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2/14/2014 - Jackson, Miss.

Former Governor William Winter will deliver keynote address

The 27th Annual HEADWAE program has been scheduled for February 18, 2014. Outstanding students and faculty members from 34 Mississippi public and private universities and colleges will receive special recognition from the Mississippi Legislature during this annual event. HEADWAE was established by legislative resolution to honor individual academic achievement and the overall contribution of the state’s public and private institutions of higher learning.

Business leader James L. Barksdale chairs the event. The Honorable William F. Winter, Governor of the State of Mississippi, 1980-1984, will deliver the keynote address at the luncheon.

The honorees will begin the day with a visit to the State Capitol where they will be welcomed and recognized by the Senate and House of Representatives and given a tour of the Capitol. The awards luncheon will begin at 11:45 a.m. at the Marriott Hotel, 200 East Amite Street in Jackson.

James L. Barksdale is the chairman of the board and president of Barksdale Management Corporation, a private company that manages his investments and philanthropic activities, and serves as chairman of Spread Networks, a company he helped establish in 2009. With more than 35 years of operational experience, he served as president and CEO of Netscape Communications Corp. from January 1995 until the company merged with America Online in March 1999, at which time he joined Time Warner’s board of directors.

“I am so pleased to serve as chair of the event,” said Jim Barksdale. “It is so important that we recognize these students and faculty for their achievements and the contributions they make in the classroom and their communities. They strive for excellence in all endeavors and demonstrate the quality we have within higher education in Mississippi.”

The Barksdale Foundation established the Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi in 1997. In January 2000, the foundation granted $100 million to the State of Mississippi for creation of The Barksdale Reading Institute to help Mississippi children improve their reading skills. In 2008, Jim Barksdale and his wife, Donna Kennedy Barksdale, presented a gift to the University of Mississippi for the creation of the Mississippi Principal Corps, an initiative designed to change the way Mississippi school principals are changed. They have also sponsored Parents for Public Schools’ “Schoolhouse to Statehouse” project, which trains parents to become more engaged with public schools in the state.

The Honorable William F. Winter served as Governor from Mississippi from 1980 to 1984. Prior to his election to the state’s highest office, he had been elected to the offices of state representative, state tax collector, state treasurer and lieutenant governor. He has been chairman of the Southern Regional Education Board, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Southern Growth Policies Board, the Commission on the Future of the South, the National Civic League, the Kettering Foundation, the Foundation for the Mid South, and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He was a member of President Clinton’s National Advisory Board on Race.

His term as Governor of Mississippi has been nationally acclaimed for the groundbreaking passage of education reform legislation. He was instrumental in founding of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi. He was awarded the Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

An attorney in the Jones Walker law firm in Jackson, he is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law. He is married to the former Elise Varner and they have three daughters, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Corporate sponsors for the HEADWAE program include: Atmos Energy, Jackson; AT&T, Jackson; BancorpSouth, Tupelo; BankPlus, Jackson; Chevron Products, Pascagoula; ERGON, Flowood; Entergy, Jackson; Georgia-Pacific (KOCH Companies), Baton Rouge, LA; Generation Ready, Jackson; Huntington-Ingalls, Pascagoula; Mississippi National Guard, Jackson; Mississippi Power Company, Gulfport; Nissan-Canton; Puckett Machinery, Jackson; Sanderson Farms, Laurel; Trustmark Bank, Jackson; and Valley Services, Inc., Flowood.

2013-14 HEADWAE Honorees


The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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