Dr. Jim R. Chambless

August 10, 1940 ~ June 18, 2024

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Dr. Jim R. Chambless, retired Professor and Dean of the School of Education at The University of Mississippi, died Tuesday, June 18, 2024, at Baptist Memorial Hospital – North Mississippi. The funeral will be Saturday, June 22, 2024, at 2:00 P.M. at First Baptist Church of Oxford with Rev. Don Gann and Dr. Robert Allen officiating. Visitation will be held prior to the service beginning at 1:00 P.M. A private graveside service will be held in Oxford Memorial Cemetery.

Dr. Chambless was born August 10, 1940, in Hope, Arkansas, the son of Reese and Polly Chambless. He graduated from Hope High School and earned a B.A.E. from The University of Arkansas at Monticello. He received a M. Ed. And Doctor of Education from The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

He began his professional education career as a science teacher and coach at Crossett, Arkansas. During his five-year public school tenure, he taught chemistry to eight national merit scholars, won a state football championship and won three state track championships.

Dr. Chambless joined the faculty of the School of Education at Ole Miss in 1970. He was promoted to full professor of Leadership and Counselor Education in 1977 and served as Associate Dean and Acting Dean before he was named Dean of the School of Education in 1997.

During his tenure at Ole Miss, he received more than 20 million dollars in federal, state, and private grants and contracts. He served as Director of the Mississippi Teacher Corps and directed several research projects such as the Mississippi Writing to Read Project and the Barksdale Reading Project. He also developed the Mississippi Teacher Fellowship Program, The North Mississippi Education Consortium, the National Food Management Institute, The University of Mississippi World Class Teaching Program, the Mississippi Freedom to Learn Initiative, and established numerous Professional Development Sites across north Mississippi. Several of these projects received Mississippi Forum Excellence Awards and were recognized nationally.

A Dean of the School of Education, Dr. Chambless was responsible for establishing a number of new programs, both undergraduate and graduate for education students. He also established an Academic Enhancement Endowment and numerous technology initiatives for the school.

Dr. Chambless had more than 60 professional publications including both books and articles in educational journals. He also made more than 90 professional presentations.

He led the School of Education through a number of successful accreditation visits by the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education. On several accreditation visits, the school was recognized for “exemplary practices,” and given the Best Practice Award. He also served for many years on the NCATE Board of Examiners as an evaluator of teacher education programs at major universities across the country.

He was awarded the Alumni Award for Achievement and Merit by the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He also received the Outstanding Grants and Contracts Award, and the North Mississippi Education Consortium Outstanding Dedication and Commitment Award. In addition, he was given the Phi Delta Kappa Silver Service Award and an Outstanding Teacher Award by Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society.

Dr. Chambless was an active member of the Oxford First Baptist Church, where he served as a Sunday School teacher and member of numerous committees such as the Youth Committee, Stewardship Promotion Committee, and Building Committee. He was also a member and officer of the Oxford Rotary Club.

Throughout his life, Dr. Chambless developed and supported many civic and educational causes. He was thoughtful, optimistic, and dedicated to helping others. He cherished his relationships with colleagues, students, and friends and always made an effort to support them.

Dr. Chambless was preceded in death by his father, Reece Chambless; mother, Pauline Chambless; and wife, Dr. Martha Stuckey Chambless.

He is survived by his daughter, Dr. Heather Herrington and her husband, Dr. Ramsey Herrington, of Charlotte, Vermont; three granddaughters, Dahlia, Zinnia, and Iris Herrington; and one grandson, Thomas Winter Chambless.

Expressions of sympathy or memorial contributions in Dr. Chambless’ memory may be made to the School of Education Scholarship and Immediate Needs Fund, through The University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, Mississippi, 38655, or online at https://umfoundation.com/soescholarships


Saturday, June 22, 2024 1:00PM – 2:00PM

First Baptist Church – Oxford, MS
800 Van Buren Ave.
Oxford, MS 38655


Saturday, June 22, 2024 2:00PM – 12:00AM

First Baptist Church – Oxford, MS
800 Van Buren Ave.
Oxford, MS 38655

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