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College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi

Mission & History of the College of Liberal Arts



Visit the College of Liberal Arts in Ventress Hall.

The College of Liberal Arts constitutes the intellectual core of the University of Mississippi while providing the general education component for all of its undergraduate degree programs. Spanning the academic disciplines of the fine arts, humanities and the social and natural sciences, the College offers curricula in liberal education and extends the boundaries of scholarship in those disciplines. In an academic quest to understand our place in the cosmos and to help shape society and the environment, the College strongly supports academic freedom and emphasizes critical and independent thinking, ethics, integrity, citizenship and a global awareness of diverse human cultures. The faculty pursue important research in these areas and foster graduate study, both vital to the university’s teaching mission and its academic growth, while participating actively in making its resources beneficial to the general public and shaping the life of the institution.

History of the College of Liberal Arts

Founded in 1848, the College of Liberal Arts is the oldest and largest division of the University of Mississippi.

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.


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–