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Ole Miss to host third technology summit

The University of Mississippi will host the third annual Technology Summit where business and industry leaders will gather in Oxford to discuss technology, education, and workforce development. Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter will host U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and technology leaders Wednesday, August 29th for the event.

The summit brings together leaders from government business and higher education to explore trends in technology and stimulate discussions about technology-related needs in industry and education.

“The University of Mississippi’s Tech Summit is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to welcome national leaders in industry, education, and government to our campus for stimulating conversations about the future of tech,” said Vitter, UM’s 17th chancellor and professor of computer and information science. “Now in its third year, the Tech Summit is a reflection of our commitment to giving our students top-notch preparation to thrive in a tech-driven world. It’s also a reminder that Ole Miss is a place where great minds gather.”

During the morning session, Rob Carter, chief information officer for FedEx, will deliver the keynote address on “Seeking the Edge – How to Sustain a Culture of Innovation.” Guest speaker Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the president at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will speak during the luncheon.

Senator Wicker said he anticipates great outcomes based on the results of the two previous summits.

“I commend the University of Mississippi for bringing together leaders from government, business, and higher education who will shape the future of innovation in our state and nation,” said Wicker who also serves as a member of the Senate Republican Leadership Team, senior member of the Armed Services Committee, chair of the Subcommittee on Seapower and co-chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission. “As the chairman of the Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet Subcommittee, I look forward to learning more about the issues discussed at this year’s tech summit, and how public policy can support the innovators establishing Mississippi as a tech hub.”

Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape Communications Corp. and former COO of FedEx Corp., will moderate a morning roundtable discussion on opportunities and challenges in technology. Barksdale is an Ole Miss alumnus and a renowned philanthropist for education in Mississippi. Participants include representatives from FedEx, Samsung, UM and the Department of Homeland Security.

Students from the university’s international studies and mathematics programs, the Arabic and Chinese Language Flagship programs, Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Trent Lott Institute for Public Policy Leadership and the McLean Institute ‘s Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Initiative also will present three-minute talks.

Former Gov. Haley Barbour will moderate a second roundtable discussion on the role of education in preparing the tech workforce. Participants include representatives from LinkedIn, the Mississippi Community College Board, C Spire, Huntington Ingalls Industries and UM.

Allyson Best, director of technology commercialization for the university’s Office for Technology Management, will moderate a final roundtable discussion on technology applications in government and industry. Panelists will represent the UM Medical Center, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Space and Missile Defense Command, Sen. Wicker’s office and Comcast.

Vitter said the event reinforces his commitment to strengthening STEM education, growing the university’s capacity to address future workforce needs, and enhancing the university’s status as a Carnegie R1 Highest Research Activity institution. The summit also complements many of the university’s recent efforts in this area, including the new STEM building and the chancellor’s initiative to establish an interdisciplinary research and education program in data science.

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