MFAeA Free Speech Zone

By Jimmie Meese Moomaw

Welcome to “The Free Speech Zone.” The freedom to speak without censorship is fundamental to American democracy -– and it's important to us, too! That's why we're sharing selected speeches and articles that we think W alums will be interested in reading.

"What qualifications and characteristics do you think the next President of MUW should possess?"

This important question was asked in a survey conducted by the officers and board of directors of Mississippi's First Alumnae Association. We wanted to know specifically what qualifications and characteristics alumni believe the next president of the W should possess. We received a tremendous response to the survey. The responses represent the opinions of a broad and diverse cross-section of alumnae whose ages ranged from the early 20s to the mid 70s, whose majors cover the spectrum of liberal arts degrees, and who live all across the country.

The responses clustered tightly around four primary areas of preference. Respondents said the W's next President should:

  1. Appreciate the W's distinguished history and respect and support the institution's rich traditions.
  2. Understand the relevance of the women's mission today and serve as an effective, pro-active proponent of our mission's value.
  3. Possess the academic credentials and experience worthy of a college president, the business acumen necessary to provide leadership in the areas of recruiting, fund raising, marketing, and public relations; and the communication and people skills needed to effectively represent the institution to diverse constituencies, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, the media, the community, the IHL Board and the Legislature.
  4. As personal attributes, the respondents repeatedly expressed a preference for an open-minded president who will listen; a personable, charismatic leader who will represent the W proudly and make the W proud.

In addition, respondents mentioned the desire to have:

  • A student-focused leader;
  • One who is tech savvy;
  • One who will work to increase campus diversity; and
  • One who cultivates positive relationships with alumnae.

The survey results will be shared with IHL Commissioner Dr. Hank Bounds and Chair of the MUW Search Committee Christie Pickering, who have solicited opinions and input on the qualities of a new president for the W.

Given that our historic association has served the institution continuously for more than 120 years, during good times and times of adversity; given that members of our association represent some of Mississippi's most distinguished leaders; and given the notable contributions our association and our members have made to the institution and the state, we look forward to the search, assessment and selection process for choosing a new President to lead MUW.

Our association is proud of the fact that an alumna was chosen as Interim President. We are committed to supporting Interim President Allegra Brigham in achieving her stated goals: increasing enrollment, increasing giving, and generating positive publicity about the institution until such time as a new President is chosen.

Jimmie Meese Moomaw, '58, is a member of the Mississippi's First Alumnae Association Board of Directors. She is a retired professor of Communication, writer and communication consultant living in Atlanta.