School Department News

Noonkester School of Arts and Letters

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 8:40am
Friday, July 25, 2014 - 2:15pm

Dr. Rafael Sanchez, a native of Spain and a respected educator of the Spanish language, has joined the faculty of William Carey University as professor of Spanish.

Dr. Sanchez will provide senior faculty leadership for the new Spanish major, which launches in the 2014-2015 school year. He will also work to develop and strengthen study abroad programs in Spanish in both Spain and Latin America.

Dr. Sanchez previously taught Spanish at The University of Southern Mississippi. He began his employment with USM in January 1981 and served as chairman of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures from 1995-2004. He has also worked with USM’s Office of International Programs, where he was heavily involved in creating and managing study abroad programs since 1997. He served as both director of international programs and director of the Center for International Education.

Dr. Sanchez has worked with the Mississippi Foreign Language Association in various capacities and served as president from 1998-2000. He is the developer of CATPRI (Computer Aided Total Physical Response Instruction), an interactive computer program to enhance foreign language teaching. He has also worked as director of liturgical ministries and director of Hispanic ministry at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hattiesburg. Prior to coming to the United States, Dr. Sanchez worked as a missionary in Uganda for 12 years.

He received his Ph.D. in Spanish Language and Literature from Tulane University in 1992 and his M.A. in Liturgy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1978.

Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 3:39pm

Hattiesburg, Miss., November 21, 2013 - Three William Carey University students were formally inducted into the WCU Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society on November 15 on WCU’s Hattiesburg campus. Established in 1924 to confer distinction for high achievement in English language, literature, and writing, Sigma Tau Delta invites members to join based on academic excellence.

The 2013 Sigma Tau Delta Fall 2013 inductees were Lauran Burham of Laurel, Megan Bourne of Columbia, and Lauren Golson of Hattiesburg.  Faculty sponsor is Marsha Newman, associate professor of English, and co-sponsor is Dolores O’Mary, administrative assistant for language and literature. Sigma Tau Delta president is Alyssa Keyes of Ringgold, Ga.

A reception followed the ceremony.

Monday, November 4, 2013 - 1:27pm

Hattiesburg, Miss., November 4, 2013 - Dr. Myron Noonkester, dean of the Noonkester School of Arts and Letters, has recently been named as the 2013 Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year for William Carey University. A faculty member from each of the community and senior colleges in the state is chosen for this recognition each year.

Dr. Noonkester presented his humanities lecture titled, “The Last Shoe to Drop: The Educational Foundations of William Carey (1761-1834) and William Thames (1866-1942)” on October 30 in the lecture auditorium of Fail-Asbury Hall. His lecture focused on parallels in the lives and educational backgrounds and methods of William Carey, the “Father of Modern Missions” and the university’s namesake, and William Thames, the educator who founded the institution that evolved into WCU.

Dr. Noonkester has taught at WCU for 30 years. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in history at Duke University before earning his master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.

The Mississippi Humanities Council is a private nonprofit corporation funded by Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide public programs in traditional liberal arts disciplines to serve nonprofit groups in Mississippi. MHC sponsors, supports, and conducts a wide range of programs designed to promote understanding of our cultural heritage, interpret our own experience, foster critical thinking, encourage reasonable public discourse, strengthen our sense of community, and thus empower Mississippi's people with a vision for the future.

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 2:27pm

Hattiesburg, Miss., May 10, 2013 - Sen. John Polk will speak at one of William Carey University’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m. in Smith Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus. Nearly 800 students will graduate from WCU in four ceremonies. This ceremony is for students receiving undergraduate degrees from the school of arts and letters, school of nursing and school of natural and behavioral sciences.

Sen. John Polk, owner and chairman of the corporation for Polk’s Meat Products, Inc., was elected to a four-year term in the Mississippi State Senate in 2011. He serves District 44, representing parts of Forrest, Lamar, and Perry Counties.  In August of 2012, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves appointed Sen. Polk as Chairman of the Senate Universities and Colleges Committee.  He has served on multiple other committees as well, including Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency, Education, Elections, Energy, Finance, Housing, Ports and Marine Resources.

Originally from Prentiss, Sen. Polk graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in communications and radio-television-film in 1971.  He began his career as news director of WHSY radio in Hattiesburg, and then worked for the USM Office of Public Information before joining the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics in Jackson as its first staff assistant for public affairs.  In 1973 he married Jan Barrett and in 1974, they bought their current business, Polk’s Meat Products, Inc. Through the years Sen. Polk has also owned and operated a radio station, been involved in cattle farming, tree farming, a pizza restaurant, and dabbled in interstate trucking. 

Sen. Polk has served on the board of directors of the Southern Miss Alumni Association, the University Foundation, and is a past president of the International Alumni Association.  In 1998 he was inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame. He and Jan live in Lamar County and are members of Temple Baptist Church where he sings in the choir. They have two children; Brian Polk and Julie Polk Breazeale, and three grandchildren: Barrett Blake, and Olivia.