/Coahoma County in 1999.
Josephine’s community involvement is extensive, including current service on the District Workforce Council, Mississippi State and Regional Advisory Committees for the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI), the Clarksdale/Coahoma County Chamber of Commerce (past President), the Executive Committee of the Clarksdale/Coahoma County Industrial Foundation, Mississippi State Sector Strategy Team, and is a member of the National Network of Sector Partners Advisory Board.
Josephine received her Bachelor’s degree from Southern University and A&M College and her Master’s of Education from University of Mississippi.
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.
Teresa Cheeks Wilson
Teresa Cheeks Wilson is a senior community development specialist with the Memphis Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She is responsible for promoting community and economic development and fair and equal access to credit. She also facilitates productive partnerships between lenders and their communities to advance issues pertaining to community development finance, neighborhood stabilization and household financial stability. Wilson earned her undergraduate degree in business marketing from the University of Memphis. She is a graduate of the 2011 Leadership Academy Fellows program and the 2013 Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas. Wilson serves on the boards of the RISE Foundation, United Housing, Inc. and the Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi and the advisory boards of the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement and the Center for Community and Economic Development at the University of Central Arkansas.