It took a lot of hard work and dedication, but this month, the Meek School of Journalism and New Media sent several hundred students out into the real world who will be pursuing their dream jobs.
More than 400 Meek School students graduated from the University of Mississippi this May, and these integrated marketing communications students and future journalists are starting a new chapter in their lives.
There were 402 Meek School graduates, including those who earned master’s degrees in journalism and IMC. Of those, 328 walked in the graduation ceremony.
The speaker for the graduation ceremony was Dick Starmann, who graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1968. A Midwest native, Starmann carefully investigated universities throughout the nation and came to Ole Miss in the mid-1960s because of the uncommon Department of Journalism that offered a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism in the School of Business. He went on to become a leading global communications/marketing executive.
Starmann has practiced crisis management in the United States, Asia and the Pacific Basin for 30 years. As a senior officer and member of McDonald’s Corporation’s top management, he was in charge of worldwide communications and led the company’s global Crisis Management Response & Preparedness team from 1981-1998. He was an officer of the McDonald’s Corporation for 19 of his 27 years with the company.
Starmann has firsthand, on-the-ground management experience with health issues and food- and air-borne illnesses, and he has developed terrorist command and control plans for American companies in the United States, Europe and Asia.
He was a first lieutenant and paratrooper in the U.S. Army Special Forces in Vietnam from 1968-1970. He also is a former member of the board of directors of the San Diego Padres professional baseball team.
He was a senior advisor to the late Joan B. Kroc, widow of McDonald’s Corp. founder, Ray A. Kroc. Upon her passing in 2003, Starmann was co-trustee of Mrs. Kroc’s estate headquartered in San Diego, California.
He has lectured on crisis management at Dartmouth, Purdue and the universities of Nebraska, Mississippi and Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, he is a speaker in the MBA program and former chair and current member of the Advisory Council for the College of Business. In 2006, the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame, inaugurated a Research Chair in Peace Studies in his honor.
After Starmann’s speech, Meek School Dean Will Norton, Ph.D., addressed the audience of graduates and their friends and families.
“Mothers and fathers, we thank you for lending your sons and daughters to us these last few years,” he said. “We trust that the significance of their years at Ole Miss and the Meek School will be with them every day for the rest of their lives.”