Hufford ‘carried a big stick’

Published 10:49 am Friday, May 19, 2017

Oxford is blessed, because of the University of Mississippi, to have some of the smartest and finest people in the world settle here to a longtime home.

We see them at the same grocery stores and their children go to the same schools. But behind the community scene, they do remarkable work of national and global scope.

The late Charles Hufford, who passed away this week, and his wife, Alice Clark, are good examples of this. Hufford, associate dean emeritus for research and graduate programs and professor emeritus of pharmacognosy at the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy, was known professionally as one who walked softly and carried a big stick.

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He transformed the school’s natural compounds and drug metabolism research and patenting compounds, and was instrumental in helping the school acquire eight nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy machines that identified complex natural products. And a whole lot more.

Clark, who now serves as Vice Chancellor for University Relations, received this past weekend the University’s Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award, one of the highest honors at our flagship university for a longtime professor.

She joined Ole Miss in 1979 and earned master’s and doctoral degrees here, and rose to the rank of vice chancellor as one of the most supportive, engaging and bright minds on the campus. And that’s saying something.

We mourn the loss of Charlie Hufford, but celebrate this week the contributions of both he and Clark to the university and the community, since they are indicative of why Oxford is such a great place to call home.