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College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi

Grisham Legacy Fighting Poverty

Vaughn Grisham

Vaughn Grisham

Vaughn Grisham, professor emeritus of sociology and founding director of the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, taught 30,000+ students before retiring in 2016. Friends and colleagues have established the Vaughn and Sandy Grisham Scholarship and added his name to the institute.

The Grisham-McLean Institute partners with Mississippi communities to fight poverty through education, innovation, and entrepreneurship and is home to these signature initiatives:

  • M Partner: During the pilot phase of the M Partner initiative in Charleston, Lexington, and New Albany, 25 faculty and staff members engaged 400+ students in 35 courses and projects, 18 programs and special events, and 15 national service placements in the M Partner communities.
  • North Mississippi VISTA Project: The project fights poverty through education. The NMVP places 25 VISTA members to serve at partner organizations for a year of full-time service to build sustainable systems that connect UM to underserved communities throughout a 28-county area. These activities have generated more than $7 million in economic activity for the region.
  • Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development: CEED provides scholarships to students with an entrepreneurship and community development framework to support collaboration on business and economic development goals. Students develop entrepreneurial skills to complement their academic interests by making meaningful contributions to Mississippi communities.
  • North Mississippi Literacy Project: Bob Dorsey, a former UM professor of economics, and his wife, Carol, helped to establish the North Mississippi Literacy Project. The program trains pre-K through second-grade teachers in the Oxford and Lafayette County school districts in the multi-sensory structured language program, which is designed to teach all children—including students with learning differences—to read, write and spell, building a strong foundation for literacy.

Each year, the Institute provides opportunities to develop students into future leaders. These students join a network of hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and community partners.

MAKE A GIFT: Robert Patterson,, 662-915-6382


Give today to fight Poverty in Mississippi and honor Dr. Vaughn Grisham’s Legacy