Chief Communications Officer
Tom Eppes was appointed chief communications officer in January 2012, following doctoral studies as a Park Fellow at the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill. He earned a master’s in strategic public relations from the George Washington University after the acquisition of his advertising and public relations firm, PriceMcNabb, by a leading New York agency. Before his 25-year agency career, Tom led communications for two international corporations headquartered in Atlanta. He began his career as a newspaper reporter in Mississippi and Florida and later served as public information officer for the Mississippi R&D Center and press secretary for two U.S. Senate campaigns. He earned a B.S. in journalism and political science from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Tom was elected to the national board and later elected national treasurer for the Public Relations Society of America. He also served as chair of the society’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards. His teams have won a variety of national and international awards, including the Silver Anvil, Bronze Anvil, Gold Quill, AdWeek Creative Team of the Year, a Cannes Lion, three Silver Clios and the prestigious One Show Pencil.
Director of Printing and Creative Services
A graduate of the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Technology, Hilarie Bain has 15 years’ experience in the graphic communication industry. She joined the university in 2000 and assumed her duties as associate director in 2005. She is a member of the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA), the only professional association dedicated exclusively to the specific needs of in-house professionals, who provide graphic design, copy, print, mail and distribution services to their organizations. She also is a member of the Association of College and University Printers (ACUP) and the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women.
Hilarie has led teams that have won many awards, including several IPMA Silver and Gold awards. Her responsibilities include, but are not limited to, overseeing production from concept to finished product.
Director of Public Relations
With more than 25 years of experience in military, corporate, political and nonprofit sector public relations, Danny N. Blanton returned to his alma mater in 2012 to direct Ole Miss Media and Public Relations.
Blanton’s objectives include providing strategic direction in crisis communications, internal communications, target audience analysis and message management. His career path literally spans the globe and encompasses a wide spectrum of both military and civilian work experiences. Most recently, he was NATO’s strategic communications adviser to the Afghan Ministry of Defense. Embedded in Afghanistan, he trained, advised and worked to develop and publish long-term strategic communications plans, event-specific public affairs goals and written Standard Operating Procedures and policies regarding communications efforts, media relations, community relations and humanitarian aid.
Associate Director of Public Relations
Jennifer Farish joined the University of Mississippi’s communications department in 2006 and worked for three years as the editor of the law school alumni magazine and a communications specialist before becoming the associate director of public relations. Prior to coming to the university, she spent five years as a newspaper reporter—first for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and then for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo, Miss. During her time as a reporter, she covered a range of beats including the military beat which resulted in the opportunity to embed for 30 days with Mississippi soldiers in Iraq. She graduated from Ole Miss in 2001 with a Bachelor of Art’s in English and Journalism.
Director of Ole Miss Photography
After majoring in banking and finance for two years at the University of South Alabama, Robert decided to change career paths and follow his passion for photography. Transferring to Ole Miss in 1981, he began photographing for the Ole Miss Public Relations office, The Daily Mississippian and stringing for the Associated Press while completing his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.
Shortly after graduating from Ole Miss, he returned to take the position of university photographer in 1984. He completed his master’s degree shortly thereafter.
During his career at Ole Miss, Robert has won numerous awards for his photography, including over 50 College Public Relations Association of Mississippi awards, more than 80 awards from the University Photographers’ Association of America, as well as a CASE Special Merit Award and several CASE Awards of Excellence.
Robert has been a member of the University Photographers’ Association of America for many years, serving the last 10 years on the board of directors, holding the office of vice president since 2010.