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Bonnie Brown: Q&A with Dr. Carter Haines

The latest interview in the Ole Miss Retirees features Dr. Carter Haines. The organization’s mission is to enable the university’s faculty and staff retirees to maintain and promote a close association with the university. It is the goal of the Ole Miss Faculty/Staff Retirees Association to maintain communication by providing opportunities to attend and participate in events and presentations.

Dr. Carter Haines has had a noteworthy career, and knew at an early age that pharmacy was his career path. He is well respected by his students and his colleagues and is very family-oriented, with deep roots in Mississippi.  

Brown: I know you are from Iuka. Tell us about your childhood growing up there.  

Haines: Correct. I was born in Iuka and completed first through twelfth grades at the same campus. Both sets of grandparents lived in Iuka, so I was very close to them. Family was very important, and I visited with my grandmothers almost every day (my grandfathers died when I was 2 and 5 years old). My Grandfather Carter and Great-Grandfather Carter both were mayors of Iuka. We camped a lot as a family going to places like the Pickwick area of the Tennessee River, Ozarks, Smoky Mountains and even Florida. I attended the Iuka Methodist Church, which was a very important part of my life. I had great Sunday School teachers and was active in Methodist Youth Fellowship. I was in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. In Boy Scouts, I also received the God and Country Award and Order of the Arrow and Brotherhood. My friend, John and I rode our bikes all over Iuka. I remember one time when John drove off the road and into a ditch and messed up his bike. His father worked really hard repairing it and then painted the bike white with green pin stripes. John got on his “new” bike for the first time since the repairs and rode the bike down the driveway and into a tree scraping and bending the fender, so he was back to square one!

We spent a lot of time on the Tennessee River, boating and skiing. I learned to ski when I was 8, and on that same day my father was skiing with a cigar showing us he wouldn’t get the cigar wet! I attended two different week-long camps each summer for four or five years: Camp Lake Stephens (Church) and Camp Yocona (Boy Scouts). As part of Scouts, we went to Tishomingo State Park and Liddon Lake in Corinth for advanced swimming lessons and merit badges.

Brown:  What are some of the differences between present-day Iuka and the Iuka of your childhood?

Haines:  The school system is probably the most significant difference. There are three separate campuses now: Elementary, Middle, and High School. Another difference is all the fast-food restaurants. Iuka remains a great place to live and raise a family.  

Brown:  Please talk about your parents, siblings, and any crazy aunts and uncles.  

Haines: My Dad worked for the Post Office for 54 years. After serving in the Army in World War II, he went to work as a city carrier for a few years; then for the rest of his career, he was a rural letter carrier. My mother was a Medical Technologist in Cosby Hospital where I was born. Later, she was the Medical Technologist at Iuka Clinic until her retirement. 

I had a sister, Leslie, and a brother, Jim, both of whom are deceased. Leslie was six years younger than me, and Jim was ten years younger than me. We all graduated from Ole Miss. Leslie became a dental hygienist and Jim and I became pharmacists. Jim’s son, Jackson, graduated from Ole Miss School of Pharmacy in 2021. Jim’s daughter, Sarah Catherine, dearly loves Ole Miss, but graduated from Boston College, with a B.A. and master’s degree. 

Leslie, Jim, Mrs. Haines, Mr. Haines; front Carter and wife Jackie
Carter with nephew Jackson Haines

I loved both sets of my aunts and uncles. My aunt and uncle who lived in Iuka owned a drug store. My uncle, an Ole Miss Pharmacy School graduate, was the pharmacist, and my aunt ran the gift shop. Their son, also an Ole Miss Pharmacy School graduate, owns the store now, as well as drug stores in Burnsville and Tupelo. Their daughter also graduated from Ole Miss and then completed her Medical Records degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. My other aunt & uncle owned a cattle farm and building supply in nearby Cherokee, Alabama. They raised and showed award-winning Santa Gertrudis cattle. I loved to visit them both in Cherokee and at their cabin on the lake.

Carter and Jackie near Cherokee, Alabama

Brown: What’s the most important lesson you learned from your parents?  

Haines: My parents taught me to always put God first in everything I did. And to be true to myself.   

Brown: Where did you go to school?

Haines: Iuka from first through twelfth grade. I went to Mississippi State for three years, then Ole Miss School of Pharmacy for three years, completing my B.S. in Pharmacy. While working as a pharmacist at UMMC, I completed my PharmD from Ole Miss by taking courses part-time at UMMC. The part-time program took 4 years to complete. As a full-time student, it could be completed in 2 years post B.S. degree.

Brown: How did you respond when asked as a child what you wanted to be when you grew up?

Haines: Something in the medical field. In the ninth grade, I decided I wanted to be a pharmacist. 

Brown:  Talk about your high school experience. Did you play sports, join clubs?  What was your favorite/least favorite subject?

Haines: I was in the “high school” band for six years starting in the seventh grade. I also played in a rock & roll band for about a year. We played for a few dances and entered the talent contest at the Mid-South Fair in Memphis. I still remember the two songs we played at the fair: “House of the Rising Sun” and “In the Midnight Hour.”  Beta Club was fun since we went to Jackson for the state convention each year. My favorite subject was probably math.

Dating was fun in high school. I “went steady” with two wonderful young ladies. (Not at the same time! Ha!) and I remain good friends with many of my high school classmates and feel extremely lucky to have had so many awesome friends in high school.

Brown: What was your very first job, and what were your responsibilities and pay?  What did you learn from that experience?

Haines: My first job was in the local grocery store as a sacker and stock boy. I worked after school and on Saturdays. Starting pay was $5 for 12 hours. Got much better as minimum wage came into play. It was a great experience, as I learned a lot about responsibility and discipline. I also mowed four lawns. This was more into the “chore” category as I didn’t get paid, per se (home, both grandmothers and my great aunt and uncle’s). Uncle Joe had a big yard and Aunt Lucy brought me lemonade and I had lunch with them as it took most of the day.

Brown: Tell us about your college experience.  

Haines: After taking Freshman English at Northeast Community College during the summer after high school, I started Mississippi State in the fall and completed the pre-Pharmacy courses. I enjoyed attending football, baseball, and basketball games and concerts. I attended Ole Miss Pharmacy School and worked for Dr. Wade Waters in the Pharmacology Lab the second year of Pharmacy School. 

Brown: What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

Haines: Slow down a little and spend more time learning all I can about the ones I love. I often wish I could ask my parents and grandparents various questions, especially about relatives.

Brown: Who influenced you in your early life? Did you have a mentor who influenced your career choice?

Haines: My parents and my grandmothers greatly influenced my early life. My uncle who graduated from the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy and owned an independent drug store in Iuka greatly influenced my career choice and I consider him my mentor.

Brown: Talk about positions/jobs you held on your path to Ole Miss.

Haines: Each summer during my college years, I worked at the Tishomingo County Hospital in various departments: Radiology, Lab for two summers, and finally the Pharmacy. My first job as a pharmacist was at Northwest Mississippi Medical Center in Clarksdale. After a year, I transferred to UMMC in Jackson where I worked in the pharmacy in various positions for around 23 years (staff pharmacist, supervisor, assistant director, and briefly as interim director).

Brown: Tell us how/when your Ole Miss story began? Who hired you? Tell us about the interview process. How long did you work at Ole Miss?

Haines: My Ole Miss “story” began in 1996 when Dr. Joseph Byrd hired me to facilitate Problem-Based Learning (PBL). In 2000, Dr. Byrd hired me as the Director of Professional Experience Programs & Assistant Professor. The interview process was thorough. I retired in 2006 after around 30 years with the University of Mississippi, including time at UMMC.  

Brown: What were your responsibilities?

Haines: I set up the clinical rotations for the last-year pharmacy students and facilitated PBL (Problem-Based Learning). I planned the annual Preceptor Conference which included continuing education credits for our 150 plus preceptors. I conducted site visits to the drug stores and hospitals where the preceptors practiced pharmacy and trained our student pharmacists.

Brown: What commendations/awards did you receive while working for the University of Mississippi?

Haines: Some of my most meaningful honors were being President of MSHP (Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists), Mississippi Health-System Pharmacist of the Year, Distinguished Pharmacy Alumnus of the Year, Bruce Parks Award from the Epilepsy Foundation of Mississippi, and the Bowl of Hygeia Community Service Award.

Brown: What three words best describe you?

Haines: Caring, positive, happy

Brown: If you could wake up anywhere you wanted tomorrow, where would that be and why?

Haines: I think it would be in the Tetons. The Grand Teton National Park has one of the most beautiful mountain ranges I have ever seen. And Jenny Lake is so peaceful with the mountains in the background.

Jackie and Carter at Yellowstone

Brown: Describe your perfect weekend.  
Haines: Being with family, probably at the beach. No special activities, just enjoying the beach and having seafood for dinner.

Carter, wife Jackie, granddaughter Lynley, daughter Laura, son-in-law Joey Stiles

Brown: In your opinion, what attributes/traits predict success in life?

Haines: Caring for others, hard work, dependability.  

Brown: What chapters would you separate your autobiography into?

Haines: Early years, college, career, marriage, family, retirement 

Brown: How did you and your wife Jackie meet?

Haines: We met when I was working as a staff pharmacist at UMMC and Jackie was a pharmacy student working for the summer in the pharmacy. We started dating her last year of Pharmacy School and married after she graduated.

Brown: Tell us about your children and grandchildren.  

Haines: We have one daughter, Laura. She graduated from Ole Miss with a B.A. in Psychology and completed two master’s degrees from Mississippi State in Counseling and currently works in the Counseling Center at Ole Miss. We have one granddaughter, Lynley (5), who is very smart & sweet. She currently attends Willie Price Lab School on the Ole Miss campus.

Daughter Laura, Carter, wife Jackie

Brown: Do you have a favorite quote? What is it and why is it your favorite?

Haines: “Actions speak louder than words.” Words are easy, but what you portray in your everyday life is the real measure of a person.

Brown: What is something everyone should do at least once in their life?

Haines: Own and care for a pet, especially a dog.

Brown: What’s your favorite way to waste time?

Haines: Watching YouTube videos.

Brown: What is the most useful thing you own?  

Haines: My car.

Brown: It is said that we learn something every day. What is something new that you’ve learned recently.

Haines: I learned that sonograms aren’t 100 percent accurate. I knew this, but it especially hit home last month when my nephew and his wife found out in the delivery room that their new little “girl” was actually a boy!

Brown: What are the best and worst things about getting older?

Haines: Retirement is great! Health is a concern as one gets older.   

Brown: What has been your routine since retirement?  Do you have any hobbies?

Haines: Walking for 30 minutes every morning before breakfast, having lunch and dinner with Jackie, weekly Bible Study, working in the yard, church on Sunday. My hobbies include travel, photography, furniture refinishing, and coin collecting. I love to photograph the beautiful Ole Miss campus, especially the older buildings.

Brown: What life lesson(s) would you like to pass along?

Haines: Always be kind to others.  You never know what burdens they may be carrying.

Brown: Amidst some of the reflection and introspection that comes with this unique time in history, many find themselves thinking about the legacy that they will leave. A legacy means different things for different people. What do you want your legacy to be?

Haines: I would hope that my legacy would be that I tried to be kind to everyone. As I mentioned earlier, everyone has their own struggles and most of the time we don’t know what these struggles are. For my family, I would hope that I instilled the importance of responsibility and principle. And to always put God first. 

Bonnie Brown is a retired staff member of the University of Mississippi. She most recently served as Mentoring Coordinator for the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy. For questions or comments, email her at bbrown@olemiss.edu.

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