University of Mississippi
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University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi
University of Mississippi seal.svg
MottoPro scientia et sapientia (Latin)
Motto in English
For knowledge and wisdom
TypePublic flagship research university
Established1844; 178 years ago (1844)
Academic affiliations
ORAU
Sea-grant
Space-grant
Endowment$775 million (2021)
Budget$2.448 billion (2016)[1]
ChancellorGlenn Boyce
ProvostNoel E. Wilkin
Academic staff
871
Students18,668 (fall 2020)
Location,
U.S. (surrounded by the city of Oxford)

34°21?55?N 89°32?6?W / 34.36528°N 89.53500°W / 34.36528; -89.53500Coordinates: 34°21?55?N 89°32?6?W / 34.36528°N 89.53500°W / 34.36528; -89.53500
Campus3,804 acres (1,539 ha)
Colors    Cardinal red and Navy blue[2]
NicknameRebels
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I FBS - SEC
Websitewww.olemiss.edu
University of Mississippi logo.svg

The University of Mississippi, byname Ole Miss, is a public research university adjacent to Oxford, Mississippi. Including its medical center in Jackson. The University of Mississippi is the state's oldest public university, and is the second largest university by enrollment in Mississippi.[3]

The university was chartered by the Mississippi Legislature on February 24, 1844, and four years later admitted its first enrollment of 80 students. It operated as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War and narrowly avoided destruction by Ulysses S. Grant's forces. A race riot erupted on campus in 1962 during the civil rights movement when segregationists tried to prevent the enrollment of African American James Meredith. The university has since taken measures to improve its image. Ole Miss is closely associated with writer William Faulkner and owns and manages his former home Rowan Oak. In addition to Faulkner's home, two other sites on campus--Barnard Observatory and the Lyceum-The Circle Historic District--are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ole Miss is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities - Very high research activity". The university is one of 33 colleges and universities participating in the National Sea Grant Program and a participant in the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. Its research efforts include the National Center for Physics Acoustics and the Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research. Its federally contracted marijuana facility serves as the only Food and Drug Administration-approved source for cannabis research. The university also operates interdisciplinary institutes such as the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Its athletic teams compete as the Ole Miss Rebels in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Southeastern Conference, Division I.

The university's alumni include 27 Rhodes Scholars, 10 governors, 5 US senators, 1 head of state, and a Nobel Prize Laureate. Other alumni have received honors such as Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, and Pulitzer Prizes. Its medical center performed the first human lung transplant and animal-to-human heart transplant.

History

Founding and early history

Frederick A. P. Barnard, a spectacled and bearded man
The Lyceum in 1861
Frederick A. P. Barnard, the last antebellum chancellor, and the Lyceum in 1861

The Mississippi Legislature chartered the University of Mississippi on February 24, 1844.[4] Planners selected the university's isolated rural site in the town of Oxford as it was a "sylvan exile" that would foster academic studies.[5] In 1845, residents of Lafayette County donated land west of Oxford for the campus, and, the following year, architect William Nichols oversaw construction of the Lyceum, two dormitories, and faculty residences.[4] On November 6, 1848, the university--offering a classical curriculum--opened its doors to its first class of 80 students.[5][6] Mostly children of elite slaveholders, they were all white, and all but one were from Mississippi.[5][7] For 23 years, the university was Mississippi's only public institution of higher learning,[8] and for 110 years it was the state's only comprehensive university.[9] In 1854, the University of Mississippi School of Law was established, the fourth state-supported law school in the United States.[10]

Early president Frederick A. P. Barnard sought to increase the stature of the university, placing him in conflict with the more conservative board of trustees.[11] His hundred-page 1858 report to the trustees on his proposals resulted in little besides the university head's title being changed to "chancellor".[12] Barnard's northern background--he was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Yale--and Union sympathies resulted in heightened tensions: a student assaulted his slave and the state legislature investigated him.[11] Following the presidential election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, Mississippi became the second state to secede, with the articles of secession drafted by the university's mathematics professor Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar.[13] Students organized themselves into a military company called the "University Greys", which merged with the Confederate States Army.[14] Within a month of the Civil War's outbreak, only 5 students remained at the University of Mississippi, and, by fall 1861, the university closed. In its final action, the board of trustees awarded Barnard a doctorate of divinity.[14]

Within six months, Confederates converted the campus into a hospital. It was evacuated in November 1862 as General Ulysses S. Grant's Union forces approached. Although Kansan troops destroyed much of the medical equipment, a lone remaining professor persuaded Grant against burning the campus.[15][note 1] After three weeks, Grant and his forces left, and the campus returned to being a Confederate hospital. Throughout the war, over 700 wounded died and were buried on campus.[17]

Post-Civil War

A woman in collegiate garb
The University of Mississippi was the first college in the Southeast to hire a female faculty member: Sarah McGehee Isom in 1885.

The University of Mississippi reopened in October 1865.[17] To avoid rejecting veterans, the university lowered admission standards and decreased costs by eliminating tuition and allowing students to live off-campus and prepare their meals.[6] The university became coeducational in 1882;[18] however, women could not live on campus or attend the law school.[6] In 1885, the University of Mississippi became the first college in the Southeast to hire a female faculty member, Sarah McGehee Isom.[6][19] Nearly 100 years later, the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies was established in her honor.[6][19]

The university's byname "Ole Miss" dates to 1897, when it was the winning entry of a contest held to solicit suggestions for a yearbook title.[20] The term "Ole Miss" originated as a title domestic slaves used to distinguish the mistress of the plantation from the "young misses".[21] Fringe origin theories include that the nickname originated from a diminutive of "Old Mississippi",[22][23][24] or, less likely, the "Ole Miss" train that ran from Memphis to New Orleans.[20][25] Within two years, students and alumni were using "Ole Miss" to refer to the university.[26]

Between 1900 and 1930, the Mississippi Legislature introduced bills aiming to relocate, close, or merge Ole Miss with Mississippi State University. All such legislation failed.[27] During the 1930s, Mississippi Governor Theodore G. Bilbo was politically hostile towards the University of Mississippi, firing administrators and faculty and replacing them with his friends. Bilbo's actions,[28] known as the "Bilbo purge",[29] damaged Ole Miss to such a degree that it temporarily lost its accreditation. Consequently, in 1944 the Mississippi Constitution was amended to insulate the Board of Trustees from political pressure.[28] During World War II, Ole Miss was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that participated in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[30]

Integration

James Meredith accompanied by federal officials on either side before the columns of the Lyceum
James Meredith accompanied by federal officials on campus

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.[31] Eight years after the Brown decision, all attempts by African American applicants to integrate the University of Mississippi had failed.[32][33] Shortly after the 1961 inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, James Meredith--an African American who had served in the Air Force and completed coursework at Jackson State University--applied to Ole Miss.[34] After Meredith's admission was obstructed for months by Mississippi officials, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered his enrollment and the Department of Justice, under Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's orders, entered the case on Meredith's behalf.[32][35] On three occasions, Meredith was physically blocked from enrolling by governor Ross R. Barnett or Lieutenant Governor Paul B. Johnson Jr..[36][37]

After the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held both Barnett and Johnson, Jr. in contempt, with fines of more than $10,000 for each day they refused to enroll Meredith,[38] President John F. Kennedy dispatched 127 U.S. Marshals, 316 deputized U.S. Border Patrol agents, and 97 federalized Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel to escort Meredith to the campus on September 30, 1962.[39] With nightfall and the arrival of far-right former Major General Edwin Walker and outside agitators, a gathering of segregationist students before the Lyceum became a violent mob.[40][41][42] Segregationist rioters threw Molotov cocktails and bottles of acid and fired at federal marshals and reporters.[43][44] Two civilians were killed by gunfire during the riot, French journalist Paul Guihard and Oxford repairman Ray Gunter.[45][46] Eventually, 13,000 soldiers arrived in Oxford and quelled the riot.[47] One-third of the federal officers, 166 men, were injured, as were 40 federal soldiers and National Guardsmen.[46] The strength of all forces deployed, alerted, and committed in Oxford was over 30,000--the largest for a single disturbance in American history.[48]

After control was established by federal forces, Meredith enrolled and attended class on October 1.[49] By 1968, there were around 100 African American students,[50] and as of the 2019-2020 academic year, African Americans compose 12.5 percent of the student body.[51]

Recent history

A white house set among trees
The university owns Rowan Oak, former home of Nobel Prize-winning writer William Faulkner and a National Historic Landmark.[52]

In 1972, Ole Miss purchased Rowan Oak, the former home of Nobel Prize-winning writer William Faulkner.[53][54] The home is preserved as it was at the time of Faulkner's 1962 death. Faulkner worked as the university's postmaster in the early 1920s and wrote As I Lay Dying at the university powerhouse. His Nobel Prize medallion is displayed in the university library.[55] Fostering Faulkner's legacy, the university hosted the inaugural Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference in 1974. Six years later, in 1980, Willie Morris became the university's first writer in residence.[6]

In 2002, Ole Miss marked the 40th anniversary of integration with a yearlong series of events, including an oral history of the university, various symposiums, a memorial, and a reunion of federal marshals who had served at the campus.[56][57] In 2006, the 44th anniversary of integration, a statue of Meredith was dedicated on campus.[58] Two years later, in 2008, the site of the riots was designated as a National Historic Landmark.[59] Ole Miss also held a yearlong program to mark the 50th anniversary of integration in 2012.[60] The university hosted the first presidential debate of 2008, between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. It was the first presidential debate held in Mississippi.[61][62]

In 2003, Ole Miss retired its mascot, Colonel Reb, due to Confederate imagery.[63] Although a grass-roots movement to adopt Star Wars character Admiral Ackbar (of the Rebel Alliance) gained significant traction,[64][65] Rebel Black Bear--a reference to Faulkner's short story The Bear--was selected as the new mascot in 2010.[66][67] This mascot was replaced with another mascot, Tony the Landshark, in 2017.[67][68] In 2015, Ole Miss removed the Mississippi State Flag, which featured the Confederate battle emblem,[69] and in 2020, the university relocated a prominent Confederate monument.[70]

Campus

Oxford campus

Panoramic view of the courtyard behind the Lyceum
Panoramic view of the courtyard behind the Lyceum (1848)

Situated at an altitude of around 500 feet, the main campus of the University of Mississippi has expanded from 1 square mile of land to around 1,200 acres (1.875 square miles). The campus' buildings are largely designed in a Georgian architectural style; some of the newer buildings have a more contemporary architecture.[71]

Barnard Observatory
Barnard Observatory (1859) was designed to house the world's largest telescope.

The campus' center is "The Circle", which consists of eight academic buildings organized around an ovaloid common. The buildings include the Lyceum (1848), the "Y" Building (1853), and six later buildings constructed in a Neoclassical Revival style.[59] The Lyceum was the first building built on the Oxford campus and was expanded with two wings in 1903. The university claims that the Lyceum's bell is the oldest academic bell in the United States.[71] Near the Circle, The Grove--a 10-acre plot of land set aside by chancellor Robert Burwell Fulton c. 1893--hosts up to 100,000 tailgaters during home games.[72][73] Barnard Observatory, constructed under Chancellor Barnard in 1859, was designed to house the world's largest telescope. However, due to the Civil War's outbreak, the telescope was never delivered and was instead acquired by Northwestern University.[71][74] The observatory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[75][76] The first major building built after the Civil War was Ventress Hall, constructed in a Victorian Romanesque style in 1889.[71]

Architect Frank P. Gates designed 18 buildings on campus from 1929 to 1930, mostly in Georgian Revival architectural style, including (Old) University High School, Barr Hall, Bondurant Hall, Farley Hall (also known as Lamar Hall), Faulkner Hall, Hill Hall, Howry Hall, Isom Hall, Longstreet Hall, Martindale Hall, Vardaman Hall, the Cafeteria/Union Building, and the Wesley Knight Field House.[77][78] During the 1930s, there were dozens of building projects at Ole Miss largely funded by the Public Works Administration and other federal entities.[79] Among the notable buildings built in this period is the dual-domed Kennon Observatory (1939).[80] Two large modern buildings--the Ole Miss Union (1976) and Lamar Hall (1977)--sparked controversy by diverging from the university's traditional architecture.[81] In 1998, the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation donated $20 million to establish the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.[82] It was the first building on campus dedicated solely to the performing arts.[83] Ole Miss is currently constructing a 202,000 square foot STEM facility, the largest single construction project in the campus' history.[84]

The university owns and operates the University of Mississippi Museum, which comprises collections of American fine art, Classical antiquities, and Southern folk art, as well as historic properties in Oxford.[85] Ole Miss also owns the Oxford-University Airport, located north of the main campus.[71]

Satellite campuses

In 1903, the University of Mississippi School of Medicine was established on the Oxford campus. It only offered two years of medical courses, and students had to attend an out of state medical school to complete their degree.[86] Medical education remained in this form until 1955 when the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) was established on a 164-acre site in Jackson, Mississippi, and the School of Medicine was relocated there.[87] With the relocation of the Nursing School establishment of the nursing school in 1956 and the establishment of other health-related schools, the UMMC now offers medical and graduate degrees.[86] In addition to the medical center, there are satellite campuses in Booneville,[88] DeSoto,[89] Grenada,[90] Rankin,[91] and Tupelo.[92]

Administration and organization

Table featuring schools of the University of Mississippi
School
Founded
Ref.
College of Liberal Arts
1848
[93]
School of Law
1854
[10]
School of Engineering
1900
[94]
School of Education
1903
[95]
School of Medicine
1903
[86]
School of Pharmacy
1908
[96]
School of Business Administration
1917
[97]
School of Journalism and New Media
1947
[98]
School of Nursing
1948
[99]
School of Health Related Professions
1971
[100]
School of Dentistry
1975
[101]
Patterson School of Accountancy
1979
[102]
School of Applied Sciences
2001
[103]
Graduate School
Unknown
[104]
School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences
Unknown
[105]

Divisions of the university

The University of Mississippi consists of 15 schools.[106] The largest undergraduate school is the College of Liberal Arts.[93] Graduate schools include a law school, a school of business administration, an engineering school, and a medical school.[107]

Administration

Ole Miss' chief administrative officer is the chancellor,[108] a position held by Glenn Boyce since 2019.[109] The chancellor is supported by multiple vice chancellors who administer areas such as research and intercollegiate athletics. The provost oversees the university's academic affairs,[110] and each school, as well as general studies and the honors college, is overseen by a dean.[111] A faculty senate advises the administration.[112]

The Board of Trustees of the Mississippi State Institutions of Higher Learning is the constitutional governing body responsible for policy and financial oversight of Ole Miss and Mississippi's seven other public secondary institutions. It consists of 12 members, who serve staggered 9 year terms and represent the three Supreme Court Districts in the state. The Board appoints the Commissioner of Higher Education who administers its policies.[113]

Finances

As of April 2021, Ole Miss' endowment was $775 million.[114] The university's budget for fiscal year 2019 was over $540 million.[115] Less than 13% of operating revenues are funded by the state of Mississippi,[114] and the university relies heavily on private donations. Notably, the Ford Foundation has donated nearly $65 million to the Oxford campus and the UMMC.[116]

Academics and programs

The University of Mississippi is Mississippi's largest university by enrollment and is considered the state's flagship university.[117][118][119] The student-faculty ratio at Ole Miss is 19:1. 47.4 percent of its classes have fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors include: Integrated Marketing Communications, Elementary Education and Teaching; Marketing/Marketing Management, General; Accountancy, Finance, General; Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Administration, Other; Biology, Psychology and Criminal Justice; and Business Administration and Management, General.[120] To receive a bachelor's degree, students must have at least 120 semester hours with passing grades and a cumulative 2.0 GPA.[121]

Ole Miss also offers graduates degrees such as PhDs and master's of art, science, and fine arts.[122] Notably, the university maintains the Mississippi Teacher Corps, a free graduate program that educates teachers for critical-needs public schools.[123]

First awarded in 1905, Taylor Medals are presented to exceptional students nominated by the faculty. Named in honor of Marcus Elvis Taylor (Class of 1871), these medals are given to less than one percent of each class.[24]

Research

A series of shallow ponds arranged in a grid and surrounded by forest. There is a light snow on the ground.
Research ponds at the University of Mississippi Field Station

Ole Miss is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities - Very high research activity".[124][125] According to the National Science Foundation, Ole Miss spent $137 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 142nd in the nation.[126] It is one of the 33 colleges and universities participating in the National Sea Grant Program and a participant in the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program.[127] Since 1948, Ole Miss has been a member of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities.[128]

University of Mississippi Medical Center surgeons, led by James Hardy, performed the world's first human lung transplant, in 1963, and the world's first animal-to-human heart transplant, in 1964. The heart of a chimpanzee was used for the heart transplant because of Hardy's research on transplantation, consisting of primate studies during the previous nine years.[129][130]

Ole Miss established its Medicinal Plant Garden in 1965, which is used for drug research by the School of Pharmacy.[131] Since 1968, the school has operated the only legal marijuana farm and production facility in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse contracts to the university production of cannabis for use in approved research studies as well as for distribution to the seven surviving medical cannabis patients grandfathered into the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program.[132] The facility is the only source of marijuana that medical researchers can use to conduct Food and Drug Administration-approved tests.[133][134]

The National Center for Physics Acoustics (NCPA), established by Congress in 1986, is located on campus.[71][107][135] In addition to conducting research, the NCPA houses the Acoustical Society of America's archives.[135] Ole Miss also operates the University of Mississippi Field Station, which includes 223 research ponds and supports long-term ecological research,[136] and hosts the Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research and the Mississippi Law Research Institute.[107][137][138][139] In 2012, Ole Miss completed Insight Park, a research park that "welcomes companies commercializing University of Mississippi research".[140][141]

Special programs

Trent Lott Leadership Institute
Panoramic view of the Trent Lott Leadership Institute

Honors education, consisting of lectures by distinguished academics, was initiated at the University of Mississippi in 1953. In 1974, this program became the University Scholars Program, and, in 1983, the University Honors Program was created and honors core courses were offered.[142] In 1997, Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale and wife Sally donated $5.4 million to establish the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College (SMBHC).[143] The SMBHC provides a capstone project (a senior thesis) and endowed scholarships.[142]

In 1977, Ole Miss established its Center for the Study of Southern Culture with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Housed in the College of Liberal Arts, the center provides for interdisciplinary studies of Southern history and culture.[144] In 2000, the university established the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, named after alumnus and then US Senate majority leader Trent Lott. The institute was funded with large corporate donations from MCI Inc. and Lockheed Martin among others.[145] In addition to various leadership initiatives, the institute offers a BA degree in Public Policy Leadership.[146] The Center for Intelligence and Security Studies (CISS) delivers academic programming on intelligence analysis. In addition, the CISS engages in applied research and consortium building with government, private, and academic partners.[147] In 2012, the United States Director of National Intelligence designated CISS as an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (CAE). CISS is one of only 29 college programs in the United States with this distinction.[148] Other special programs include the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence--established jointly by Ole Miss and Toyota in 2008--and the Chinese Language Flagship Program (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Zh?ngwén Qíjiàn Xiàngmù).[149][150] The Croft Institute for International Studies, founded in 1998, provides the only international studies undergraduate program in Mississippi.[151]

The University of Mississippi is a member of the SEC Academic Consortium. Now renamed the SECU, the initiative was a collaborative endeavor designed to promote research, scholarship and achievement among the member universities in the Southeastern Conference.[152][153] In 2013, the university participated in the SEC Symposium on renewable energy in Atlanta, Georgia which was organized and led by the University of Georgia and the UGA Bioenergy Systems Research Institute.[154]

In 2021, actor Morgan Freeman and Professor Linda Keena donated $1 million to Ole Miss to create the Center for Evidence-Based Policing and Reform. The center will provide training law enforcement and seek to improve how law enforcement engages with the community.[155][156]

Rankings and accolades

In U.S. News & World Reports 2022 rankings, the University of Mississippi was tied for 148th among national universities and 67th among public universities.[157] In 2018, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the Professional MBA program at the School of Business Administration in the top 50 among American public universities,[158] and the online MBA program in the top 25.[159] As of 2018, all three degree programs at the Patterson School of Accountancy were among the top 10 accounting programs according to the Public Accounting Report.[160]

For the last 10 years, the Chronicle of Higher Education has named Ole Miss as one of the "Great Colleges to Work For". In the 2018 results, released in the Chronicles annual report on "The Academic Workplace", Ole Miss was among 84 institutions honored from the 253 colleges and universities surveyed.[161] In 2018, the Ole Miss campus was ranked the second safest in the SEC and one of the safest in the nation.[162]

As of 2019, the university has had 27 Rhodes Scholars.[163] Since 1998, it has 10 Goldwater Scholars, seven Truman Scholars, 18 Fulbright Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, three Udall Scholars, two Gates Cambridge Scholars, one Mitchell Scholar, 19 Boren Scholars, one Boren fellow and one German Chancellor Fellowship.[164]

People

Class of 1861
The class of 1861

Student body

As of the 2020-2021 academic year, the student body consisted of 15,546 undergraduates and 3,122 in graduate programs.[165] The undergraduate population is majority female, roughly 57 percent.[166][165] As of fall 2020, minorities composed 24.3 percent of the body.[167] The median family income of students is $116,600, and over half of students come from the top 20 percent. According to The New York Times, Ole Miss has the seventh highest share of students from the economic top one percent among selective public schools.[168] The median starting salary of a graduate is $47,700 according to US News.[169]

Although a majority--54 percent--of undergraduates are from Mississippi,[51] the student body is geographically diverse. As of fall 2020, Ole Miss undergraduates represented all 82 counties in Mississippi, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and 86 countries.[167] The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student success and satisfaction, is 85.7 percent.[167] In 2020, the student body included over 1,100 transfer students.[165]

Faculty

Robert Q. Marston, Director of the National Institutes of Health, served as medical school dean.

As of the 2020-2021 academic year, there were, excluding those of the UMMC, 1,092 professors, of whom 424 were tenured. At this time, there were 592 male and 500 female professors.[170]

With the early emphasis on classical studies, multiple notable classicists, including George Tucker Stainback, Wilson Gaines Richardson, and William Hailey Willis, have held positions teaching at the University of Mississippi.[171][172] Archeologist David Moore Robinson, credited with discovering the ancient city of Olynthus, also taught classics at the university.[173][174] Former Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove was a political science lecturer,[175] and Kyle Duncan was an assistant law professor prior to his appointment to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.[176][177] Landon Garland taught astronomy and philosophy prior to becoming the first president of Vanderbilt University.[178][179] Actor James Best, best known for The Dukes of Hazzard, was an artist-in-residence.[180] Additionally, Robert Q. Marston, Director of the National Institutes of Health, served as the dean of the medical school,[181][182] and Eugene W. Hilgard, considered the father of soil science, taught chemistry at Ole Miss.[183] Other notable scientific faculty include psychologist David H. Barlow and physicist Mack A. Breazeale.[184][185]

Noted alumni

In addition to Faulkner,[187] notable writers who attended the University of Mississippi include Florence Mars,[188] Patrick D. Smith,[189] Stark Young,[190] and bestseller John Grisham.[191] Notable journalist graduates include Boston Globe correspondent Curtis Wilkie and broadcast journalist Shepard Smith.[192][193] Alumni in film include Emmy Award-winning actor Gerald McRaney and Tate Taylor, director of The Help.[194][195] Musicians who studied at Ole Miss include Mose Allison and Grammy Award-winner Glen Ballard.[196][197] Athlete graduates include tennis player and 12-time Grand Slam Champion Mahesh Bhupathi,[198] New York Yankees catcher Jake Gibbs,[199] and Michael Oher, NFL offensive lineman and subject of The Blind Side.[200] Additionally, three Miss Americas and one Miss USA are among Ole Miss alumni.[201][202][203]

Ole Miss alumni include 5 US senators and 10 governors.[204] Current US senators Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Roger Wicker of Mississippi are alumni.[205][206]Other public servant graduates include Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr.,[207] US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus,[208][209] White House Press Secretary Larry Speakes,[210] and Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.[211] Notable academics include Pomona College president E. Wilson Lyon,[212] Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard professor Thomas K. McCraw,[213] and Mercer University president James Bruton Gambrell.[214] Notable physicians include Arthur Guyton,[215] American Medical Association head Edward Hill,[216] and Thomas F. Frist Sr., co-founder of Hospital Corporation of America.[217] Alumnus William Parsons served as Director of NASA's Stennis Space Center and later the Kennedy Space Center.[218]

Athletics

The University of Mississippi's athletic teams participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Southeastern Conference (SEC), Division I as the Ole Miss Rebels.[107][219] Varsity athletic teams at the University of Mississippi for women include basketball, cross country, golf, rifle, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Men's varsity teams are baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis, and track and field.[220]

Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning in 2003
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Former Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning and the university's Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

In 1893, professor Alexander Bondurant organized the school's football team.[221] As collegiate athletic teams began to receive names, a contest resulted in the name "Mississippi Flood" being selected in 1929. However, due to the lasting harm of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the name was changed to the "Rebels" in 1936.[222] The first prime time telecast of college football was of a 1969 Ole Miss game.[223] The team has won six SEC championships.[224] Major rivals include Louisiana State University and Mississippi State University, which Ole Miss respectively plays in the Magnolia Bowl and Egg Bowl.[225][226] Other rivals include Tulane and Vanderbilt.[227][228] Football alumni Archie and Eli Manning, both quarterbacks, are honored on campus with speed limits set to 18 and 10 MPH: their respective jersey numbers.[229]

Outside of football, Ole Miss Baseball has won 7 overall SEC championships and 3 SEC Tournaments.[230] The men's tennis team has won 5 overall SEC championships and has had one NCAA Singles Champion (Devin Britton).[231][232] Women's basketball has won one overall SEC championship.[233] Notable former players include Armintie Price, who holds the SEC record for steals in a game and was the third pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft,[234] and Jennifer Gillom, 1986 SEC Female Athlete of the Year and 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist.[235] Men's basketball has won two SEC Tournaments.[236] In 2021, Ole Miss women's golf won its first NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship.[237]

Student life

Are You Ready?
Hell Yeah! Damn Right!
Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty,
Who The Hell Are We? Hey!
Flim Flam, Bim Bam
Ole Miss By Damn!

-- The Hotty Toddy chant[238]

Traditions

A common greeting on campus is "Hotty Toddy!", also used in the school chant. The word has no explicit meaning, and its origin is unknown.[238] The chant was first published in 1926, but "Hotty Toddy" was spelled "Heighty Tighty". This early spelling has led some to suggest that it originated with Virginia Tech's regimental band, The Heighty Tighties.[238][239] Other proposed origins are "hoity-toity", meaning snobbish,[240][239] or the alcoholic drink hot toddy.[240]

On game days, the Grove, a 10-acre (4.0 ha) plot of trees, hosts an elaborate tailgating tradition,[73][241] with The New York Times noting, "Perhaps there isn't a word for the ritualized pregame revelry... 'Tailgating' certainly does not do it justice." The tradition dates back to 1991, when cars were banned from the Grove.[73] Prior to each game, over 2,000 red and blue barrels called "Dixie Cups" are placed throughout the Grove. This event is known as "Trash Can Friday". Each barrel marks a tailgating spot.[242] The spots are then claimed by tailgaters who erect a "tent city" of 2,500 shelters.[73][241] Many of the tents are extravagant--featuring chandeliers and fine china--and typically host meals of Southern cuisine.[241] The university maintains "Hotty Toddy Potties"--elaborate portable bathrooms on 18-wheeler platforms--to accommodate the crowds.[73]

Student organizations

The Ole Miss band in 1925
One of the earliest photographs of the Ole Miss band, "The Pride of the South" (1925)

The first sanctioned student organizations were two literary societies established in 1849, the Hermaean Society and the Phi Sigma Society. Weekly meetings, for which attendance was mandatory, were held in the Lyceum until 1853 and then in the chapel.[243] With the university's emphasis on rhetoric, public orations--organized by students on the first Monday of every month--were popular. Studies were sometimes canceled so students could attend speeches of visiting politicians such as Jefferson Davis and William L. Sharkey.[244]

In the 1890s, extracurricular and nonintellectual activities proliferated on campus, and interest in oratory and the now voluntary literary societies diminished.[245] Turn of the century student organizations included Cotillion Club, the elite Stag Club, and German Club among several others.[246] In the 1890s, the local YMCA began publishing a list of the organizations in the M-Book.[246] As of 2021, the handbook is still provided to students.[246][247]

The Associated Student Body (ASB), established in 1917,[248] is the Ole Miss student government organization. Students are elected to the ASB Senate in the spring semester, with leftover seats voted on in the fall by open-seat elections. Senators can represent Registered-Student Organizations such as the Greek councils and sports clubs, or they can run to represent their academic school.[249] The University of Mississippi's marching band, called The Pride of the South, performs in concert and at athletic events. Although formally organized in 1928,[250] the band existed prior to that date as a smaller organization led by a student director.[251] A Phi Beta Kappa chapter was established in 2001, the only such one at a public institution in Mississippi.[164]

Amenities

Starship Technologies robots on campus
Starship Technologies robots on campus. A traditional dorm can be seen in the foreground: larger modern dorms can be seen in the background.

Approximately 5,300 students live on campus in 13 residence halls, 2 residential colleges, and 2 apartment complexes.[252] Students are required to live on-campus during their first year.[107] Within residence halls, students designated as community assistants provide information and resolve issues.[253] In the early 20th century, the university provided cottages for married students.[246] In 1947, the Vet Village was constructed to room the surge in World War II veteran applicants.[254]

Ole Miss provides the Oxford University Transit, a shuttle system free for students, faculty, and staff.[255] In early 2020, Starship Technologies introduced an automated food delivery system on campus. Consisting of a fleet of 30 robots, it was the first such system among any SEC school.[256][257]

Two dining services on campus--Catering at UM and the Rebel Market--are the only Certified Green restaurants in the state of Mississippi.[258] In 2019, Ole Miss opened a 98,000 square-foot recreation center. It contains a gym, indoor climbing wall, basketball courts, and other services.[259]

Greek life

Greek life at the University of Mississippi comprises 32 organizations and around 7,000 affiliated students.[260] Greek societies are housed along Fraternity Row and Sorority Row, which were constructed with federal funds in the late 1930s.[261]

The first fraternity founded in the South was the Rainbow Fraternity, founded at Ole Miss in 1848.[262][263][note 2] Other early fraternities established at the university include Delta Kappa Epsilon (1850), Delta Kappa (1853), Delta Psi (1854), and Epsilon Alpha (1855).[243] By 1900, a majority of University of Mississippi students were members of a fraternity or sorority. Non-Greek students felt excluded on campus and tensions between the two escalated. The University Magazine denounced the Greek societies as "the most vicious institution that has grown up in any college".[264] In 1902, Lee Russell, a poor Ole Miss student allegedly rejected by the fraternities, appeared before the board of trustees to criticize the Greek societies.[265][note 3] In response, the board threatened to abolish Greek life if non-Greek students continued to be ostracized. In 1903, rumors spread that Greek and non-Greek students were preparing to "meet in combat".[266] Multiple state legislative investigations were held to address the issue.[267] All Greek life at Ole Miss was suspended from 1912 to 1926 due to statewide anti-fraternity legislation.[268][269]

As part of a larger crackdown on embarrassing fraternity incidents, Chancellor Gerald Turner ended the traditional Shrimp and Beer Festival in 1984.[270] In 1988, Phi Beta Sigma, a black fraternity, was preparing to move into a house on the all-white Fraternity Row when their house was burned by arsonists. An alumnus helped purchase another house, and Fraternity Row was integrated two months later.[271] In a 1989 incident, fraternity members dropped naked students painted with racist slurs at the historically black Rust College.[272] In 2014, three fraternity members placed a noose and Confederate symbol on the Meredith statue,[273][274] and in 2019, fraternity members posed in front of an Emmett Till historical marker with guns.[275]

Media

The first student publication at the University of Mississippi was The University Magazine, founded in 1856 and published by the literary societies.[276] The rivalry between Ole Miss and Mississippi State originated, not from football, but an 1895 condemnation by The University Magazine of a Mississippi State publication which had written that Ole Miss "lacked dignity".[277] The first student newspaper, The University Record, began publication in 1898. Both the Record and the Magazine suffered financially and were suspended in 1902.[24]

In 1907, the university's newspaper was revived by the YMCA and student athletic organization as the Varsity Voice.[24] In 1911, this newspaper was superseded by another student-published newspaper, The Daily Mississippian.[24][278] The paper is editorially independent and is the only daily college newspaper in the state. The paper is also published online as TheDMonline.com, with supplementary content.[278]

Established in 1980, NewsWatch is a student-produced, live newscast, and the only local newscast in Lafayette County.[279] Ole Miss has one of the only university-operated commercial FM radio stations in the United States, WUMS 92.1 Rebel Radio, which began broadcasting in 1989.[280]

Notes

  1. ^ Chancellor Barnard's friendship with General William Tecumseh Sherman may also have helped save the campus.[16]
  2. ^ The Rainbow Fraternity merged with Delta Tau Delta in 1886.[263]
  3. ^ Russell was elected Governor of Mississippi in 1919.[264]

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Works cited

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