Lafayette County Student Receives Highest Academic Award at Ole Miss

Ward Toler. Taylor Medalist 2018. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Three Lafayette County students are among more than 70 University of Mississippi students to receive a 2017 Marcus Elvis Taylor Memorial Medal, the university’s highest academic award. The students were recognized April 5 during UM’s 75th annual Honors Day Convocation at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Kimberly Cassisa is a senior music performance major who, after graduation in May, plans to pursue a master’s degree in clarinet performance at the University of Iowa. Cassisa is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Kappa Phi Honor societies. She is a recipient of the Music Excellence Scholarship, the Patrons of Music Scholarship, UM’s Most Outstanding Undergraduate Musician Award and the PKL Take Flight Award, and was the 2016 UM Concerto Competition Winner. She is the daughter of Paul and Jane Cassisa of Oxford.

Harleigh Huggins is a senior mechanical engineering major with an emphasis in manufacturing who, after graduation in May 2018, plans to work as a manufacturing engineer with ABB in Senatobia. Huggins is a member the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence Student Advisory Board, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Mortar Board National Honor Society, Collegiate Automotive Manufacturing Society , the Society of Women Engineers  and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers She was named to Who’s Who. She is the daughter of Joe and Lynda Huggins of Oxford.

Ward Toler is a senior chemical engineering major who, after graduation in May, plans to work as an engineer for Cooper Tire and Rubber in Tupelo. Toler is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, Kappa Alpha Order and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Toler has been named to the Chancellor’s Honor Roll and is a recipient of the Distinguished Senior Scholarship. He is the son of Ward and Anne Toler of Oxford.

The Taylor Medals were established at UM in 1904 by Dr. William A. Taylor of Booneville in memory of his son, an honored 1871 alumnus of the university. The award recognizes no more than 1 percent of the student body each year.


Special to

For questions or comments email us at

Sign up to receive morning and evening headline emails HERE!

Follow on Facebook (If You Love Oxford and Ole Miss...), Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (@hottytoddynews).


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.