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The Millsaps Model for Game Day and Beyond

by Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, President

September 10, 2014

 

Dr. Robert Pearigen, Millsaps College PresidentMillsaps College kicked off the 2014 football season Saturday against Mary Hardin-Baylor, the #2 ranked Division III program in the nation.  While the end result wasn’t what we hoped for, we’re proud of our student-athletes who put a tremendous amount of effort and training into the game. 

As many of you know, however, game day activities are not limited to what happens on the field.  With that in mind, Millsaps enhanced its game day festivities, including a new children’s area with face-painting and bounce house inflatables, the Jackson Academy drumline, and added food concessions by Logan Farms, a local caterer.  The change that attracted the most attention concerned our addition of the Lucky Town beer garden. 

The beer garden (actually, a 20-ft x 75-ft deck accessible only to fans aged 21 and above), offered a mature and controlled location for adults to enjoy a craft beer. Since alcohol consumption on campuses often occurs underground and outside the presence of responsible adults, we believe our arrangement provided an ongoing replicable model of mature and accountable drinking for persons of legal age.

This arrangement also reflected Millsaps’ commitment to supporting and partnering with local businesses. Lucky Town, a locally owned brewery, is opening its operations, and the jobs that come with it, in Jackson in part because of the business planning support of the Millsaps business school, the Else School of Management.

The Else School’s efforts with Lucky Town reflect an institution-wide commitment to take seriously the opportunities and responsibilities that arise from our location in the heart of Jackson. We invite the public to our campus for cultural and educational programs, and to participate in forums on topics of local and national concern. We also send members of our campus community into the city and beyond where they work, learn, and serve.

The fact that Millsaps opened a beer garden at a football game is only one small part of a much bigger story associated with our education experience and our strategic plan, “Across the Street and Around the Globe: Partnerships and Influence at Millsaps College.” The same student-athletes who competed Saturday are serving communities far and near. Our starting quarterback Zak Thrasher, a religious studies major, spent his summer doing mission work in India. Or, consider safety Russell Burton. Every week Russell tutors students at Brown Elementary School in the Midtown neighborhood west of Millsaps’ campus. 

These are just two of the many students whose work and witness are transforming lives and communities, “across the street and around the globe.” I invite you to join us this season, and I hope you will find time to explore some of Millsaps’ other remarkable offerings.