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Institute Leadership

Amy Thaxton

Executive Director

Amy Bryant Thaxton serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Southern Storytelling at Mississippi College and works closely to coordinate the collaboration of founders (Robert St John and Anthony Thaxton) with the student/faculty participants of MC. Amy has served on documentary and television series crews in numerous capacities domestically and abroad. She functions as one of the producers of an upcoming major documentary on the life of beloved writer Eudora Welty. An MC alum (’97, ’23), Amy fosters a team spirit, helps wrangle the students and the schedule, and serves as the go-to person for facilitating the work of the Institute.

Anthony Thaxton

Co-founder, Filmmaker/Television Producer/Artist/Writer

Anthony Thaxton has won awards as a television director, painter, educator, photographer, writer, musician, and filmmaker (including a Southeast EMMY Award). He graduated with Honors from Mississippi College (where he was named the 2019 Distinguished Art Alumnus of the Year). He lovingly writes, produces, directs, and edits programming about the south.

Robert St. John

Co-founder, Writer/Restauranteur/Filmmaker/Producer

Robert St. John is a 40-year veteran of the restaurant industry. He owns the New South Restaurant Group, which operates seven popular restaurants in Hattiesburg and Ridgeland, MS. He’s a writer, producer, filmmaker, columnist, tour host, founder of several non-profits, and was a founding and inaugural board member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition. He has made numerous appearances on the Food Network and other major outlets as well as co-hosting five seasons of Palate to Palette on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Advisory Board

In addition to Institute Leadership, Advisory Board Members include:

William Ferris

Folklorist, Filmmaker, Author, Southern historian

Dr Blake Thompson

President of Mississippi College

John Evans

Owner, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson

John Anderson

Author/Realizations Store/Son of Walter Anderson

Mary Alice Welty White

Former Director, Eudora Welty House/Eudora Welty’s niece

Ben Buffington

President and CEO, Hi-Speed Industrial Service

Dusty Frierson

Southern Cultural Survival Specialist/RSJ Partner

Tara Lytal

President, Clinton Main Street Association/Daughter of Billy Lytal

Marijane Whitfield

Award-winning Educator and artist, Clinton, Mississippi

Dr. Bill West

Founder, West Cancer Center and Research Institute, Memphis, TN

Dr. Judy Gearhart

Daughter of Dr. Sam Gore

Tamica Smith Jeuitt

Executive Director, American Red Cross Southwest MS Chapter/Broadcast Journalist

Rob Jay

Assistant Athletic Director for Broadcasting and Video Services, Jackson State University

400 East College Street Clinton, MS 39056