Stephen Farrow, MD, MBA-AEC, CPE, FACP
Emily Foret, MBA
Mark D. Borchelt, M.D., F.A.C.E
Debbie Clark, CRC
Jennifer Nix, RN
Joanne Levanway, RD, LDN
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
PRESIDENT, WILLIAM CAREY UNIVERSITY
Dr. Raymond Thomas (Tommy) King is the grandson of the founder of the town of Sumrall, Mississippi, and in February 2007, he became the ninth president of William Carey University. As the first graduate of the university to be named president, Dr. King came to the position with 30 years of experience in public education from elementary to university levels. At William Carey he served as Dean of the School of Psychology and Counseling, Vice President for graduate and off-campus programs, Professor of psychology, and Executive Vice President. He was recognized for his service to the university by being named Alumnus of the Year and is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame.
In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree from William Carey College, Dr. King holds four graduate degrees, including a doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Dr. King has served the Southern Baptist denomination on the local, state and national levels. In local churches, he has served on the staff, on significant committees, and as a Bible teacher and a deacon. Dr. King is a former member of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board and served eight years as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.
Dr. King has a strong record of leadership in civic affairs, including serving on the Laurel Planning Commission, the American Cancer Society boards in Jones and Marion counties and the Laurel-Jones County Library board. Among his honors, Dr. King was named Columbia’s “Outstanding Citizen.” He has served on the local, state and international levels of the Lions Club, and is an International Foundation Melvin Jones Fellow for Outstanding Humanitarian Work. He established the Mississippi Lions Deaf Camp and was inducted into the Lions Hall of Fame in 2002. In recognition of his service to the Lion’s Club he has received numerous awards including the Ambassador of Goodwill award — the highest honor the association bestows upon its members. He also was a recipient of the prestigious Hub Award in 2010 and the Promotion of the Arts Award from the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association in 2014.
Dr. King has served in many state and national positions. He served as President of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities in 2011-2012, and currently serves on the boards of the Salvation Army and the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities, as well as serving on the Council of Presidents of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and as Chairman-Elect of the Consortium for Global Education. He currently serves as Vice-President of the Southern States Athletic Conference.
Under his leadership, William Carey University has constructed a new campus in Biloxi, a medical complex of four state-of-the-art buildings, Sarah Ellen Gillespie Museum of Art, Joe and Virginia Tatum Theatre, School of Business, a wing to the School of Nursing, a maintenance building, a batting facility, a new tennis complex and a field house for tennis and soccer. The College of Osteopathic Medicine also was established, enrollment has increased significantly, new academic programs were started, the first doctoral degrees were awarded, a campus beautification program was undertaken, and an exchange program with two Chinese universities was finalized.
A College of Health Sciences has been established and the Doctor of Physical Therapy program began in fall 2015. Under Dr. King’s leadership, the university is seeking funds to establish a School of Pharmacy on the Tradition campus in Biloxi.
King and his wife Sandra have one son and two grandsons.
PRESIDENT, SOCK ENTERPRISES
Karen Sock is President and CEO of Sock Enterprises, Inc., a full service consulting firm. She provides companies and organizations with a variety of professional services including but not limited to: strategic and business planning; project and performance management; leadership and staff development; marketing strategy; event concept development and planning; and operations efficiency reviews with supporting performance enhancement recommendations.
Sock developed and honed her skills as a casino, hotel/resort and entertainment industry executive at Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., Grand Casinos Inc. and Caesars Entertainment Inc. She performed and excelled in a number of executive operating positions of increasing responsibilities including Senior Vice President and General Manager of Grand Casino Biloxi and Executive Vice President and General Manager of Grand Casino Tunica. Global Gaming Business Magazine recognized Sock in its January 2012 edition as one of the gaming industry’s “Top 25 Executives to Watch.” She is passionate about leadership and staff development, impactful marketing processes, as well as financial and performance management.
Sock is well known for providing inspirational leadership to thousands of staffers over the years. Many of her mentees have gone on to successfully obtain senior leadership positions in gaming and in other industries.
Giving back to her community is important to Sock and she has many affiliations. On behalf of Jackson County Civic Action and America’s Promise Alliance, she co-coordinated (P2P), Pathways2Possibilities 2013 and 2014 — a unique hands-on education and career expo. The event is custom designed to engage, educate and empower nearly 6,000 8th graders who attended from across South Mississippi’s six lower coastal counties. Sock was honored to deliver the spring 2013 “Commence Address” to the graduates of the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast campus and her topic was “Creating Your Personal Brand.”
She served as the Mississippi Gulf Coast volunteer representative in the British Petroleum (BP) national television, radio and internet advertising campaigns in 2012 and 2013 to boost tourism. Karen co-chaired the capital and development campaigns in 2011 to create Café Climb, which is now open in Gulfport, Mississippi, and operates as a teaching café where at-risk/opportunity youth are trained in the culinary arts while they serve the public. She is the creator of The “Award Winning” CEO Talent Show, a community fundraiser that has benefitted the United Way of South Mississippi, and raised over $120,000 since the shows inception in 2009.
Sock’s community engagement includes: Back Bay Mission, The First Bank Advisory Board, Gulf Coast Business Council, the Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, William Carey University Advisory Board and, East Central Harrison County Utility District Board.
Sock and her husband Fred have been happily married for 27 years and reside in Biloxi, Mississippi. He is a structural engineer in the nuclear power industry. They are the proud parents of one adult daughter, Kristan.
He has been called “a true renaissance man”: research scientist, teacher, mentor, community leader, author, patron of the arts, and entrepreneur. Born in Los Sarmientos, Tucuman, Argentina, Dr. Nicolas Bazan’s defining moment was witnessing an aunt suffer a seizure while walking him to a piano lesson when he was a young boy, putting him on the path to becoming a medical doctor and one of the world’s premier neuroscientists.
Nicolas G. Bazan, M.D., Ph.D., is the founding Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine, New Orleans. He is also the inaugural founder of The Ernest C. and Yvette C. Villere Chair for Research in Retinal Degeneration (1984-present) and has been appointed to the highest academic rank in the LSU System, a Boyd Professor (1994-present).
He devoted his life to study fundamental cellular and molecular lipid signaling taking place in early stages of neurodegenerations and other brain and retinal dysfunctions. He has uncovered cellular and molecular principles that reveal novel pro-homeostatic lipid mediators as well as their potential relevance in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, in experimental stroke, experimental epileptogenesis and on human retinal pigment epithelial cells (relevant to age-related macular degeneration). Dr. Bazan received his medical degree from the University of Tucuman in Argentina in 1965. Afterward, he trained at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York and Harvard Medical School. Then he was appointed faculty at age 26 at the University of Toronto, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. In the 1970s, he founded a research institute, a new Biology academic unit, and doctorate and Masters’ of Science graduate programs in Biochemistry in Argentina, and in 1981, Dr. Bazan joined the faculty of the LSU Health Science Center, where he later established and now heads the Neuroscience Center of Excellence.
In the late 1960’s, in his first laboratory at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, Canada, Dr. Bazan discovered that brain ischemia, seizures or electroconvulsive shock trigger the rapid release of unesterified essential fatty acids (docosahexaenoic and arachidonic acids) from membranes through phospholipase A2. Soon after, his lab extended these seminal observations to the retina. These findings became a citation classic (“Neural Stimulation or Onset of Cerebral Ischemia Activates Phospholipase A2”, Bazan NG, Current Contents/Life Sciences, 30:10, 1991). Based upon this early work, he then discovered that release of the lipid mediator, platelet activating factor (PAF), is a major signaling event of inflammatory responses in the eye and brain, and he identified PAF binding sites in synaptic and intracellular membranes.
He then uncovered that DHA supply to the photoreceptors and synapses is liver-regulated (1989), and that in photoreceptor cell renewal, retinal pigment epithelium recycling retains DHA within photoreceptors by a “short loop” (RPE-to-photoreceptors) after the “long loop” (liver-to-retina) (1985). He found that Usher’s Syndrome patients have DHA shortage in the blood, implicating the long loop in retinal degenerations (1986). He discovered enzyme-mediated formation of DHA derivatives in the retina (1984) and coined the term docosanoids. He and his colleagues, in collaboration with Dr. Charles N. Serhan, then discovered the synthesis and bioactivity of the first docosanoid, neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1, 2003-4), which arrests apoptosis in retinal pigment epithelial cells at the pre-mitochondrial level, and is neuroprotective in brain ischemia-reperfusion and in cellular models of Alzheimer’s disease. Then he and his colleagues found a decrease in DHA-derived NPD1 in the CA1 area of Alzheimer’s disease patients, and that NPD1 promotes down-regulation of pro-inflammatory genes and of pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins, and neuronal and glial cell survival from Aß toxicity.
Among Dr. Bazan’s awards and recognitions are the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (1989); elected to the Royal Academy of Medicine, Spain (1996); elected fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin (1999); President, American Society for Neurochemistry (1999-2001); Doctor Honoris Causa, Universidad de Tucuman, Argentina (1999); Endre A. Balazs Prize, International Society of Eye Research (2000); the Proctor Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) (2007); the Alkmeon International Prize (2011); the Chevreul Medal, Paris, France (2011); the Excellence Award, Annual European Association for Vision and Eye Research, Nice, France (2013); and the Mossakowski Medal, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland (2013).
For his contributions to creating a culture that inspires novel ideas and opens a path for translating concepts into reality—from the lab, to the clinic, to the community—he received many recognitions, which include: Role Model, Young Leadership Council of New Orleans (1994); The Alzheimer’s Association Greater New Orleans Award (2002); Family Services of Greater New Orleans (Ten Outstanding Persons) Award (2003); and induction into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame of New Orleans (2010).
He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Neurobiology (Springer) (1986-present), a Senate Member (2009-2016) for the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), a nationwide research program on Alzheimer’s disease in Germany, Member of the Biology of the Visual System Study Section, NIH (2009-2014), and Chairman of the Board of Governors for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Foundation (2011-2014).
His civic and artistic community involvement includes being a patron of the New Orleans Opera, and authoring Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind (produced as the feature film “Of Mind and Music”) as well as The Dark Madonna: A Fable of Resiliency and Imagination—novels exploring his lifelong intellectual quest and exploration of a better understanding of the deep beauty and complexity of the human experience.
Dr. Nicolas Bazan is married to Dr. Haydee Bazan, and they have five children: Patricia, Andrea, Nicolas, Hernan and Maria. The children have given his wife and him twelve grandchildren.
TRADITION DEVELOPMENT GROUP
Joseph C. Canizaro is President and Chief Executive Officer of Columbus Properties, L.P., a commercial real estate development company he founded in 1966, headquartered in New Orleans. Columbus Properties has developed, acquired and managed office buildings, hotels, mixed-use projects, as well as land and residential projects throughout the Southeast/Southwest. Some of his most recognized developments in New Orleans include Canal Place, First Bank and Trust Tower (formerly LL&E Tower), Texaco Center, First Bank Center (formerly the Galleria in Metairie) and the Information Technology Center Office Complex located at the University of New Orleans Research and Technology Park. Canizaro is currently developing TRADITION, the 4,800 acre master-planned community on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, a project that will create a sustainable new community with employment, residences, schools and recreational amenities centered on health and wellness, education, culture and the environment.
In 1991, he purchased First Bank and Trust, the successor to First City Bank of New Orleans, which had failed during the real estate crisis of 1990-1991. Subsequently he formed First Trust Corporation, a bank holding company headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1998, he purchased Peoples Bank in Amite, Louisiana, and in 2005, he purchased First Bank and Trust of Mississippi, the successor to Central Bank for Savings located in Winona, Mississippi. In 2008, he merged the three banks into First Bank and Trust. Today, First Bank and Trust is an $800 million community bank offering commercial, consumer and mortgage loans and deposit services to individuals and small to middle market businesses throughout the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast. In 1999, he formed FBT Investments, Inc., a full service securities brokerage firm and in 2000, he formed FBT Advisors, Inc, a full service securities advisory firm to compliment the products and services First Trust has to offer. Canizaro is the former Chairman of the Board of First Bank and Trust, and currently serves as Chairman of its Parent First Trust Corporation.
He founded Corporate Capital, L.L.C. in August 1998, a venture capital company currently investing in traditional American businesses. Some of its major investments have included Innovus, Inc. and Columbus Data Services, currently the largest ATM processor in the United States, servicing more than 93,000 ATM locations throughout the country and providing gateway services, debit card processing and credit card processing services.
Canizaro is a Trustee and former Chairman of the Urban Land Institute, a national professional organization established in 1936 with 30,000 members worldwide devoted to improving the quality of real estate development and its impact on the environment. He has been nationally recognized for his vision and creativity in urban and suburban real estate development and has served on the Harvard University Graduate School of Design’s Advisory Committee on Real Estate Development. Canizaro has been a member of the Business Council of New Orleans and the Tulane University President’s Council. He was the founder and former co-chairman of the Committee for a Better New Orleans, a privately funded group of more than 140 community, business and civic leaders committed to identifying the critical issues and opportunities facing the city and creating a blueprint for the future of New Orleans, based on mutual trust and consensus.
He is a director, former president and founder of the New Orleans chapter of Legatus, an international organization of practicing Catholic CEOs. Canizaro is also a former member and secretary of the National Legatus Board of Directors. Additionally, he has served the Archbishop of New Orleans as a member of the Archdiocese Finance Council and as Chair of Notre Dame Seminary’s Priestly Formation Campaign. Canizaro is also a Trustee Emeritus on the Board of Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida, and formerly served as Chairman of AMU’s Finance Committee.
Canizaro has served on a variety of boards of civic and institutional organizations and holds numerous distinctions from his membership in a host of regional and national business, civic and arts organizations. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Knights of St. Gregory Papal Honor, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Papal Honor, Order of St. Louis Medallion for work in the Catholic Church, Southern Dominicans’ St. Martin de Porres Award, and was commissioned to the highest rank of Councillor of St. Dominic on the advisory board of the Angelicum University in Rome. He also is the recipient of the 1999 Mayor’s Medal of Honor, Award, Louisiana Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame Award, American Academy of Achievement National Outstanding Achievers Award, and was named the National Italian-American of the Year. In 2015, Archbishop Gregory Aymond bestowed the Good Shepherd Award for his leadership with Notre Dame Seminary.
Canizaro and his wife Sue Ellen have been married for over 50 years and have two daughters, a grandson and a great-grandson.
PRESIDENT, MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dr. Mary Graham began her career with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 1987 where she served as Counselor/Recruiter for the Jackson County Campus in Gautier, Mississippi. In 2011, she was named the 12th president of MGCCC. Under her leadership, Dr. Graham brings a tremendous resume of experience to the college in areas such as master planning, leadership development, budget management, credit and noncredit instruction, public relations, legislative advocacy, human resources, residential student life, athletic and marching band programs.
In her role as president, she provides leadership for the overall operation of the college, which has campuses and centers located throughout South Mississippi: Jackson County Campus; Perkinston Campus, Perkinston; George County Center, Lucedale; Jefferson Davis Campus, Gulfport; Advanced Manufacturing & Technology Center, Gulfport; and West Harrison County Center, Long Beach.
Throughout her longstanding career with MGCCC, Dr. Graham has held several administrative positions within the college, including Director of Admissions/Registrar, Director of Institutional Relations and Vice President of Community Campus. As Vice President of the Perkinston Campus for 13 years, she was responsible for the management and oversight for the campus’ programs and services, business affairs, physical facilities and other campus operations. In addition, she provided educational leadership for the campus/center for analysis of needs, identification of budgetary priorities, strategic planning, effective action, evaluation and revision, as well as managed the college’s intercollegiate sports programs, band program and residential facilities.
Dr. Graham is a native of Mississippi and earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), and her Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees are from USM as well. Over the years, she has garnered a number of achievements and awards, including being honored as one of 50 Leading Business Women, received the NCMPR Pacesetter Award Winner, acknowledged as an Outstanding Community Leader, and was recognized as an Honorary Commander of the 81st Training Wing at Keesler Air Force Base.
Dr. Graham also is active in the community and is a member of a number of professional organizations such as serving on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the Gulf Coast Business Council, Mississippi Community College Foundation, and many more.