President's Letter

Dear W Alums,

I am so fortunate to live here in Columbus and to have The W as a part of my daily life. The campus is beautiful this time of year, and I love to stroll around the grounds and pick a good spot to read a book – perhaps one by a Welty Symposium author. If you love good literature and find that you can’t get back to the campus in the spring, think about returning for a visit in October. You will fall in love with this remarkable place all over again. The light this time of year is more golden, the leaves on the Gingko tree have turned to gold, and the next class of Golden Girls is beginning to plan their much-anticipated return to campus at Homecoming in April.

There is much good news to share, the best of which is the increase in enrollment – up 5 percent! Interim President Allegra Brigham ’69 has brought a refreshing wave of energy and enthusiasm to the campus. The Nursing School continues to garner honors and recognition from its peers. A new online program has been established. Much positive attention comes to The W through the Welty Writers’ Symposium, the Tennessee Williams Lectures, and outstanding fine arts exhibits and performing arts programs. Our faculty and students in all areas of study are regularly recognized for their outstanding achievements. Several leading publications rank The W as one of the best colleges in its category.

With all the good news we have to celebrate, we also have many challenges. I know you are all aware of the difficult economic situation facing The W and the State of Mississippi. By fiscal year 2012, The W will be facing a 25 percent reduction in its allocation of budget funds from the State. We will not be able to survive such a drastic cut. We must come to the aid of our alma mater now. We have an opportunity, as a dynamic alumnae association, to excel in support of The W.

One of the most basic rules of fundraising is that in order to convince others to give generously, those who benefit most must be willing to step up first with their support. It is very important that alums demonstrate to the IHL and to the legislature how important MUW is to us. If we do not support her, who else will? For more information on the $2 Million Fundraising Campaign and how you can help your alma mater, contact Andrea Holcombe at

At Homecoming this past spring, I challenged each of you to:

  • Think about what The W has meant to you, and make it possible for the next generation of young women and men to have that same advantage.
  • Give back to your alma mater ... your time, your talent, your money. Every gift, regardless of size, is important.
  • Seek out those outstanding students who will thrive and grow at The W, and do whatever you can to get them here. Contact Cassie Derden at for information.
  • Continue to tell the good news about The W at every opportunity.
  • Express your gratitude to everyone who helps make The W the jewel that it is ... the faculty, the students, the staff, and the legislators.
  • Encourage inactive alums to join our association, and sponsor a membership if possible.

At our recent Fall Board Meeting, we voted to continue our recognition and support of faculty through the New Faculty Award and the Faculty Enhancement Grants. We also voted to continue awarding our Legacy Scholarship. Your generous support of these worthy causes is greatly appreciated.

Join me as we seek new opportunities to serve, and never, ever, step out of the Long Blue Line! Remember, you have the distinction of being alums of the first publicly supported institution of higher learning for women in the nation! Wear this distinction with pride!

W love to all of you,

Lillian Wade
MFAeA President