Constructed in 1889 at a cost of $35,000, Ventress Hall served first as the University library and then housed the School of Law from 1911 to 1929. It was used by the State Geological Survey from 1929 to 1963, and then was assigned to the Department of Geology. Thereafter, it was used as a classroom facility and, from the 1970s, for the Department of Art.
In 1993, the State Legislature appropriated approximately $1 million in capital improvement funds for the restoration of Ventress Hall. At that time, the building was designed to house the offices of the College of Liberal Arts. When the restoration was completed in March 1998, Ventress Hall became the home of the College of Liberal Arts.
In November 2011 water damage caused by broken steam pipes resulted in the temporary relocation of the College deans and staff during repairs of the walls, ceilings, and floors, construction of a new elevator shaft equipped with a new ADA compliant cab, and office addition on the second floor.
Read about the July 22, 2013 Return of Ventress Hall and College of Liberal Arts Moves Back to Ventress Hall.
During the earliest years of the Law School’s residency in Ventress Hall (1911 to 1929), student graffiti began to appear on the interior walls of the building’s lofty turret. An elderly Civil War veteran from Arkansas scrawled his name and military unit near the top of this tower after the turn of the century, and hundreds upon hundreds of students left their mark on the walls in the following decades.
While renovations of the building restored Ventress Hall to its original Victorian splendor, this area was left alone (and closed off), allowing the memories to live on.
TIFFANY STAINED GLASS WINDOW
The window located above the main staircase in Ventress Hall, a memorial to the University Greys sponsored by Delta Gamma sorority and the Alumni Association, was created by the Tiffany Glass Company in 1890 or 1891 for the contract price of $500.
THE COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS
The College of Liberal Arts is coterminous with the University of Mississippi in the sense that the institution’s original disciplines and those later deriving and evolving from them essentially comprise the College today. Over the years, the basic university departments had various appellations when referred to collectively—the “Department of Science, Literature, and the Arts” or the “Academic Department,” for example. Various “schools,” that is, academic disciplines, were housed within the department. Not until the early 20th century was that unit given distinct administrative identity in the form of a dean, the first being Dr. Alfred Hume, who later served as chancellor of the university. A professor of mathematics, Hume was designated dean of the Department of Science, Literature, and the Arts in 1905. He was still serving as dean when the name “College of Liberal Arts” was adopted in 1916.
DEANS OF THE COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS
Alfred Hume 1905-1920
Alfred W. Milden 1920-1936
Victor A. Coulter 1936-1957
Arthur B. Lewis 1957-1969
Maeburn B. Huneycutt 1969-1976
Gerald W. Walton 1976-1982
H. Dale Abadie (acting) 1982-1984
Dan Landis 1984-1985
H. Dale Abadie (acting) 1985-1986
H. Dale Abadie 1986-1998
Glenn Hopkins (acting) 1998-1999
Glenn Hopkins 1999-2014
Richard Forgette (acting) 2014-2015
Lee M. Cohen 2015
VENTRESS HALL VIDEOS
Take a virtual tour of Ventress Hall.
Ventress Renovation Completed, July 2013