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Oxonians inducted into School of Education Alumni Hall of Fame

Three Oxonians are among the University of Mississippi School of Education’s fourth class of its Alumni Hall of Fame.

Thomas C. Meredith, Ellen Shelton and the late Dorothy Henderson of Oxford were among seven educators from across the state honored when the news was announced last week.

Collectively, this year’s inductees have committed more than 240 years to improving education from preschool through college in Mississippi and across the nation. The School of Education Alumni Advisory Board selected honorees from nominations submitted earlier this year.

“Each of our Hall of Fame recipients is a model for our current students and alumni to emulate,” David Rock, UM education dean, said in a recent news release. “With over two centuries of dedicated service among them, they represent the vast impact that educators can make over the course of their careers.”

Meredith earned his doctorate from the School of Education in 1971, and has served more than 46 years in higher education.

Throughout his professional career, Meredith has held various roles, including high school teacher, high school principal, professor, vice chancellor of the University of Mississippi, president of Western Kentucky University, chancellor of the University of Alabama system, chancellor of the University of Georgia system and commissioner of higher education for Mississippi’s eight universities.

“It’s a great honor,” Meredith said in a recent news release. “It is special to be honored by this school, but I’m more honored to just be recognized by this place because is so special to me.”

Shelton received a master’s degree in 1994 and a doctorate in 2000 from the School of Education, and is currently the director of pre-college programming within the UM Division of Outreach at Ole Miss.

Shelton is the administrator of the online University of Mississippi High School, which has grown from 60 to 1,500 students in recent years. She has also served as an instructor at both high school and collegiate levels. In her role at the university, she has also mentored teachers from across the state through the UM Writing Project.

“I’m overwhelmed by this incredible honor,” Shelton said. “I hope I’m giving back a fraction of what I have been given by the School of Education.”

Henderson was the first full-time African-American to serve as a faculty member in the history of the UM School of Education.  She became a UM faculty member in 1978 and retired in 1998. With 43 years in public education, she began her career as a grade school teacher in Mississippi and Tennessee before settling down in Oxford. Although she passed away in 2015, she will be inducted posthumously by special provision. Henderson’s family accepted the award at the ceremony on her behalf.

“It is an honor to have my mother inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Deborah McKinney, Henderson’s daughter, said in a news release. “It’s an accumulation of everything my family has stood for. We’re very thankful and very grateful that she is being honored.”

Other inductees are: Kathleen Grisby and Pamela Smith, of Jackson; and Bob and Sylvia Ferguson of Tupelo.