The University of Mississippi (also known as Ole Miss) is public, coeducational research university located near Oxford, Mississippi. Founded in 1848, the school is composed of the main campus, with three branch campuses located in Tupelo, Southaven, and Booneville. UM maintains a field station in Bay Springs as well as the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Additionally, it is a sea-grant institute, as well as a space-grant institute.
UM currently enrolls 14,307 students in nine academic divisions with a student-to-faculty ratio of 21:1. The chancellor of the University of Mississippi is currently Robert Khayat.
The degree-granting divisions located at the Main Campus include:
- School of Accountancy
- School of Applied Sciences
- School of Business Administration
- School of Education
- School of Engineering
- College of Liberal Arts
- Graduate School
- School of Law
- School of Pharmacy
The colleges in the University Medical Center in Jackson are:
- School of Dentistry
- School of Health Related Professions
- School of Nursing
- School of Medicine
The Lyceum, built in 1848, is the oldest building on campus. It housed most of the classrooms and faculy offices of the University. It was used as a hospital during the Civil War for both Union and Confederate soldiers. It was also the site of rioting during the desegregation crisis. Today, the building is used to house the administration of the school.
Classes were interrupted with the outbreak of the Civil War, when every student and most faculty from Ole Miss enlisted in the Confederate Army. They were nicknamed the University Greys, and by war's end they had suffered a 100% casualty rate.
The school was integrated in 1962 when 29-year-old James Meredith matriculated there. President John F. Kennedy called in 20,000 National Guardsman to protect Meredith. Two died and 300 were wounded in the resulting rioting. Today, approximately 13% of the student population is African-American.
- Ole Miss is among the top 30 public institutions with largest endowments per student.
- Ole Miss ranks 8th nationally for its production of Rhodes Scholars (24) and has also produced five Truman and seven Goldwater scholars since 1998.
- Ole Miss is ranked by the Carnegie Foundation as one of the top 100 Research Extensive institutions in the nation.
- The School of Pharmacy ranks 20th in the nation among schools of pharmacy for funding from the prestigious National Institutes of Health and 2nd among pharmacy schools for total federal funding.
- The University houses the largest blues music archive in the United States.
- The school grows the only US government endorsed cannabis. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (http://www.nida.nih.gov/) (NIDA) contracts to the University the production of cannabis for the use in the few approved research studies on the plant as well as for distribution to the eight surviving medical cannabis patients grandfathered into the Compassionate Use Program (established in 1975 and cancelled in February 1992).
- University of Mississippi Medical Center surgeons performed the world's first lung transplant in man and transplanted the heart of a chimpanzee - man's closest genetic relation - into the chest of a dying man.
- William Faulkner's estate, Rowan Oak, is owned by the University. The town surrounding the campus is said to have inspired Faulkner and his imaginary Yoknapatawpha County
Ole Miss' sports teams, nicknamed the Rebels, compete in the competetive twelve-member Southeastern Conference (West Division) of the NCAA's Division I. In 2003, the administration eliminated the Colonel Reb mascot in an attempt to rid the university of the negative connotations still associated with the university.
Ole Miss' athletic rivals are Louisiana State University (the Tigers) and instate rival Mississippi State University (the Bulldogs).
Difference between Ole Miss and the University of Mississippi
There is a valid distinction between The University and Ole Miss even though the separate threads are closely interwoven.
The University is buildings, trees, and people. Ole Miss is mood, emotion, and personality. One is physical, and the other is spiritual. One is tangible and the other intangible.
The University is respected, but Ole Miss is loved. The University gives a diploma and regretfully terminates tenure, but one never graduates from Ole Miss.
-Frank E. Everett, Jr., B.A.'32 LL.B.'34
Further reading regarding the desegregation of the University and the role that incident played in the US civil rights movement:
- An American Insurrection: The Battle of Oxford, Mississippi, 1962, William Doyle, Doubleday, 2001, hardcover, ISBN 0385499698