Jackson and Packard Celebrated

In a twist of fate, the Student Council chaplain couldn’t make it to chapel May 5. Luckily, Robert J. Hussey, Sr. Chair of Religion David Jackson was available to deliver the devotional, because Headmaster Pete Sanders was honoring him, along with Instructor in Math Leigh Packard, to celebrate their retirements.
Ms. Packard has taught Lower School math at MUS for 13 years, capping a 46-year career as a teacher. She is known for instruction in accelerated geometry and algebra, but she has also assisted Lower School boys with her oversight of the Math Lab.

Lower School Principal Loyal Murphy ’86 spoke about her determination and commitment to her students. He recounted stories demonstrating her love of Elvis Presley and a teaching philosophy that emphasizes high expectation with unwavering support.

Murphy told of faculty members who were her students in their younger days, including English Instructor Anna Hedgepeth.
“She demands excellence from her students and provides them with every tool necessary to achieve excellence,” Hedgepeth said. “If I thought I respected and admired her as a 14-year-old at Houston High School, I could never have fathomed how much I would continue to respect and admire her as a fellow teacher, colleague, and friend. I will miss her around these halls, but something tells me I will still hear her voice in my head telling me to ‘BRING YOUR GEOMETER’ and ‘SHOW YOUR WORK!’ I hope my work will always make her proud.”

Dr. Jackson has spent 26 years over two stints at MUS, teaching Bible, Comparative Religion, and ethics classes while serving as the chair of the Religion Department and holding the endowed Robert J. Hussey, Sr. Chair of Religion.

Assistant Headmaster Barry Ray said Jackson is “someone who not only talks the talk; he walks the walk.” He added that Jackson’s Wednesday chapels in which he encouraged thoughtful living always stuck with him.

“Dr. Jackson has supported the mission of Memphis University School,” Ray said. “We will miss him for that. His dedication to his students and to his friends on the faculty and staff will be missed more. I personally will miss seeing him daily and the friendship that we’ve developed over years.”

As tokens of appreciation for their time as faculty members, Jackson and Packard received MUS chairs inscribed with details of their service.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Jim Burnett ’83 presented a board resolution naming Jackson “faculty emeritus.”

Then Jackson found himself behind the podium again – it was possibly the last time his voice would reverberate in Hyde Chapel. Gratitude and answering the call to serve were the themes of his remarks to his Owl congregation.

“Thank you for allowing me to serve,” Jackson said, before a spirited standing ovation.