By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce honored professor emeritus Jean Shaw as its 2011 Citizen of the Year.
“This year’s honoree has the ability to see a need and the energy and creativity to set in motion a plan to help,” said Chamber Chairman-elect Peyton Warrington. “One nominator said, ‘She accomplishes so much in such a quiet, humble manner, with graciousness and ease.”
Shaw, who taught at the University of Mississippi’s School of Education until her retirement in 2000, has been involved in an astounding number of community service efforts, several of which she either founded or has led.
In her 20 years on the board of the local United Way chapter, Shaw often chaired the Ole Miss fundraising campaign. She initiated a homelessness task force in Oxford, started a “green” group at Oxford-University United Methodist Church and started a prayer and shawl ministry to provide comfort for the infirm and bereaved.
As chair of her church’s mission team, she has overseen expansion of mission outreaches, including a team that has traveled to Mexico to help disadvantaged communities install water purification systems. She also coordinates and serves meals after Spanish-language worship services in Oxford.
Shaw was utterly surprised by her honor, but she used the opportunity to urge even more service.
“I have been honored to do the little I do in this community,” she said. “We all know what a wonderful place this is, and we’re certainly enjoying ourselves tonight, but as we do, let’s remember that there are people in this community who need our help.”