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Dr. James Whorton, Former Professor and Department Chairman, Dies

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 10:58am | By: David Tisdale

Dr. James Whorton

Dr. James E. Whorton, a former chairman and professor in The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Special Education (now Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education), died July 17 in Tyler, Texas. He was 73.

A native of Russellville, Ark., Whorton was a graduate of Morrilton (Ark.) High School. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arkansas State Teachers College (now University of Central Arkansas) and a doctorate from Colorado State College (now University of Northern Colorado). He was a member of the Southern Miss faculty from 1980 until his retirement in 2004. Prior to his tenure at USM, he taught at the University of Florida. 

Dr. Hollie Filce, associate professor and coordinator of special education programs for USM's Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education, remembers Whorton as “a great advisor and mentor” when she was an undergraduate at the University.

“He was always happy to have you come to his office and chat. I remember one day he told me that I would go on to graduate school and have his job,” Filce said. “When I returned to USM and I reminded him of this, he said he wasn't surprised; he was usually right. What a wonderful man.”

Memorials to Dr. Whorton may be made to the American Diabetes Association (; or to any organization supporting individuals with developmental disabilities.