Photos from the inaugural ceremony for Millsaps College's 11th president, Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, October 7, 2010
Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham extolled the virtues of the liberal arts in a global age during the inauguration of Millsaps College's eleventh president Dr. Robert W. Pearigen on Thursday, October 7, 2010.
The liberal arts offer a way of seeing, knowing and thinking about the affairs of the world and foster inquiry, critical thinking and love of ones neighbor, said Meacham, former editor of Newsweek and author of the three New York Times bestsellers American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship and American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.
"The role of the liberal arts in this global age cannot be overstated," he said.
Maurice Hall, chairman of the Millsaps Board of Trustees, summoned the inauguration to start. Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. provided greetings.
The inauguration celebrated the history of the College as speakers made reference to the College's legacy of academic excellence, its role in the civil rights movement and its roots with the United Methodist Conference.
United Methodist Bishop Hope Morgan Ward presented Pearigen with the Mississippi Conference Journal of 1890, which records the date of the official charter of the College. Maud DeLes Lancaster, president of the Alumni Association, presented a gavel made of wood from the original main building at Millsaps and first presented in 1917 by alumni to Dr. W.B. Murrah, first president of the College.
Dr. Julian Murchison, president of the Faculty Council, presented Pearigen with the Register of the College from 1895-1906, the earliest printed catalog of the College. Scott McNamee, president of the Staff Council, presented a copy of the Millsaps crest and seal.
Stephen Passman, president of the Student Body Association, presented the walking stick of Major Reuben Webster Millsaps.
The Rev. Rwth Ashton, Millsaps chaplain, held the Millsaps Family Bible, upon which Pearigen rested his left hand when Hall presided over his investiture.
Dr. Ed Collins, president of Millsaps from 1970-1978, and Else School of Management Dean Howard McMillan, assisted as Pearigen donned the medallion of office.
Pearigen spoke about how Millsaps prepares graduates for a life of learning, leadership, achievement and service. He encouraged students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends to join in writing the next chapter of the College's history.
Pearigen assumed the presidency of Millsaps on July 1. His appointment was announced in February after a national search for the College's new leader. Pearigen comes to Millsaps from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he served as a college administrator and professor for more than 20 years.
Pearigen is a 1976 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. He earned his master's and doctorate in political science from Duke University. His post-graduate study included constitutional law, judicial process and political theory.