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Millsaps College

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Millsaps College

Millsaps College
Motto Ad Excellentiam
Motto in English In pursuit of excellence
Established 1890
Type Private liberal arts college
Religious affiliation United Methodist Church
Endowment $80.3M[1]
President Rob Pearigen
Academic staff 97 full-time
Students 985
Undergraduates 910
Postgraduates 75
Location Jackson, Mississippi, United States
Campus Urban, 103 acres (417,000 m²)
Colors Purple & White         
Athletics NCAA Division IIISAA
Nickname Majors and Lady Majors
Mascot The Millsaps Major [2]
Affiliations IAMSCU
Annapolis Group

Millsaps College is a private liberal arts college located in Jackson, in the U.S. state of Mississippi. Founded in 1890 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Millsaps is home to 985 students. Millsaps College is one of 40 colleges featured in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives and is one of only 21 private colleges nationwide named a Best Buy in the 2013 Fiske Guide to Colleges.


The college was founded by a

Mausoleum on the campus of Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi, containing the graves of Major Reuben Webster Millsaps and his wife.
  • 1890: Major Reuben Webster Millsaps founds the college with a personal gift of $50,000.
  • 1901: Millsaps builds the first golf course in Mississippi.
  • 1902: Mary Letitia Holloman becomes the first female graduate of Millsaps.
  • 1908: Sing-Ung Zung of Soochow, China, becomes the first international student to graduate from Millsaps.
  • 1914: Old Main, one of the first buildings on campus, burns and is replaced by Murrah Hall.
  • 1916: Major Millsaps dies and is buried on campus.
  • 1931: The first night football game in Mississippi is played on the Millsaps campus between the Majors and Mississippi A&M (now Mississippi State University).
  • 1936: Millsaps College absorbs bankrupt Grenada College.
  • 1943: Johnny Carson attends Millsaps for V-12 naval officer training, entertaining his comrades with a magic and humor act.
  • 1944: Louis H. Wilson, born in Brandon, Mississippi and who graduated from the college in 1941, receives the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Guam during World War II. Wilson was also promoted to General and became the 26th Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1975. He was the first Marine Corps Commandant to serve full time on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • 1953: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis judge a Millsaps beauty contest.
  • 1965: Millsaps becomes the first all-white college in Mississippi to voluntarily desegregate.[3]
  • 1967: Robert Kennedy speaks at the college about obligations of young Americans to give back to their country.
  • 1975: Jimmy Carter speaks to Millsaps students about the crisis in the Middle East.
  • 1988: Millsaps initiates the first campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Mississippi.
  • 1989: Millsaps becomes the first school in Mississippi to have a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.


  • William Belton Murrah, 1890–1910
  • David Carlisle Hull, 1910–1912
  • Dr. Alexander Farrar Watkins, 1912–1923
  • Dr. David Martin Key, 1923–1938
  • Dr. Marion Lofton Smith, 1938–1952
  • Dr. Homer Ellis Finger, Jr., 1952–1964
  • Dr. Benjamin Barnes Graves, 1965–1970
  • Dr. Edward McDaniel Collins, Jr., 1970–1978
  • Dr. George Marion Harmon (1978–2000) - After 22 years of leading Millsaps College, Dr. Harmon announced his resignation in the Spring of 1999. His last day as president of Millsaps College was June 30, 2000.[4]
  • Dr. Frances Lucas (2000–2010) - Dr. Lucas was the first female to hold the post at Millsaps.[5] Dr. Lucas resigned on April 23, 2009.[6] Lucas cited disagreements with faculty as the reason for her resignation.[7]
  • Howard McMillan, Dean of Millsaps' Else School of Management took over as Interim President in August 2009.[8]
  • Dr. Robert Pearigen, Vice President of University Relations at The University of the South, was selected to serve as the eleventh president of the college. He began his term in office on July 1, 2010.[9]


Despite its religious affiliation, the curriculum is secular. The writing-intensive core curriculum requires each student to compile an acceptable portfolio of written work before completion of the sophomore year. Candidates for an undergraduate degree must also pass oral and written comprehensive exams in their major field of study. These exams last up to three hours, and may cover any required or elective course offered by the major department. Unacceptable performance on comprehensive exams will prevent a candidate from receiving a degree, even if all course work has been completed. "Comps" are usually associated with graduate degree requirements, so their inclusion at the undergraduate level is a source of pride (and possibly pressure) for Millsaps students.

Millsaps offers B.S., B.A., B.B.A., M.B.A. and MAcc degrees and corresponding programs.

The current undergraduate population is 910 students on a 103 acre (417,000 m²) campus near downtown Jackson, Mississippi. The student to faculty ratio is 1:9 with an average class size around 15 students. Millsaps offers 32 majors and 41 minors, including the option of a self-designed major, along with a multitude of study abroad and internship opportunities. Millsaps employs 97 full-time faculty members. Of those, 94 percent of tenure-track faculty hold a Ph.D. or the terminal degree in their field. The professors on the tenure track have the highest degree in their field. The college offers research partnerships for undergraduate students, and a variety of study abroad programs. Millsaps reports that 57% of their student body comes from outside Mississippi; a large portion of out-of-state students are from neighboring Louisiana. Millsaps is home to 910 undergraduate, 75 graduate students from 26 states and territories plus 23 countries. The college also offers a Continuing Education program and the Community Enrichment Series for adults in the Jackson area.


Millsaps College campus.

The Millsaps campus is close to downtown Jackson. It is bordered by Woodrow Wilson Avenue to the north, North State Street to the east, West Street to the west, and Marshall Street to the south.

The center of campus is dominated by "The Bowl," where many events occur, including Homecoming activities, concerts, the Multicultural Festival, and Commencement. Adjacent to the Bowl is the Campbell College Center, renovated in 2000, which contains the campus bookstore, post office, cafeteria, and Student Life offices. This central section of campus also holds the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex, Olin Science Hall, Sullivan-Harrell Hall, and the Millsaps-Wilson Library.

The north part of campus includes the Hall Activities Center (commonly called "the HAC"), the sports fields, and the freshman dormitories. On the far northwestern corner is James Observatory, the oldest building on campus. Operational since 1901, the observatory underwent major renovations in 1980. It is open for celestial gazing.

Upperclassmen dormitories are located on the south side of campus, with Fraternity Row and the Christian Center. Originally constructed as a memorial to students and graduates who died in service during World War II, the Christian Center houses an auditorium and the departments of Performing Arts, History and Religious Studies.

Between the Christian Center and Murrah Hall, which houses the Else School of Management, is the tomb of Major Millsaps and the "M" Bench, erected by the classes of 1926, 1927, and 1928. The Nicholson Garden was added to improve the aesthetics of this area.

Statistics (as of 2012)

Enrollment: 985
Average GPA (for incoming students): 87% have above a 3.0 cumulative in high school; 23% have a cumulative 4.0 in high school on a 4.0 scale
Middle 50% SAT composite scores: 1050–1260
Middle 50% ACT scores: 23–29
Student to Faculty Ratio: 9:1

Rankings and distinctions

Millsaps was ranked 90 out of 251 national liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News & World Report of America's Best Colleges Issue; top ranked liberal arts college in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama; also, named to the list of "High School Counselors' Picks" for 2011 and 2012.[10]

Millsaps College professors are ranked among the best in the nation, according to The Princeton Review's The Best 377 Colleges - 2013 Edition. The Millsaps faculty won praise in The Princeton Review's special Top 20 category: Professors Get High Marks, where Millsaps was ranked twelfth in the country.[11]

The Princeton Review also named the Else School of Management at Millsaps College one of the Best Business Schools in the Southeast in the 2011 edition of its book, The Best 300 Business Schools.[12]

Millsaps is one of 40 schools in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives.[13]

Millsaps is among 21 private universities and colleges nationwide named a "best buy" in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013. Millsaps is the only institution in Mississippi to earn the "best buy" honor from the annual guide. The guide names Millsaps as "the strongest liberal arts college in the deep, Deep South and by far the most progressive" and notes that what differentiates the school is "its focus on scholarly inquiry, spiritual growth, and community service, along with its Heritage Program, an interdisciplinary approach to world culture."

Millsaps leads the list of 13 United Methodist–related colleges named among the top 100 liberal arts colleges by the 2012 Washington Monthly College Guide.[14]


The school's sports teams are known as the Majors, and their colors are purple and white. They participate in the NCAA's Division III and the Southern Athletic Association.

Men's sports include: baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and track and field. Women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance team, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.

The Majors had a fierce football and basketball rivalry with Mississippi College in nearby Clinton through the 1950s before competition was suspended after an infamous student brawl at a basketball game. Campus legend says the brawl was sparked by the alleged theft of the body of Millsaps founder Major Millsaps by Mississippi College students. The rivalry was considered by many as the best in Mississippi, featuring a prank by Mississippi College students who painted "TO HELL WITH MILLSAPS" (sic) on the Millsaps Observatory. The football rivalry resumed in 2000 as the "Backyard Brawl", with games at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. The rivalry took a one-year hiatus in 2005 but resumed in 2006.

Millsaps was the summer training camp home for the NFL's New Orleans Saints in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Millsaps was also home to the famous game-ending play in the 2007 Trinity vs. Millsaps football game, in which Trinity University executed 15 laterals on the way to a touchdown, defeating Millsaps by a score of 28-24. The play later won the Pontiac Game-Changing Performance of the Year award, which had never before been bestowed upon a play outside of the NCAA's Bowl Subdivision.

In 2008, Millsaps quarterback Juan Joseph was awarded the Conerly Trophy, which goes to the best football player in the state of Mississippi.

Greek organizations

The school is home to five different fraternities: Kappa Alpha Order, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Pi Kappa Alpha, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Kappa Sigma; as well as four sororities: Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Delta, Phi Mu, and Chi Omega.

Navy V-12 program

Nearly 53 years after founding the college, Millsaps was chosen as one of 131 sites for the training of Navy and Marineofficers.

In April 1943, 380 students arrived for the Navy V-12 program. It offered engineering, pre-medical and pre-dental. Thereafter Millsaps began accepting students year-round for the program. A total of 873 officer candidates went through Millsaps between 1943 and 1945.

Traces of the Navy V-12 unit appear in the Bobashela (school yearbook) in 1944. That year, the Bobashela staff decided to dedicate the yearbook to the unit and Dr. Sanders, one of the unit's advisers. One section memorialized students who had been killed in action.

Notable faculty and alumni

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2010. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2010 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY 2009 to FY 2010" (PDF). 2010 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved November 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Millsaps College Profile | Millsaps College". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  3. ^ Millsaps College. "Millsaps timeline". Retrieved 2006-08-28. 
  4. ^ The Magnolia Gazette: Southern ties launch a new era for Millsaps
  5. ^ The Clarion-Ledger: Millsaps installs 1st female leader
  6. ^ Jackson Free Press: Millsaps President Announces Resignation
  7. ^ Mississippi Business Journal: Lucas leaving Millsaps
  8. ^ The Clarion-Ledger: Millsaps dean selected to take on presidential duties during search
  9. ^ Robert Pearigen
  10. ^ "Millsaps College | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  11. ^ "College Rankings". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  12. ^ "Business School Rankings". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  13. ^ "Colleges That Change Lives | Changing Lives. One Student at a Time". Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  14. ^ "Liberal Arts College Rankings 2012". Washington Monthly. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  15. ^ John H. Lang, History of Harrison County, Mississippi Dixie Press, 1935, p. 135
  16. ^ "Longtime Legislator Barnett Dies at 86, July 29, 2013". Jackson Free Press. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Rubel Phillips Obituary: View Rubel Phillips's Obituary by Clarion Ledger". Retrieved 2011-12-19. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Official Athletics website
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