Sept. 15, 2014.
It was the day that 18-year-old Gabriel Jordan of Tupelo died. It was the day that Pearl resident Sam Walker received a kidney and pancreas transplant at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Gabriel's mom, Christine Jordan, and 44-year-old Walker discovered their common bond during a chance conversation on Friday as they took part in the Legacy Lap, a gathering for transplant recipients and donor families in the Norman C. Nelson Student Union.
Through her tears, Jordan raised Walker's T-shirt to examine the scar on his abdomen, which now shelters her son's organs. They hugged as Walker, at 6 foot 3, towered over her, just as 6-foot-3 Gabriel did before a years-long struggle with depression led to his suicide at his father's gravesite in Kosciusko.
Staring down a descent of 14 stories is the stuff of nightmares for most, but for the more than 90 volunteers who raised funds, buckled up and rappelled down the Trustmark corporate headquarters in downtown Jackson, it was a day of dreams.
Part of Over The Edge with Friends, a fundraiser for Friends of Children's Hospital held Friday and Saturday, the group raised more than $173,000, stories higher than the original goal of $100,000.
Dr. Bettina Beech, associate vice chancellor for population health and professor of pediatrics and family medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, has been named a Fellow of the American Council on Education.
Beech, who also is executive director of UMMC's Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities, will serve as an ACE Fellow for the 2016-17 academic year. She becomes one of nearly 2,000 higher education leaders who have taken part in the program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of Fellows having served as senior leaders of colleges and universities.
"The ACE Fellows Program cultivates leaders prepared to meet the constantly evolving challenges of today's higher education landscape,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. "The diverse and talented 2016-17 Fellows class demonstrates why the program has been such a vital contributor for more than a half-century to expanding the leadership pipeline for our colleges and universities."
Beech was nominated by Dr. Ralph Didlake, professor of surgery, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, and chief academic officer.
A number of interesting events is scheduled for the upcoming week at the Medical Center.