OXFORD, Miss. -- A gift of $25,000 by Melissa Mullens Kuhl, a University of Mississippi staff member and former tutor to student-athletes, has created a new endowment to support the Ole Miss FedEx Student-Athlete Academic Support Center.
The Kuhl Tutor Scholar Endowment will provide support for the UM FedEx Academic Support Center and grant scholarships exclusively to its tutors. Its main objective is to increase awareness of academic tutors and appreciation for their accomplished roles and responsibilities.
"We are blessed to have such an advocate in Ms. Kuhl for the tutoring program," said Derek Cowherd, senior associate athletics director for academic support. "The 100-plus tutors who support our student-athletes are called upon to be consistently prepared, knowledgeable of the material and operate with the utmost integrity at all times. The Academic Enrichment Program will benefit greatly from the added incentive of an undergraduate tutor scholarship program. This will help attract some of the best and brightest undergraduates that Ole Miss has to offer."
Now a coordinator in the UM Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Kuhl previously worked as a tutor in the FedEx Academic Center in 2008 after moving back to Mississippi to help care for her mother.
"In my previous work, I always looked forward to one-on-one preparation with students. Although the student wasn't aware of it, we were working together to create a special moment: that surprise and delight in their eyes when they found acceptance for who they could be and what they could learn. I have seen that satisfaction at the FedEx Center in both tutors and student-athletes. It is an inspiring thing to see."
Among those Kuhl tutored were Rebel standouts Brandon Bolden, now playing for the New England Patriots, and Enrique Davis, both running backs on the Ole Miss football team from 2008 through 2011. Davis received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 2011.
"Ms. Kuhl is a sweet woman who is always willing to help others," said Davis, who recently signed with the Green Bay Blizzard, a professional indoor football team. "She always pushed us to go the extra mile and showed us the proper instruction to complete assignments, tests or exams. She was definitely a blessing in my life. I'm glad I got the opportunity to learn from her. She is the true definition of what being a tutor is all about."
Kuhl had several inspirations to make this gift, one being her sister, Merri Mullens Willis, a UM alumnus and professional educator who has taught and tutored in mathematics for 34 years since her graduation in 1977. The other inspiration was a recent read, In Pursuit of Excellence by Terry Orlick. "Everyone has a natural excellence within," said Kuhl. "By interacting and helping one another, we help each other bring out that excellence in a way that one can't do on his or her own." Kuhl hopes likeminded donors will help to grow the endowment and allow for additional tutoring scholarships.
"We are so pleased to help facilitate this endowment," said Sarah Hollis, associate director of university development. "This is a great bridge between academics and athletics."
Kuhl was impressed with the environment created at the FedEx Center and has not forgotten the hard work that goes on inside its walls. "Having been a tutor at the FedEx Center, I experienced firsthand the encouragement, high scholastic standards, relationship building and interfacing between staff, tutors and students - all integral components for measuring academic success. I admired the student-athletes and their discipline and that of the other tutors as well."
"I am extremely excited about the Kuhl Tutor Scholarship and what it brings to our tutorial program," said April Thompson, assistant director of the center and director of athletic enrichment. "Not only will this scholarship allow us to reward our most deserving tutors, but it also will give us another avenue in recruiting talented and dedicated staff for the continued success of our student-athletes."
Originally from Clarksdale, Miss., Kuhl graduated from UM in 1973 with a degree in speech and theatre. After college, she moved to New York City where she worked in theatre for five years while earning a master's degree in educational theatre, then accepting a position with a major airline. Her job transferred her to Atlanta, leading her to an eventual position as adjunct professor for business speech fundamentals at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Ga.
Kuhl has served in the UM Office of Research and Sponsored Programs since late 2008, working with the internal database to populate and verify records. "I find the dedication, expertise, and camaraderie of the professionals in our department to be awesome. It is such a gift to me to be a part of it."
The Kuhl Tutor Scholar Endowment is open to receive gifts from individuals and organizations by sending a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, Miss. 38677 or visiting www.umfoundation.com/makeagift. To learn more about the Kuhl Tutor Scholar Endowment, contact Sarah Hollis at (662) 915-1584 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
While excelling on the fields and courts in the fall, 46 Ole Miss student-athletes were named to the Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll announced Wednesday by SEC Commissioner Mike... Read More [+]
Success wasn't limited to the fields and courts this fall, as Ole Miss student-athletes achieved the highest cumulative grade point average (2.96) in recorded history, with over 50 percent of all... Read More [+]
Ole Miss sixth-year linebacker Deterrian Shackelford has been selected to the Capital One Academic All-District VI team, as voted on by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America. Read More [+]
Ten of Ole Miss' athletics teams scored above the national average (82 percent) in graduation success rate (GSR), while men's tennis, women's basketball, women's golf, soccer, volleyball and rifle ... Read More [+]
The goal of the Rebel Reconnect program is to provide academic and tuition support to former Ole Miss scholarship student-athletes who left the university without completing their degree. The... Read More [+]
On the heels of yesterday's announcement of the SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll, 44 Ole Miss student-athletes were named to the 2014 SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll as announced Friday by the... Read More [+]
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive and 2014 SEC Professor of the Year Dr. John E. Hall of Ole Miss will speak on the opening day of the second annual SEC Symposium, to be held... Read More [+]
Not only did the Ole Miss women's tennis team make their sixth consecutive NCAA appearance, but the Rebels earned the ITA All-Academic Team Award for the 18th straight year, as announced Thursday. Read More [+]
While making their 21st consecutive NCAA appearance in 2014, the Ole Miss men's tennis team achieved great success in the classroom, earning the ITA All-Academic Team Award for the fourth year in a... Read More [+]
Ole Miss swept a doubleheader Saturday, defeating Alabama 10-2 in Game One and 4-0 in Game Two. As a pitching staff, the Rebels allowed just one earned run and scattered a combined 12 hits with 17 strikeouts compared to just... read more
Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze will team with former All-SEC basketball player Sean Tuohy to represent the Rebels for the fourth straight year and compete for a share of the $520,000 total purse in the ninth annual Chick-fil-A... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 14-20, 2015Men's Tennis- Ole Miss downed No. 22 Vanderbilt 4-1 to advance to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the 16th time in program history.- The Rebels rallied to take the doubles point and then got... read more
With a split of road matches at South Carolina and No. 8 Georgia, the Ole Miss men's tennis team moved up one spot to No. 13 in the nation entering the Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Championship this week in College... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review April 7-13, 2015 Baseball - Ole Miss finished the week with a 2-2 mark to remain a .500 overall record for the season (18-18) as well as 7-8 in SEC play. After dropping a... read more
The baseball team claimed claimed their second series of the second over the nation's top-ranked team in dramatic fashion. The football team wrapped up spring practice. And the men's and women's tennis teams closed out their respective regular seasons and... read more
At one point, co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner said, all three quarterbacks had completed around 66 percent of their passes, a testament to how close the competition has been this spring. Going into the Grove Bowl, Freeze said one had a... read more
Former Ole Miss head coach Billy Brewer almost did not sign Chucky Mullins, whose memory has been honored with the Chucky Mullins Courage Award. Nate Wayne, a four-year letterman for the Rebels and the 1997 recipient of the award, who... read more
#RebelNation here are the Red and Blue rosters for tomorrow's Regions Bank Grove Bowl. See you there! pic.twitter.com/FZptUEkW4P-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 10, 2015 Three areas to watch as Ole Miss splits into two teams for the annual Regions... read more
Junior cornerback Tee Shepard's story has been well-documented. Shepard is hearing impaired, but since he has arrived at Ole Miss, he has been the beneficiary of new hearing technology that has allowed him to hear sounds, such as a coach's... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewMarch 31-April 6, 2015Baseball - Ole Miss finished the week with a 2-2 mark to remain a .500 overall record for the season (16-16). - The Rebels claimed a midweek victory over Memphis before dropping... read more