Faculty and Staff
Dr. Andre P. Liebenberg is the holder of the Robertson Chair of Insurance at the University of Mississippi. He joined the Ole Miss faculty in 2006 and has led the RMI program since 2011. Dr. Liebenberg received a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and Master's and Undergraduate degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa. Before coming to the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D., he taught insurance for five years at Wits University while retained as a consultant to Hannover Re. Dr. Liebenberg currently teaches the introductory and capstone classes in the undergraduate RMI curriculum, leads the doctoral financial institutions seminar, and oversees the internship program. He is the recipient of the 2010 and 2013 College of Business Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. His research has been published in leading scholarly journals, has been awarded grants by the U.S. Department of Labor and other organizations, and has been recognized with multiple best-paper awards. He serves as associate editor of the Journal of Insurance Issues and Risks, is president of the Southern Risk and Insurance Association, and is an active member of the Risk Theory Society and the American Risk and Insurance Association. His wife, Dr. Ivonne Liebenberg, also serves on the Ole Miss finance faculty and teaches at the Tupelo campus.
Dr. Stephen Fier is the Liberto-King Assistant Professor of Finance at Ole Miss. He joined the faculty in the Fall of 2011 after receiving his PhD in Risk Management and Insurance from Florida State University. His research has been published in the Journal of Banking and Finance, the Journal of Risk and Insurance, the North American Actuarial Journal, the Journal of Insurance Issues, the Risk Management and Insurance Review, and the Journal of Insurance Regulation. Additionally, Dr. Fier has received best-paper awards from the Journal of Insurance Issues and the Journal of Insurance Regulation, and he was named the 2013 School of Business Administration Outstanding Researcher of the Year. Dr. Fier teaches commercial property risk management, commercial liability risk management, and insurance principles. He also serves as faculty advisor to the Ole Miss Risk Management and Insurance Society. Dr. Fier serves as a board member for the Southern Risk and Insurance Association and is a member of the American Risk and Insurance Association and the Western Risk and Insurance Association.
Mr. Van Hedges
Mr. Van Hedges joined the University of Mississippi faculty as an Adjunct Instructor in 2000. He is currently President of Southern Consulting, where he assists insurance agencies with evaluations, planning and mergers and acquisitions. A licensed insurance agent since 1972, Van served as President of the Southern Insurance Group (SIG) from 1988 until 2000. Under his leadership, the agency grew to become the third largest in Mississippi, with locations in six cities and a separate financial services division. In 1995, SIG was selected by the Mississippi Business Journal as one of the 40 Fastest Growing Businesses in the state. The agency was consistently recognized as one of the Leading Insurance Agencies in the United States by the IIAA and Reagan & Associates through their Best Practices Program. From 1985 to 1997, Van was responsible for the acquisition and consolidation of the thirteen agencies that, together with Fred Vann & Company, came to form SIG. In 1991, Van co-founded Associated Insurors of Mississippi (AIM), a state-wide marketing group or "cluster", which today consists of nine large agencies from across the state with combined annual premiums in excess of $200,000,000. He continued to serve on the board of AIM until 2009 and served as President of Magnolia Insurance Company, a Bermuda based captive insurer that the group formed in 1999.
In 1975, Van received a BBA from the University of Mississippi, where he was a University Scholar and selected to the Hall of Fame. He earned a Master of Insurance degree (MI) from Georgia State University in 1977. He is a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Certified Risk Manager (CRM), a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and an Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI). In 2011, Van joined the faculty of The National Alliance for Insurance Education where he teaches "Legal & Ethical Responsibilities" under the CIC curriculum.
Ms. Medora Justus
Mrs. Justus joined the department as an Adjunct Instructor in 2014 and teaches the introductory RMI and life insurance courses on the Oxford campus. Mrs. Justus started her career in 2003 in the financial services industry as a Regional Marketing Director at PLANCO, a Hartford Life Company. PLANCO is one of the nation's oldest, largest, and most respected wholesaling firms of financial products. At PLANCO, Mrs. Justus wholesaled the Hartford Director Variable Annuity products and the Hartford Mutual Fund family for the Brokerage division in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. In this role, Mrs. Justus worked with advisors to analyze asset allocation strategies to minimize risk and increase performance in client's investment portfolios. In 2007, Mrs. Justus transitioned to Lincoln Financial Distributors as the Regional Marketing Director for the Independent Planner division covering Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. In this capacity, she represented the American Funds variable annuity products and helped advisors create tax-efficient retirement income strategies for their clients. Mrs. Justus holds her Series 6, 7, 63, 66 and Life and Health Insurance licenses and graduated from the University of Mississippi with a BA in 1999 and earned an MBA in 2002. Mrs. Justus currently resides in Oxford, Mississippi with her husband Ben and son Charlie.
Dr. Larry Cox
Professor of Finance
Robertson Chair of Insurance Emeritus
Dr. Larry Cox held the Robertson Chair of Insurance at the University of Mississippi and served as the leader of the Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) program from 1995 to 2011. Dr. Cox is a past president of the Risk Theory Society, an international society of risk management and insurance researchers; a past president of the American Risk and Insurance Association, the leading North American professional society dedicated to education and research in risk management and insurance; and a past president of the Southern Risk and Insurance Association. His scholarly articles have appeared in The Journal of Risk and Insurance, Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Journal of Banking and Finance, Risk Management and Insurance Review, Journal of Insurance Regulation, and Financial Services Review. Dr. Cox received the Frist Service Award in 2011 and was named the RMI Society Distinguished Service Award winner in 2010.
Kathryn Shoalmire joined the Risk Management and Insurance Program in September, 2014. Ms. Shoalmire brings to the RMI program a diverse and interesting background. She grew up in Starkville, Mississippi and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Mississippi State in 1977. After graduation, she spent nine years working in the political arena for Mississippi Senators John Stennis and Thad Cochran followed by a stint in the Mississippi State Senate. She also served as the government liaison for the Institute for Technology Development. Kathy has called Oxford her home since 1986 when she moved here to attend the Ole Miss School of Law. She graduated in December, 1988 and has been a member of the Mississippi State Bar (inactive) since 1989. She used her legal background working in the field of automobile accident reconstruction with her husband, Roy T. Arnold. In 1999 Kathy joined the staff at Baptist Memorial Hospital – North MS as the childbirth educator and lactation consultant for 15 years. Kathy and Roy have have one son, Turner, a student at Ole Miss.