Meet our Professional Staff
I’m Whitman Smith, director of enrollment services for the University of Mississippi. I’m a 1989 and 1994 graduate of the University of Mississippi, where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts in higher education leadership. During my time at Ole Miss, I worked on campus in the Department of Sociology. I’m originally from Oxford, and I’ve worked for the university for 19 years.
My top three favorite things about Ole Miss are the people that I work with, the people I work for and the people we recruit. I chose Ole Miss because of family connections and because it was the best fit for me. I learned to love it for different reasons during my undergraduate tenure, and that love has strengthened during the years I’ve worked here. The people here are friendly, respectful and fun, and I like that they always smile at me and say hello when I see them.
Pets: My family has two cats named Lolly and Pipkin.
Secret indulgence/guilty pleasure(s): Public Radio, comedy, “Antiques Roadshow” and the Food Network.
Favorite Food(s): Mexican, sushi and lemon ice box pie.
If I had to eat dinner with one person, who would it be and why? I really couldn’t pick just one, but I would have to say my grandmothers.
If I were trapped on an island with one person, who would it be and why? My wife, because I know I would work hard to get her off the island.
Favorite place you have traveled to: Island, S.C., and Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Favorite Book(s): The Gift of Asher Lev by Chaim Potok, My Losing Season and everything else by Pat Conroy.
Meet Our Graduate Students
My name is Jeff Fusco, and I am the NODA Intern this summer at the University of Mississippi. I am a current graduate student in the College Student Affairs M.Ed Program at the University of South Florida in Tampa. After I graduate in May 2015, I will be looking for a career that allows me to educate and facilitate the development of students on a college campus. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Interpersonal & Organizational Communication in 2013 from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. I am originally from Lee, Massachusetts, and I am a huge Boston Red Sox fan. In my personal time I enjoy traveling, volunteering for my Fraternity, spending time on the water and going to the movies.
My favorite thing about Ole Miss is the warm welcome that I have received from the students and the staff. Within minutes of accepting my internship, I was overwhelmed with excitement and greetings from the Orientation Leader team. I am looking forward to a great summer welcoming new students and families to the University!
Pets: Back home I have two Jack-Russell terriers, Star and Nikki.
Secret indulgence/guilty pleasure(s): Living in Florida, I have an annual pass to Walt Disney World, and I like to use it for weekend getaways. You can never have too much Disney Magic.
Favorite Food(s): Bacon Cheeseburgers, Burritos and Hibachi
If I were trapped on an island with one person, who would it be and why? It would have to be my little brother from my Fraternity because he’s one of my best friends. We can never be mad at one another for more than five minutes and always have fun when were together.
Favorite place you have traveled to: I have had the opportunity to travel to both Costa Rica and Quito, Ecuador. Both are really beautiful places and have encouraged to travel more in Central and South America.
Favorite Book(s): The Harry Potter Series, The Hunger Games, Angels & Demons, The Great Gatsby
My name is Courtney Pearson. This is my first year in the Higher Education and Student Personnel master’s program at the University of Mississippi. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Education in Secondary English-Education in 2013 from the University of Mississippi. I was born in Athens, Ga. I was raised as a Navy brat, so I moved around a lot; therefore, I claim Memphis, Tenn., as my hometown.
My mother and father, as well as many other family members, are alumni of the University of Mississippi. I have an older sister, a step-brother and a younger sister, as well as a wonderful nephew. When it came to deciding where I would receive my education, I knew there was no better place than the University of Mississippi. I have had immeasurable, life-changing experiences and opportunities at the University of Mississippi. Oxford, Miss., is absolutely one of my favorite places in the world and there is nowhere more beautiful than this place. I am proud to call Oxford my home. The University of Mississippi has a very special place in my heart.
Pets: I do not own any pets, but I wish I had a little dog to put little bow ties on.
Secret indulgence/guilty pleasure(s): Watching movies over and over again. I have probably seen “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and various other movies 20 times more than the average human. I really enjoy movies. I also love Pinterest, Etsy and crafting.
Favorite Food(s): Spinach or anything with spinach in it. And rotel.
If I had to eat dinner with one person, who would it be and why? Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey. They have both had such amazing experiences and exemplify the epitome of integrity and elegance.
If I were trapped on an island with one person, who would it be and why? I am not sure, but I hope this never happens.
Favorite place you have traveled to: I would not consider it my “favorite” place, but it was definitely the most interesting and culturally diverse place I have ever been. My father was stationed in The Kingdom of Bahrain, middle-eastern island near Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and I had the opportunity to visit during his tour. I also really enjoy visiting Washington, D.C.
Favorite Book(s): The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Tuesdays with Morrie and Angels in America.
My name is Murphy Turner, and I am a graduate student in the Higher Education and Student Personnel program. I spent my first year working as a graduate assistant in the Academic Support Center and will spend my second year pursuing my passion for orientation with the Office of Enrollment Services. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Mississippi with a concentration on secondary education and certifications in history, science and instrumental music. I was raised in a small town in northeast Mississippi called Caledonia, but I rarely want to leave the amazing town of Oxford! I have a passion for student engagement, and I hope to pursue a career in an area that allows me to have a direct connection and an impact on student lives. After transferring from Itawamaba Community College, I fell in love with the university, and I have spent my time since looking to improve it and the experience students receive here.
In my personal life, I like to follow my favorite sports teams and travel as much as possible. I coach my little league Dodgers and umpiring baseball and softball tournaments when I can. I enjoy the outdoors and things like camping and kayaking and being an all around country boy that likes to fish and hunt. I also enjoy grilling out for my friends and girlfriend, and entertaining family and guests when possible.
Pets: Back home I have a little mutt named Tippy that I have raised from a pup. He is going on 14 years now!
Secret indulgence/guilty pleasure(s): Netflix, organization, technology
Favorite Food(s): Asian pears, venison, steak, water.
If I had to eat dinner with one person, who would it be and why? I’d love to sit and eat with Chipper Jones. I feel like the experience would change my life, and he is definitely a childhood hero of mine.
If I were trapped on an island with one person, who would it be and why? I would choose my brother James. He and I make a good pai,r and we are both great with our imaginations, work ethic and general know how. Plus, he is a better hunter and fisher than I.
Favorite place you have traveled to: I haven’t had the opportunity to travel around the world, but I have been to a few places around the states. I really enjoy going to Texas and the pride Texans have. I also love going to nice lakes to boat or kayak.
Favorite Team(s): Atlanta Braves, Tennessee Titans, Kentucky Wildcats Basketball, any former Kentucky NBA players and the King, LeBron James, and of course, THE REBS!!
My name is Kristen VanNoord and I am a graduate student in the Higher Education and Student Personnel Master’s program here at the University of Mississippi. I am currently serving as the Internship Coordinator within the Career Center. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. I have lived in Michigan my whole life, up until this year when I moved to Oxford.
My favorite part of Ole Miss is the people that I have encountered while here at the University. The Southern lifestyle is perfect, and I can see myself staying somewhere in the South upon graduation. In my free time, I like to run at Lamar Park, paint my nails and shop on the Square. I fall in love with Oxford and Ole Miss with every new day!
Pets: My family has a dog named Lucy!
Secret indulgence/guilty pleasure(s): Nutella, animal crackers and slushies
Favorite food: South Depot is my favorite Oxford restaurant! Otherwise, Jet’s Pizza is my favorite thing to eat.
If I had to eat dinner with one person, who would it be and why? Probably George W. Bush at his museum in Dallas, Texas.
If I were on an island with one person, who would it be and why? My little sister, Lindsey. She would braid my hair and make sure I laughed a lot. We can both swim well too, so maybe we could escape the island together.
Favorite place you have traveled to: I am very well traveled for my age, but my favorite place to be is at Disney World.. it’s so magical and happy!
Favorite book(s): I’m currently loving the Blackberry Island trilogy by Susan Mallery