Millsaps College

Coordinates: 32°19′20″N 90°10′46″W / 32.32222°N 90.17944°W / 32.32222; -90.17944
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Millsaps College
MottoAd Excellentiam (Latin)
Motto in English
In pursuit of excellence
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Academic affiliations
Annapolis Group
Endowment$117.9 million[1]
PresidentRob Pearigen
Academic staff
97 full-time
Location, ,
United States

32°19′20″N 90°10′46″W / 32.32222°N 90.17944°W / 32.32222; -90.17944
CampusUrban, 103 acres (42 ha)
Colors   Purple and white
NicknameMajors and Lady Majors
Sporting affiliations
MascotThe Millsaps Major[3]

Millsaps College is a private liberal arts college in Jackson, Mississippi. It was founded in 1890 and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.


The college was founded in 1889–90 by a Confederate veteran, Major Reuben Webster Millsaps, who donated the land for the college and $50,000. William Belton Murrah was the college's first president, and Bishop Charles Betts Galloway of the Methodist Episcopal Church South organized the college's early fund-raising efforts. Both men were honored with halls named in their honor. Major Millsaps and his wife are interred in a tomb near the center of campus. The current United Methodist Church continues to affiliate with the college.

Navy V-12 program[edit]

Millsaps was chosen as one of 131 sites for the training of Navy and Marine officers in the V-12 Navy College Training Program. In April 1943, 380 students arrived for the Navy V-12 program offering engineering, pre-medical and pre-dental training. Thereafter Millsaps began accepting students year-round for the program. A total of 873 officer candidates went through Millsaps between 1943 and 1945.[4]

Civil rights era[edit]

Millsaps College students protested the shooting of Jackson State University student and civil rights worker Benjamin Brown, who was killed by police at a protest. The Mississippi Sovereignty Commission photographed the Millsaps protesters and identified them. The Sovereignty Commission spied on and conspired against civil rights activists and organized pressure and economic oppression of those who supported the civil rights movement in Mississippi.[citation needed]

Important dates in Millsaps history[edit]

Mausoleum on the campus of Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi, containing the graves of Major Reuben Webster Millsaps and his wife.
  • 1890: Major Reuben Webster Millsaps founds the college with a personal gift of $50,000.
  • 1901: Millsaps builds the first golf course in Mississippi.
  • 1902: Mary Letitia Holloman becomes the first female graduate of Millsaps.
  • 1908: Sing-Ung Zung of Suzhou, China, becomes the first international student to graduate from Millsaps.
  • 1914: Old Main, one of the first buildings on campus, burns and is replaced by Murrah Hall.
  • 1916: Major Millsaps dies and is interred on campus.
  • 1931: The first night football game in Mississippi is played on the Millsaps campus between the Majors and Mississippi A&M (now Mississippi State University).
  • 1936: Millsaps College absorbs bankrupt Grenada College during the Great Depression.
  • 1943: Johnny Carson attends Millsaps for V-12 naval officer training, entertaining his comrades with a magic and humor act.
  • 1944: Louis H. Wilson, who graduated from the college in 1941, received the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Guam during World War II. Wilson became a General and the 26th Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1975. He was the first Marine Corps Commandant to serve full-time on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • 1947-48: Ruth Chang of Shanghai, China becomes one of the first non-white students to attend Millsaps.[5]
  • 1953: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis judge a Millsaps beauty contest.
  • 1965: Millsaps becomes the first all-white college in Mississippi to voluntarily desegregate.[6]
  • 1967: Robert F. Kennedy during his presidential campaign speaks at the college about the obligations of young Americans to give back to their country.
  • 1975: Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter speaks to Millsaps students about the crisis in the Middle East.
  • 1988: Millsaps initiates the first campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Mississippi.
  • 1989: Millsaps becomes the first school in Mississippi to have a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.


  • William Belton Murrah, 1890–1910
  • David Carlisle Hull, 1910–1912
  • Alexander Farrar Watkins, 1912–1923
  • David Martin Key, 1923–1938
  • Marion Lofton Smith, 1938–1952
  • Homer Ellis Finger, Jr., 1952–1964
  • Benjamin Barnes Graves, 1965–1970
  • Edward McDaniel Collins, Jr., 1970–1978
  • George Marion Harmon (1978–2000) – After 22 years of leading Millsaps College, Harmon announced his resignation in the spring of 1999. His last day as president of Millsaps College was June 30, 2000.[7]
  • Frances Lucas (2000–2010) – Lucas was the first woman to hold the post at Millsaps.[8] Lucas resigned on April 23, 2009.[9] Lucas cited disagreements with faculty as the reason for her resignation.[10]
  • Howard McMillan, Dean of Millsaps' Else School of Management took over as Interim President in August 2009.[11]
  • Robert Pearigen, Vice President of University Relations at The University of the South, was selected to serve as the eleventh president of the college. He began his term in office on July 1, 2010.[12]
  • Frank Neville, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff at Georgia Institute of Technology, was selected to serve as the twelfth president of the college. He began his term in office on January 17, 2024.

Rankings and distinctions[edit]

Millsaps College professors were ranked among the best in the nation, according to The Princeton Review's The Best 377 Colleges – 2013 Edition. The Millsaps faculty won praise in The Princeton Review's special Top 20 category: Professors Get High Marks, where Millsaps was ranked twelfth in the country.[13]

Millsaps is one of 40 schools in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives.[14]


The school's sports teams are known as the Majors and their colors are purple and white. They participate in the NCAA Division III and the Southern Athletic Association.

Notable faculty and alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of 2016. "U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges and Universities". Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Millsaps College Profile | Millsaps College". Archived from the original on August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  4. ^ "V-12 Program". Millsaps College. 2006. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  5. ^ "The Bobashela 1948 (Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi)". Generations Network. 1948. p. 31. Retrieved May 4, 2024.
  6. ^ Millsaps College. "Millsaps timeline". Archived from the original on September 6, 2006. Retrieved August 28, 2006.
  7. ^ The Magnolia Gazette: Southern ties launch a new era for Millsaps Archived July 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ The Clarion-Ledger: Millsaps installs 1st female leader Archived September 5, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Jackson Free Press: Millsaps President Announces Resignation".
  10. ^ Mississippi Business Journal: Lucas leaving Millsaps [dead link]
  11. ^ "The Clarion-Ledger: Millsaps dean selected to take on presidential duties during search".
  12. ^ Robert Pearigen Archived May 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "College Rankings". Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  14. ^ "Colleges That Change Lives | Changing Lives. One Student at a Time". Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  15. ^ "Longtime Legislator Barnett Dies at 86, July 29, 2013". Jackson Free Press. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  16. ^ Jackson, MS: Winifred Green | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS, access-date: February 21, 2016
  17. ^ Thomas, Robert McG. Jr. (February 10, 1993). "William (Slew) Hester, 80, U.S. Tennis Executive". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  18. ^ "Rubel Phillips Obituary: View Rubel Phillips's Obituary by Clarion Ledger". Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  19. ^ Fall-Winter 2006 Millsaps Magazine (December 6, 2010), p. 53.

External links[edit]