Mississippi’s First Alumnae Association

A Report on Homecoming 2009

If you are still a little confused by the existence of two alumnae/i associations, aren’t sure which one is the original historic association and which one was created by Dr. Limbert a couple of years ago, and are trying to decide which one you want to join, this Homecoming report should help you make up your mind.

Which One Are We? We are the association that has supported our alma mater for 120 years! We are the association on record as opposing changing the name of the W! We are the association that works to preserve the traditions and values and mission of the institution! And we are the association that reorganized and passed new by-laws last year to assure greater diversity, broader participation, and electronic access to voting.

Formerly known as The Mississippi University for Women Alumnae Association

Who Are We? Sometimes the best way to tell which is the right group to belong to is to see who some of the current members are, for the collective credibility of any organization is based on the sum of its parts. Our supporters include former Mississippi Supreme Court Justices Kay Cobb and Lenore Prather (who also has served as Interim President of the W); Court of Appeals Judge Mary Libby Payne, Parole Board Member Betty Lou Jones; Executive Director of Mississippi Nursing Association and former IHL Board member Ricki Garrett; Julie Hussey, Partner in DLA Piper, Kym Gore, Assistant to Florida Attorney General; Lydia Quarles, Senior Analyst at the Stennis Center for Public Service and hundreds of other accomplished women. In contrast, the president of the other association testified in court that they have “no members,” only their appointed or self selected Board.

We Are Pro-Actively Inclusive: When Dr. Limbert created the other association two years ago, she said she wanted a more inclusive association with greater diversity. So far that has not happened. In fact, while the other association proclaimed a commitment to inclusion, they have gone in the exact opposite direction. They listed their board meeting in the Homecoming schedule presumably so alums could take note and attend. That proved impossible as they actually shut the door and CLOSED their meeting, restricting entry and participation to members of the board.

MFAeA let the sunshine in and opened the board meeting to all alums. In addition to the officers and Board members present, the meeting room at Wesley was packed with members interested in knowing what issues the Board would discuss. All present were warmly welcomed and invited to ask questions – which were politely answered then and there in contrast to another of the other board’s meetings at which they allowed only 5 minutes – not per question – but for all questions combined and then answered none of them.

Our Members Elect Our Officers: If there is a defining characteristic of a democracy, it is the principle of representative government. Voters choose their leaders. The cornerstone of Robert’s Rules of Order is likewise based on the principle of majority rule. Consistent with these principles, MFAeA officers and board members are elected by the general membership. In an effort to expand opportunities to enable more members to participate, MFAeA initiated an electronic voting process for the election of this year’s officers…and more people than ever voted! Though the other association has had the same president since their inception, they have never held an election that allowed potential members to choose their own leaders!

We Honor Service and Achievement: One of the highest honors W alumni can achieve is the Alumnae/i Achievement Award. MFAeA this year presented four such awards and one Young Alumnae Achievement award. Friday a gala reception was held jointly to honor the winners and to CELEBRATE the W’s 125th birthday. The other association gave no achievement awards.

We Have Outstanding Leaders: It would be inappropriate to comment on the leadership ability of the president of the other association. However, MFAeA out-going President, Kym Golden Gore is by all standards an articulate and accomplished leader. She led MFAeA through a chaotic year in a calm and deliberative manner carefully maintaining a balance between taking strong and powerful stands while always searching for ways to bring resolution to the issues that divide us. Her combination of legal knowledge and common sense combined with her natural poise and civility served MFAeA well this year. We can look forward to continuing stellar leadership from our new President Anghaarad Teague, a Presbyterian minister who brings to the office considerable experience in leadership roles and a passionate love for the W. She will be followed by Lillian Harris Wade and Neely Woods Hunter.

We Give Freely of Ourselves and Our Resources: Our talent pool of professional, technical, and creative resources is priceless – literally. Thousands of hours of professional time in the form of financial and human resources have been donated to MFAeA. Many of the professionals who have donated their knowledge, experience, time and energy typically charge by the hour. Try to imagine how large the bill would have been if we had been charged for everything of value that has been given to us. Our legal fees have been donated pro bono from a powerful brain trust of lawyers. If you add to that the hours of public relations talent and research skills that have been given to us and the countless hours of work from Taylor- Pond Media, and the CPAs on our Finance Committees and all the other professional and personal gifts and services and you are well into the millions. We are a viable, productive organization because our volunteers keep on giving.

And Guess What? We Have Great Parties Too! The true highlight of Homecoming for MFAeA members and guests – alums and current students alike – was the combination reception for the Achievement Award winners and celebration of MUW’s 125th birthday at the elegant Lee Home on Friday night. Between 250 and 300 guests enjoyed Champagne and an array of scrumptious catered treats and gathered around an enormous birthday cake to sing Hail to Thee and Friends. The tone was both classy and celebratory. Admission to the gala was free, as costs were covered by individual and corporate sponsors.

Saturday night we partied again when MFAeA sponsored Karaoke Night at Zachary’s. Packed in elbow to elbow, the young-at-heart of all ages danced and laughed and sang – sometimes off key and sometimes brilliantly, but we had fun!


Now that MFAeA is a truly independent organization, receiving no financial or human resources from the university, we are counting on all alums to pitch in and help us help the institution we love…help us preserve her mission and traditions, help us save her name and help us provide support for projects that directly benefit the faculty and students at the W.


Membership application forms are available on our website at: www.msfirstalumnae.com
The first year of membership to new graduates is free!

Mississippi's First Alumnae Association, the original and historic alumnae organization, is not affiliated with Mississippi University for Women. The views expressed by this organization and its members do not represent the views of the University or its employees.
Copyright © 2009 Mississippi First Alumnae Association. All Rights Reserved.