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In Pursuit of Grit: From Vision to Practice
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When: Wednesday, August 8, 2018
12PM - 1PM (MT)
Where: Webinar
United States
Contact: Maggie Brubaker

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In Pursuit of Grit: From Vision to Practice


Larry Sparkman, Director at Luckyday Citizenship Program, The University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Amy Miller, Vice Provost at The University of Southern Mississippi, Holmes Adams, Chairman of the Board of Managers at The Luckyday Foundation, and Sarah Dixon, Associate Director at The Luckyday Citizenship Program


Through the vision of benefactor Frank Day, the Luckyday Foundation was formed and has supported 15 years of providing students with avenues for success at The University of Southern Mississippi. In this session, members of The Luckyday Foundation board, Luckyday Program administrators, and university partners will share their perspectives on successful collaborations, processes, and practices that support students in their pursuit of higher education dreams and personal growth opportunities. The concept of grit has been addressed in the Luckyday selection processes, program design, and key student development initiatives. Our intentional efforts to foster grit “cultivating resilience and encouraging persistence" are illustrated by our program benchmarks and outcomes. Attendees in this session will receive multiple perspectives on our work to identify and nurture grit, and understand the successes and challenges our students have faced and new directions we are exploring to capture and develop the critical quality of grit.

Presenter Bios:

Larry A. Sparkman serves as the Director of the Luckyday Foundation Citizenship Scholars Program, a privately funded scholarship and four-year student development program that facilitates a living-learning community, service learning, and servant leadership at The University of Southern Mississippi. Larry's previous professional experiences include: serving as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer, directing a first-year experience office, facilitating orientation for new students, directing student recruitment and enlistment, campus ministry, serving as a children's program coordinator at a psychological rehabilitation hospital, and working as a mental health professional in correctional institutions. Larry holds a Master of Social Work from Louisiana State University, Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Dr. Amy Chasteen Miller serves as a Professor of Sociology and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Miller oversees a range of offices and initiatives related to faculty development and student success. A sociologist by training, Dr. Miller's primary expertise is in gender studies and culture. She currently focuses her research on student engagement, diversity, and inclusion in higher education.

Dr. Miller received a Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Alabama, a Master of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. in sociology with a graduate certificate in women’s and gender studies from the University of Michigan.

Mr. Adams is Of Counsel with Adams and Reese LLP, a regional law firm with offices in eight southeastern states and Washington, D.C. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi in 1968 and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1975. He practices in the areas of education law and trusts and estates. Mr. Adams, a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, is included in the Best Lawyers for Trusts and Estates for the United States and Mid-South Super Lawyers for Trusts and Estates.

Mr. Adams presently is Chairman of the Board of Managers of The Luckyday Foundation and Chairman of the Board of the Eudora Welty Foundation. He is a Trustee for the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Junior League of Jackson.

Sarah Dixon serves as the Associate Director of the Luckyday Foundation Citizenship Scholars Program. Working with 450 scholars, Sarah facilitates and creates programming to assist in student retention and development, such as leadership experiences, student volunteer efforts, and student-centered social, academic, and wellness events. She leads the communication piece of the program, including email campaigns, social media, and general online presence. Her other major initiatives include organizing the freshman seminar class and curriculum, promoting the student and staff fitness challenge, and planning annual program events for students and alumni. Sarah received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Georgia and her Master of Arts degree in Public Relations from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Thank you to the following organizations for their generous support!

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