Gifts help assure students are taught by outstanding professors
UM Professor Robert Van Ness is the Bruce Moore Scholar in Finance, a School of Business Administration faculty position endowed by Bruce and Karen Moore of Nashville, Tenn. Donors are joining the university's quest to increase resources for faculty support, ensuring that current and future Ole Miss students are taught and mentored by outstanding faculty members.
Three University of Mississippi faculty members in the School of Business Administration have been awarded positions endowed by donors, in the university's continuing quest to strengthen resources for faculty support.
 
Robert Van Ness is the Bruce Moore Scholar of Finance, and Clay Dibrell is the Gresham Entrepreneurship Lecturer. Tori Bush holds the Donna Ruth Roberts Lecturership.
 
"It is an honor for a faculty member to receive an endowed position, and (it) allows us to enhance our academic reputation and reward meritorious faculty members," said Ken Cyree, dean of the business administration. "The School of Business is able to provide support for our faculty members due to the generosity of our donors, and these external funds provide the margin of excellence for what we are doing.
 
"These gifts will enhance the educational environments for generations to come, and through them leverage the donations to impact thousands of students."
 
Director of doctoral programs and professor of finance, Van Ness has been a UM faculty member since 2002. He earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and doctorate from the University of Memphis. His previous honors include the School of Business Administration's Outstanding Senior Researcher and the Outstanding MBA Professor.
 
He is the co-editor (with Bonnie Van Ness) of The Financial Review, a highly-regarded journal associated with the Eastern Finance Association. Robert Van Ness has published more than 60 research articles in finance, with expertise in market microstructure (how financial market structure affects trading on the various stock exchanges).
 
Dibrell, an associate professor of management, has been on the business school faculty since 2009. He holds both MBA and doctoral degrees from the University of Memphis. Dibrell's honors include Outstanding MBA Teacher and Outstanding Teacher of the Year in the School of Business Administration. He has more than 30 articles published primarily in the area of entrepreneurship and family business, and is an associate editor for the Journal of Family Business Strategy.
 
"I would like to thank the Gresham family for their generous gift in honor of their father, Gen. William W. Gresham Jr.," Dibrell said. "As the Gresham family is heavily involved in its company, Gresham Petroleum, it is an honor and privilege to hold the lectureship, which will greatly enhance my ability to conduct family business research and to disseminate this knowledge to my students, who will one day take part in their families' businesses. In addition, this gift continues to show how the Gresham family has graciously supported Ole Miss over the years in their efforts to make Ole Miss one of the top universities in the nation."
 
A professor of marketing, Bush joined the Ole Miss faculty in 1995. She earned a master's degree from Michigan State University and a doctorate from the University of Memphis. Bush received the business school's Outstanding Publications Award in 2012.
 
"I'm thrilled to be recognized as an outstanding faculty member and to be part of the Donna Ruth Roberts Business Women's Excellence Endowment," Bush said. "This honor is especially important to me because it focuses on the importance and contribution of women in the business community. Donna Ruth Roberts is a role model because she cares deeply about fiscal responsibility, family and philanthropy."
 
The Bruce Moore Scholar in Finance was created with a gift from Bruce and Karen Moore of Nashville, Tenn. Walton and Tom Gresham of Indianola, Miss., established the Gresham Entrepreneurship Lecturer in memory of their father. The Donna Ruth Roberts Lectureship is the result of longtime support from Donna Ruth Roberts of Oxford, Miss. 
 
For more information on providing faculty support to a specific school or college, contact Debbie Vaughn, senior executive director of development, at 662-915-3937 or dvaughn@olemiss.edu.
 
Edwin Smith