The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies is located on the beautiful campus of The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The University is centrally located for easy access to scenic wonders such as the Gulf Coast, and places of historic interest such as New Orleans, Natchez, and Vicksburg. The state capital Jackson is also easily accessible from the campus.
In 2014 two major milestones were reached. The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies celebrated it's 35th anniversary. You may access the booklet outlining the past 35 years in the link below. In addition to our anniversary, Dr. Frances A. Karnes retired from The University of Southern Mississippi after 41 years of service. Dr. Karnes established the Center in 1979 and was honored by having it named after her in 1999. Dr. Pola Jakacki was named as the Interim Director of The Center.
In 2009, The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies celebrated another milestone, the 30th anniversary. A reception for the University of Southern Mississippi faculty and staff was held at the USM Museum of Art on March 30, 2009 to honor the event and the people who have helped in numerous ways to make the Center’s programs, conferences, and various other activities a success. Dr. Karnes was presented with a plague featuring one of her earliest gifted classes. On April 19, 2009, the Purple Parrot restaurant in Hattiesburg, MS sponsored a reception for those who have supported the Center over the years. Delicious food and lively conversations were present in abundance. Signature magazine preserved the event with photos in their magazine. On November 10, 2009, Dr. Karnes was honored by a reception at the home of Dr. Martha Saunders, President of The University of Southern Mississippi, the reception offerd exceptional food for the many guest who attended to show their continued support for the Center.
In 2004, The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Center for Gifted Studies was established in 1979 and provides services for children and youth in grades kindergarten through 12 and support for teachers at the undergraduate and graduate level. The center was renamed The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies in 1999 in honor of Dr. Frances A. Karnes, professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, and director of the Center for Gifted studies.
The 25th anniversary was celebrated with many activities and events. A wonderful reception for teachers of the gifted, administrators, and special education program developers was held on April 18. An appreciation reception focusing on faculty and staff, who have been very helpful to the Center, was held on April 28 at the Museum of Art on the University of Southern Mississippi Campus. On October 11 the Grand Casino Biloxi sponsored a dinner to help celebrate the 25th anniversary. A writing contest was held for students in kindergarten through 12th grade addressing the theme: What Gifted Education Means to Me. On December 2 the 25th anniversary dinner celebration was held at the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center, featuring Jason Dorsey, a nationally recognized motivational speaker.
Chronology of the Development of The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies
1973 Collaboration was conducted with legislators to have gifted education included in the definition of exceptional children in the state statute.
1974 The first statewide conference on gifted children was conducted with support from a grant awarded by the Mississippi Committee for the Humanities
The Mississippi Association for Gifted Children, formerly the Mississippi Association for Talented and Gifted, was founded as a statewide effort to support all children, especially those with outstanding abilities.
Graduate degree programs and teacher certification courses were established to provide leadership within the state and region.
1976 The first nonresidential program for high-ability seventh-graders began.
1978 The Summer Gifted Studies Program, the first statewide residential program for intellectually gifted students, was established.
1979 The Saturday Gifted Studies Program was initiated to serve intellectually gifted youth in kindergarten through grade 12.
1982 The Staff Development Program for teachers and other professionals offered twice annually was introduced.
The Leadership Studies Program, a summer residential program, was initiated for students in grades 6 through 11 to develop and/or enhance their leadership abilities.
1984 The Parenting Gifted Children Conference was initiated to assist parents and other adults in understanding the unique abilities of gifted students.
1986 The Duke Talent Awards Ceremony to honor seventh-grade students scoring as well as, or better than, college freshmen on the ACT or SAT was begun.
1987 Legislation to mandate gifted education in Mississippi was initiated. The Legislature passed the Gifted Education Act of 1989, to be fully funded in 1993. To date, full funding has not been provided.
1988 The Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth, a summer residential program, was established in conjunction with Duke University to serve students in grades 7 through10 with exceptionally high academic abilities.
1989 The Leadership Competitions for student in grades 7 through12 commenced.
1997 The Frances A. Karnes Endowed Scholarship was initiated to provide scholarship to graduate students in gifted education.
1998 The Christopher J. Karnes Gifted Education Memorial Fund was established to provide scholarships to assist students in attending summer residential programs and for undergraduate and graduate student scholarships in gifted education.
2000 The Friends for Gifted Education Fund was established.
The Friends for Gifted Education Newsletter was initiated.
2001 The Advisory Council for The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies was formed.
2002 The Frances A. Karnes Endowed Chair was established.
A federal grant was awarded to fund a study on the culturally diverse gifted - Expanding Appropriate Assessment and Differentiate Instruction for Culturally Diverse Students.
2003 A federal grant was awarded to fund a study on the disabled gifted - Appropriate Practices for Screening, Identifying, and Instructing the Gifted Disabled Youth.
An information video was created depicting all of the activities of the center.
2004 A federal grant was awarded to fund a study on early childhood giftedness - Appropriate Practices for Screening, Identifying, and Serving Potentially Gifted Preschoolers.
The Economic Impact Study of The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies was conducted. It was the first such study in the history of gifted education.
The Economic Impact Study of Public School Gifted Programs was conducted through The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies.
The Career Explorations for Girls Conference, an annual one-day program to introduce girls in grades 7 through 12 to different career opportunities, was initiated.
2005 A federal grant was awarded to fund a study on the gifted at-risk - Appropriate Practices for Screening, Identifying, and Serving Potentially Gifted At-Risk Youth.
2006 The physical location of the Center was moved from the Speech Reading and Special Education building to Owings McQuagge building in the College of Education and Psychology.
2008 A federal grant was awarded to implement Continuous Progress Curriculum in Reading in public schools.
2009 A federal grant was awarded to implement Continuous Progress Curriculum in Math in public schools.
2010 A federal grant was awarded to implement Continuous Progress Curriculum in Language Arts in public schools.
2011 Dr. Karnes is presented the Key to the City of Hattiesburg, MS for outstanding work in gifted education by Mayor Johnny DuPree.
2011 Dr. Karnes donates a collection of her books to the USM Library.
2012 Dr. Karnes is awarded the Woman of Distinction Award by the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi.
2014 The Center celebrates 35th Anniversary
2014 Dr. Frances Karnes retires from The University of Southern Mississippi - Dr. Pola Jakacki is named Interim Director of The Center
2014 Fall Saturday Gifted Studies Program is initiated on the Gulf Park Campus