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Donors Establish $100k Fund to Benefit Millsaps Forums

May 14, 2013


An anonymous donor couple has established a $100,000 endowment in honor of Elise and William Winter to benefit Millsaps College public forums. The Elise and William Winter Speaker Series honors the spirit and determination of Elise and William Winter in their decades-long fight for a better Mississippi. The endowment, held at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, will help ensure that Millsaps can continue and expand opportunities for students, Jackson citizens, community leaders, and others to discuss together matters of public significance.

Elise and William Winter
(Photo courtesy of Find It In Fondren)

The gift was made following a much-celebrated forum held at Millsaps in November, 2012, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the historic Mississippi Education Reform Act of 1982. Entitled "Celebrating Education Reform: Thirty Years Later," the Forum included former Governor William Winter; members of his staff known collectively as the "Boys of Spring," including Dick Molpus of Jackson, John Henegan of Jackson, David Crews of Oxford, and Andy Mullins of Oxford; and Charles Overby, The Clarion-Ledger editor whose work covering the Act resulted in a Pulitzer Prize for the newspaper.

In his introductory remarks to the standing room only crowd in the Robert and Dee Leggett Special Events Center on campus, Governor Winter noted, "What more appropriate place to gather for a discussion of education than Millsaps College? You have been an intellectual oasis in Mississippi for a long time - and have provided an inspiration to many of  us at times when the lights were flickering out there and we were wondering if Mississippi was going to survive the sixties. But we did, thanks to you and your predecessors, the students and faculty, and alumni of Millsaps College." 

Later in the forum, the panelists charged the audience not only to celebrate past victories but also to explore how the public spiritedness that produced the 1982 Act can be more fully and finally realized today. 

An alumni couple in the audience took Winter's comments and the panel's charge to heart.  The $100,000 donation will enable Millsaps to be a place that facilitates and promotes intellectual reflection on important public issues.

"Millsaps College is deeply grateful to the donors for establishing a fund that will help ensure continued success of our public forums and that will reinforce a key component of our Strategic Plan, Across the Street and Around the Globe: Partnerships and Influence at Millsaps College," said President Rob Pearigen.  "We at Millsaps believe that our location in the heart of the capital city provides us with the opportunity and responsibility to bring important topics and speakers to the public's attention. We're especially pleased and honored to have our name linked with that of Elise and William Winter through this major gift to the Community Foundation."