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MSU Riley Center
Meridian, Mississippi

Thursday & Friday
March 31 & April 1

Meridian is loved by many, and its future is a major concern for all.
Join the Meridian Architectural Trust as we present the Crossroads Conference,
bringing subject matter experts in the field of historic preservation to share best practices with us.
Together, our community can create a map for securing our past while building our future.

Click below for Conference Opportunities!


In the order of their appearance

Executive Director of Historic Macon Foundation – Macon, Georgia

Realtor and Developer - Meridian – Meridian, Mississippi

Architect, Davis Purdy Architects, and  Treasurer, Meridian Architectural Trust – Meridian, Mississippi

Dean of Honors College of Purdue University – West Lafayette, Indiana

Executive Director of Mississippi Heritage Trust – Jackson, Mississippi

Historic Preservation Expert, Founding Principal of Hanbury Preservation Consulting – Raleigh, North Carolina

College of Architecture, Art, and Design at Mississippi State University – Starkville, Mississippi

Rasberry Financial Owner – Laurel, Mississippi

Director of Building Programs, Alembic Community Development – New Orleans, Louisiana

Executive Director, Preservation Dallas – Dallas, Texas

Community Development Specialist – Jackson, Mississippi

Director of College of Design and Professor at Mississippi State University – Starkville, Mississippi

HistoriCorps Director of Workforce Engagement and Communication – Denver, Colorado

College of  Art and Design at Mississippi State University – Starkville, Mississippi    

Ethiel Garlington
Executive Director of Historic Macon Foundation—Macon, Georgia
In his current position at Historic Macon Foundation, Ethiel Garlington has implemented numerous successful strategies in real estate development and neighborhood revitalization as part of the ongoing renaissance of Macon. In 2018, the Foundation under Garlington’s leadership was awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Trustees Award for Organizational Excellence. His previous posts include Director of Preservation Field Services at Knox Heritage and Director of the Athens Welcome Center.

Garlington is a graduate of Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC, and holds a master’s degree from the University of Georgia Historic Preservation program.

Jerome Kittrell
Realtor and Developer—Meridian, Mississippi
With a background in law and investment, Jerome Kittrell has been selling and developing commercial and residential real estate for the past 20 years. He is co-founder and the first president of The Community Foundation of East Mississippi; co-founder of downtown’s Dumont Plaza; past president of East Mississippi Realtors; and recipient of the East Mississippi Realtor of the Year award and the Mississippi Association of Realtors community service award. Kittrell is a graduate of Mississippi State University and University of Mississippi Law School.

Mark Davis
AIA Architect, Davis Purdy Architects; Treasurer, Meridian Architectural Trust—Meridian, Mississippi
After a four-year stint as an architect in Washington, DC, Mark Davis returned to Meridian to work on the Meridian Arts & Entertainment Experience; he then co-founded Davis Purdy Architects, PLLC with John Purdy. He is the owner of Revere Photography, a founding member and the president of the Arts & Community Events Society, a past member of the Meridian Council for the Arts, a past co-chair for Meridian’s Threefoot Festival, and currently serves as Treasurer of the Meridian Architectural Trust. Davis is a graduate of Mississippi State College of Architecture, Art and Design.

Dr. Rhonda Phillips
Dean of Honors College of Purdue University—West Layfette, Indiana
Rhonda Phillips joined Purdue in 2013, coming from Arizona State University where she served as an Associate Dean as well as professor and director of the School of Community Resources and Development. She also worked as a Senior Sustainability Scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability. A three-time Fulbright recipient, her accomplishments include being inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners and being awarded the 2012 International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies’ Distinguished Research Fellow.

She is author or editor of 24 academic books, including the textbook Introduction to Community Development. Phillips’ teaching and research experience broadly covers economic development and planning and community sustainability.

Phillips holds a PhD in city and regional planning and a master’s in economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as a master’s in economic development and a bachelor’s in geography from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Lolly Rash                        
Executive Director of Mississippi Heritage Trust—Jackson, Mississippi
After years of service as a volunteer, board member, and board president, Lolly Rash took the reigns of the Mississippi Historic Trust in 2013 as Executive Director. Rash has over 23 years of experience in historic preservation, which includes: Historical Administrator for the City of Biloxi; Program Manager for the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and Vice President of White House Properties. She has also served as a consultant for the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Main Street Association.

A recent graduate of the National Development Council/National Trust for Historic Preservation Real Estate Finance program, Rash is a past president of the Mississippi Heritage Trust Board of Trustees and a former fellow with the Knight Program in Community Building.

 Rash holds a master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a bachelor’s from Louisiana State University.

Mary Ruffin Hanbury
Historic Preservation Expert, Hanbury Preservation Consulting—Raleigh North Carolina
Mary Ruffin Hanbury is the founding principal of Hanbury Preservation Consulting, a firm established to help communities better protect and utilize resources. Prior to founding her own firm, she worked as Preservation Planning and Grants Supervisor for the North Carolina Historic Preservation Office; served as a program officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and worked as an architectural historian for the Tidewater Region of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. She has served on the Raleigh Historic Districts Commission and on the board of Preservation Action, a national preservation organization. Currently she serves on the board of the North Carolina State Capitol Foundation.

Hanbury holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning from the School of Architecture, University of Virginia.

Dr. Christopher S. Hunter
Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Mississippi State University—Starkville, Mississippi
Dr. Christopher Hunter was previously employed at Populous Architects (College Station, Texas) and HDR Architecture Inc. (Dallas) where he served as architect, manager, and/or designer on numerous municipal projects and educational and medical facility projects. He also worked for the City of Dallas in Housing and Neighborhood Planning. He has submitted and presented numerous peer-reviewed papers and articles on various architectural topics. Hunter’s particular area of research focuses on the design, construction, and preservation of early African American churches. Hunter holds both a doctorate and a master’s in architecture from Texas A&M, and a bachelor’s in architecture from the University of Cincinnati.

Jim Rasberry
Rasberry Financial Owner – Laurel, Mississippi
Jim followed his passion and founded Rasberry Financial in August of 2002 as a way to help individuals and businesses insure they have the right financial strategy in place. Currently he is helping others with financial planning and investment in stocks, funds, real estate and insurance. He is often featured on HGTV’s show “Home Town” where he deals with real estate and funding for the show’s projects.
Jim attended college at Jones Junior College and University of Southern Mississippi and currently resides in Laurel, Mississippi.

Michael Grote
Director of Building Programs, Alembic Community Development—New Orleans, Louisiana
Michael Grote has 21 years of experience in community development. He has been the Director of Building Programs at Alembic since 2008, where he has led the design and construction of numerous projects in both New Orleans and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast—including the implementation of over $50M in real estate developments for the New Orleans office. He previously worked for Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio. Grote’s experience includes property acquisition and project financing for the development of historic sites and apartment complexes and the repurposing of blighted areas into workspaces, stores, small businesses, and performance venues.

Grote holds degrees from Auburn University in building design and construction and in community planning. He holds a bachelor’s in architecture from the University of Houston.

David Preziosi
Executive Director Preservation—Dallas, Texas
At Preservation Dallas, David Preziosi oversees programs dedicated to the preservation of historic places in Dallas—which includes public relations, advocacy, and fundraising. He previously served as Executive Director of Mississippi Heritage Trust with a focus on statewide historic preservation, including the development of historic district design guidelines for communities. Preziosi also worked extensively on recovery efforts for historic structures damaged by hurricane Katrina.

Preziosi also worked as City Planner for the City of Natchez where he assisted in the preservation of numerous historic sites. His areas of expertise cover historic preservation and planning, advocacy, grant writing, award writing, and historic district design.

Preziosi holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Historic Preservation Planning, as well as a bachelor’s in Environmental Design and Architecture —both from Texas A&M.

Ellen Bourdeaux
Community Development Specialist—Jackson, Mississippi
As a Project Manager in asset development, Ellen Bordeaux’s current work focuses on community development. She previously worked as an editor at several Jackson-area publications. Bordeaux  holds a master’s degree from the University of Baltimore as well as a bachelor’s from Boston University.

Dr. Beth R. Miller
Director of College of Design and Professor at Mississippi State University—Starkville, Mississippi
Dr. Beth Miller is currently the Director of Interior Design at MSU, and previously served as Interim Associate Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design. Miller has personally restored five historic structures dating from 1830 to 1930, and worked as a designer on over 100 historic properties throughout Mississippi and Louisiana. Under her direction the Interior Design program at MSU has been the recipient of numerous national and regional awards.

Miller holds a PhD from MSU, a master’s in education from Mississippi University for Women, and a bachelor’s in Interior Design from Louisiana Tech University.

Liz Rice
HistoriCorps Director of Workforce Engagement and Communication—Denver, Colorado
At HistoriCorps, Liz Rice was instrumental in developing a youth workforce training program with the city of Denver. She also manages a national volunteer/youth program that helps to preserve over 50 historic sites annually. Much of her experience also involves project revenue development. Rice holds a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s from Indiana University in Nonprofit Management.

Glen Jeff Fulton 
Assistant Professor, College of Art and Design, Mississippi State University–––Starkville, Mississippi

Jeff Fulton is Assistant Professor of Interior Design and the Master of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation (MFAHP) at Mississippi State University. Fulton co-developed the MFAHP program in 2021 as part of MSU’s Interior Design Department. He currently sits on the executive board of the Columbus Preservation Society (Columbus, MS), and was previously the Executive Director of the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in Savannah, GA, where he oversaw the restoration of the museum, originally the 1819 William Scarbrough House. 

Fulton holds a master’s degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute (New York) and a bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture from MSU.


Be a part of planning the future of Meridian!

Attend the conference and learn from these nationally-known preservation experts.

Help shape the way our city thinks about its past and its future.

OPPORTUNITIES:       SPONSOR      |      EXHIBIT      |      ATTEND

Meridian Architectural Trust
For more information concerning the conference . . . . 615-516-6846 or

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