William R. Gottshall, Executive Director
William R. Gottshall graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1968 with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree. While at Ole Miss, Gottshall was very involved on campus as a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity, Chairman of the School Spirit Association, as well as being elected Vice President and President of the Associated Student Body.
Upon graduation from the University of Mississippi, Gottshall served in the United States Army. His tour of duty included time spent as a Lieutenant at Special Weapons Command in Germany and later as a Captain at Hawk Missile Command in South Korea.
Gottshall returned to Oxford, Miss., in 1972 where he began working for the First National Bank as a bookkeeper. There he spent the next 12 years, becoming the bank’s Chief Executive Officer in 1984.
In 1998, after more than 25 years at the First National Bank, Gottshall resigned as Chief Executive Officer to become Chief of Staff for Mississippi Senator Trent Lott. He served as Senator Lott’s Chief of Staff for the next 8 years in Washington D.C. His time in Washington as the Chief of Staff for a United States Senator was, “a collective education in management, conflict resolution, people skills, and sensitivity training.”
In 2005 Gottshall was approved by the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning as the first Executive Director of the Trent Lott Leadership Institute at the University of Mississippi.
Gottshall and his wife, Donna, currently reside in Oxford, Miss. They have one son, Shea.
JoAnn Edwards, Special Projects Manager
JoAnn Miller Edwards received her M.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Mississippi in 1983. Edwards revived The University of Mississippi Forensics Program within the Trent Lott Leadership Institute in 2000. Since then, the team has garnered regional and national recognition, hosting the American Forensics Association National Tournament in 2003.
JoAnn is immediate past president of Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha, the national Forensics Honorary, and sits on the Board of Trustees for the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament.
Melissa Groover Jones, Assistant Director
Melissa Groover Jones received her M.B.A. with a specialization in Human Resources from the New York Institute of Technology in 2009. In 2013, Melissa received her J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law and is admitted to the Mississippi Bar. Melissa spent time in private practice as well as in the corporate arena as In-House Counsel. She joined the Trent Lott Leadership Institute in 2017. Melissa also teaches classes in legal research, writing and analysis as well as provides pro bono legal services for Chancery Clinics. To complete her educational career, Melissa is pursuing an Ed.D. in higher education.
Lott Leadership Institute
P.O. Box 1848
The University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677