Historic initiative to strengthen the College of Liberal Arts for generations
As we look around our beautiful campus this fall, we see a university both the same and very different from the one we attended in the 1970s and 1980s. Students walk across the Grove with the same joy that we once did, but enrollment has almost tripled since we were here. And all University of Mississippi undergrads take classes in the College of Liberal Arts regardless of their major or school affiliation. This places a great responsibility upon the CLA to have enough classrooms and faculty to serve these students and to provide low faculty-to-student ratios. As we grow as a campus, this helps us remain “small”—a close-knit community that puts students at the center.
There’s also another big difference from our days as undergraduates—one we should all be extremely proud of. The University of Mississippi is now designated an R1 Doctoral University by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. This means that we are at the highest level of research activity of universities in the United States, and the faculty in the College of Liberal Arts contributes significantly toward this research.
We know you stand with us in your dedication to sustaining the continued excellence and growth of the College we all love so much. The foundation of our R1 designation rests upon the quality of our professors and graduate students. Bringing them to our campus is a competitive process. The package we offer them is key to their choosing the University of Mississippi instead of another university that also wants their talent.
For example, most of our faculty are on nine-month contracts and use the summer months, when they do not get paid, to work on projects that are central to their contributions to the fields. The CLA needs to build a fund that provides support for our faculty during the summer months. Our graduate students, too, could benefit from increased funding. For graduate students, a few thousand extra dollars added to their stipend may enable them to avoid having to find a summer job that’s solely for income and instead focus on their work to complete their theses or dissertations. Timely completion of their degrees also minimizes their debt.
Why is your help so critical? Fundraising supports our programs so that we remain competitive with other Public R1 Flagship Institutions. So how can you be a part of the Now and Ever Campaign? The University’s Development Office is always here to assist you and can discuss the myriad options available for giving.
We have each set up an endowment. We know that the word “endowment” sounds like you have to be a titan of industry or a gazillionaire to afford it. We are here to attest you do not! We have both done so and are just regular everyday people. There are many ways to make it happen.
You can be a significant supporter. We know you are as proud as we are to be University of Mississippi grads. Please help us be champions in the classroom as well as on the field by making a sustaining or supporting gift to the College of Liberal Arts.
Thank you—and Hotty Toddy!
Frances Permenter Smith and Sam Lane
Co-Chairmen, CLA Now and Ever Steering Committee