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Statement from Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, President of Millsaps College

by Millsaps College on January 31, 2017

Millsaps College is an impressive collection of individuals from Mississippi and around the world. Our strength as a community comes, in large part, from our diversity—our different socio-economic backgrounds, faiths, races, cultures, political viewpoints, sexual orientations, and yes, nationalities. This diversity makes us a more interesting, tolerant, and dynamic place, and equips us all—students, faculty, and staff alike—with the sort of understanding needed to make a positive difference in the world. 

We pride ourselves on a curriculum that includes the intentional development of global perspectives. Faculty have created unique partnerships with colleagues and institutions around the world, students travel to learn in our nationally-recognized, faculty-led study abroad programs, and we’ve recently doubled our international student population. We are proud of the contributions that all students bring to our campus and reaffirm our support for a diverse and inclusive campus that mirrors, to the extent possible, the broader community of which we are all a part.

Many of you are understandably concerned about President Trump’s Executive Order that was issued on Friday, January 27. While we at Millsaps, like campuses across the country, continue to sort through the specific implications of this order, I want to remind you of the vision of Millsaps College:

“Building on its motto, Ad Excellentiam, its strong heritage of social justice, freedom of thought, and reflection on life's most important questions, and its central location in the capital city of Mississippi, Millsaps engages students in a transformative learning and leadership experience that results in personal and intellectual growth, commitment to good citizenship in our global society, and a desire to succeed and make a difference in every community they touch.”

Our “commitment to good citizenship in our global society” is revealed in moments like these by the way we teach, work, study, play, and live together.  It is my hope that our commitment will be made stronger by the challenges now before us and that we can agree to peaceful, heartfelt, and honest discussions about those challenges.

We have staff resources on campus to help with these discussions, and I encourage you to reach out to the following individuals with questions or concerns:

  • Dr. Brit Katz, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students
  • Demi Brown, Associate Dean of Intercultural Affairs and Community Life
  • Molly West, Director of International Student Admission and Services
  • Kay Mortimer, International Student Advisor
  • Ann Phelps, Interim Chaplain and Director of Student Religious Life
  • Kenneth Townsend, Executive Director of the Institute for Civic and Professional Engagement and Special Assistant to the President

Millsaps will continue to support all our students and will protect student and employee privacy to the fullest extent under the law. If you are approached for information concerning the immigration status of individuals, or any other such information, please know that you can refer the questioner to International Student Admission and Services or Human Resources.

Our institutional vision is rooted in a conviction that our differences make us stronger and should be a cause for celebration, not a source of concern or fear. I am deeply grateful for the diverse contributions that each of you brings to our campus family, and I reaffirm our collective commitment to a campus that honors justice and the dignity of all.