College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

THE DM: First Department Dedicated to Alumnus

April 28, 2015 | by Lana Ferguson
Courtesy of The Daily Mississippian

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Chancellor Dan Jones and Martha Dowd Dalrymple, daughter of Arch Dalrymple III, unveils dedication plaque. | DM Photo by Logan Kirkland

The history department became the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History, the first on campus to be named after an individual, with a $5 million endowment in honor of a 1947 alumnus during a ceremony in front of the Lyceum yesterday.

Chancellor Dan Jones opened the ceremony by speaking of Arch Dalrymple III.

“Today we celebrate a distinguished alumnus who epitomized two phrases we hold in high regards: ‘lifelong learner’ and ‘servant leader,’” Jones said. “Arch Dalrymple was a very successful businessman and farmer. He invested an enormous amount of time and resources in his hometown and in the state of Mississippi.”

Dalrymple’s daughter, Martha Dowd Dalrymple, gave a $5 million gift to the history department five years after his death.

“One of his final wishes before his death in 2010 was an endowment for the Ole Miss history department,” Martha Dowd Dalrymple said. “Today, with the naming of the department in his honor, I have fulfilled his wish.”

Provost Morris Stocks introduced members in the audience that had close ties to Dalrymple. Many of Dalrymple’s family, close friends and others were in attendance.

Professor of History Emeritus David Sansing knew Dalrymple for about 50 years, and they became close friends during that time. He spoke highly of Dalrymple and recognized many of his accomplishments, including his endeavors as a businessman, farmer, public education activist and more.

“Arch Dalrymple III is, in the best and truest sense of the word, a southern gentleman,” Sansing said. “His roots ran deep, he was a member of the Society of Cincinnati and he loved history, but he was not bound by the past. He was a man of his time and a man ahead of his time.”

Sansing credits Dalrymple for helping save previous professor of history James Silver’s job. Silver would later publish a book entitled “Mississippi: The Closed Society.”

“Back in those days, in the 60s, there was a lot of anger in Mississippi and he was able to soothe some of that,” Sansing said. “I think by saving Silver’s job he enabled James Silver to live long enough to write that book, and Dalrymple in the process helped to change the course of history in Mississippi.”

Sansing said he believes Dalrymple’s influence was significant both in his local community and the state of Mississippi as a whole. “I think Mr. Dalrymple would be so pleased that his memorial is not in bricks and stones but are students and faculty, are research and teaching and learning, because Mr. Dalrymple knew it is what takes place inside these hallow halls that makes the difference.

Many spoke of Dalrymple’s great passion and love for history as well as the importance he believed it played in every student’s education.

“The study of history is crucial to liberal education,” said Rich Forgette, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “A great liberal arts university requires a great history department. The Arch Dalrymple III Endowment will have a lasting impact on liberal education at our university.”

Department chair and professor Joseph Ward spoke of his gratitude for Martha’s gift.

“The name of Arch Dalrymple III will be linked forever to the study of history at the University of Mississippi, and your benefaction will have a profoundly positive influence on the lives of students, faculty, researchers and staff far into the future,” Ward said.

Forgette emphasized the opportunities that the endowment will give the department and university.

“The Dalrymple endowment will transform an already strong history department and significantly increase opportunities for our students,” Forgette said. “We are thrilled by the prospects and feel very honored to have great alumnus like Arch Dalrymple.”