Mississippi University for Women
Mississippi University for Women (MUW or "The W") is a coeducational public university in Columbus, Mississippi. It was formerly the Industrial Institute and College for the Education of White Girls and later the Mississippi State College for Women. Men have been admitted to MUW since 1982 and now make up 19% of the student body.
|Mississippi State College for Women |
Industrial Institute and College for the Education of White Girls
Columbus Female Institute
|Motto||A Tradition of Excellence for Women and Men|
|Type||Public Space-Grant university|
|Endowment||$43.8 million (July 2017)|
|Provost||Dr. Scott Tollison|
|208 (Fall 2017)|
|201 (Fall 2017)|
|Students||2,789 (Fall 2017)|
|Colors||W (dark) blue and Welty (light) blue|
|USCAA and NCAA Division III|
|Mascot||Ody the Owl|
Upon its establishment in 1884, Mississippi University for Women became the first public women's college in the United States. Then formally titled the Industrial Institute and College for the Education of White Girls, the institution was created by an act of the Mississippi Legislature on March 12, 1884, for the dual purposes of providing a liberal arts education for women and preparing them for employment. The first session began October 22, 1885, with an enrollment of approximately 250 students on a campus formerly occupied by the Columbus Female Institute, a private college founded in 1847. Richard Jones was selected by the State Institutions of Higher Learning board of trustees as the university's first president.
The name of the institution changed to Mississippi State College for Women in 1920 to reflect an emphasis on collegiate, rather than vocational, education.
In 1966, three local women from Hunt High School became the first black undergraduates at MUW. They lived off campus, as the dormitories remained segregated until 1968. At the same time, three teachers from Hunt became the first graduate students at the school. The students were known collectively as The Fabulous Six.
In 1974 the name was changed to the Mississippi University for Women to reflect the expanded academic programs, including graduate studies. All other Mississippi state colleges were also designated universities at this time.
In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan that the nursing school's single-sex admissions policies were in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Following this decision, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning ordered the university to change its policies to allow the admission of qualified males into all university programs. In 1988, the Board of Trustees reaffirmed the mission of MUW as an institution providing quality academic programs for all qualified students, with emphasis on distinctive opportunities for women.
In 2009, President Dr. Claudia Limbert announced the possibility of changing the university's name to "Reneau University". The Mississippi State legislature did not approve the change.
As of 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked The W 11th as a best value among public Southern regional universities and tied at 20th among best public regional universities in the South. The W also appeared in U.S. News’ Best Colleges for Veterans in Southern regional universities at No. 40.
On February 1, 2019, Nora Roberts Miller, was inaugurated as the first alumna president of Mississippi University for Women. She was named the 15th president on September 15, 2018 by the State Institutions of Higher Learning board of trustees.
Notable MUW alumni include:
- Tina Renee Johns Benkiser, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, 2003–2009
- Dorothy Vredenburgh Bush, secretary of the Democratic National Committee (1944–1989) and the youngest person and first woman to be elected as an officer of either the Democratic or Republican party
- Helen Carloss, first woman to argue a case before all of the United States courts of appeals
- Kay Beevers Cobb, Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, retired
- Denise Dillard, award-winning playwright
- Chris Fryar, musician, drummer of Zac Brown Band
- Susan Golden, National Academy of Sciences member and Professor of Molecular Biology at University of California, San Diego
- Laverne Greene-Leech, one of three African-American students to desegregate Mississippi State College for Women (now MUW) in 1966
- Elizabeth Lee Hazen, co-discoverer of nystatin
- David A. Ivey, elected first male student body president of MUW, 1991-1992
- Valerie Jaudon, artist
- Evelyn McPhail, co-chair of Republican National Committee (1994–1997)
- Nora Miller, 15th President of the Mississippi University for Women
- Bridget Smith Pieschel, Director of MUW’s Center for Women’s Research and Public Policy, and author of Golden Days: Reminiscences of Alumnae, Mississippi State College for Women and Loyal Daughters: One Hundred Years at Mississippi University for Women, 1884-1984.
- Lenore Prather, first female Mississippi Supreme Court Justice
- Toni Seawright, first African-American Miss Mississippi (1987) and 4th runner-up to Miss America that same year
- Doris Taylor, scientist known for achievements in stem cell research
- Eudora Welty, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
- Elizabeth H. West, librarian, first woman to head the Texas State Library, first librarian of Texas Tech University, co-founder and first President of the Southwestern Library Association
- Blanche Colton Williams, author and first editor of the O. Henry Prize Stories
- "MUW 2017-18 Fact Book" (PDF). Mississippi University for Women Institutional Research and Assessment. February 15, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
- Pieschel, Bridget Smith. "The History of Mississippi University for Women". HistoryNow. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Barbara Turner Bankhead and Laverne Greene Leech". Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- "Desegregation 2016: 50th Anniversary of the Desegregation of The W". Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- "Pre-NCAA Statistical Leaders and AIAW Results" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 31 Oct 2012.
- "Dale Thorn, When a Trial Threatens to Merge Small Universities: The Role of Litigation Public Relations in a Federal Desegregation Case, Vol 22, No. 2 (February 1997), pp. 101-115". academic.research.microsoft.com. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014. Cite journal requires
- "MUW name change: Research sheds new light on Reneau's history". Cdispatch.com. July 11, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- "MUW installs first graduate as president". The Clarion Ledger.
- "Trustees name Nora Miller named 15th president of MUW". The Clarion Ledger.
- "CNN/AllPolitics.com - Election 2000 - The Democratic National Convention". Archived from the original on December 22, 2006.
- [dead link]
- "Kennedy Center: ACTF - National Student Playwriting Award Description and Winners".
- "Racial Desegregation - History - Those Who Dared - MUW". www.muw.edu. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
- "Hall of Fame Inventor Profile, Elizabeth Lee Hazen". Archived from the original on March 15, 2009.
- Golden Days: Reminiscences of Alumnae, Mississippi State College for Women - Mississippi University for Women. Southern Women's Institute, Bridget Smith Pieschel. Books.google.com. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- "Valerie Jaudon on artnet".
- "Politics Evelyn McPhail Dies at Age 68". The Washington Post. January 4, 1999. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- "Chief Justice Lenore Prather Supreme Court of Mississippi".