President of the College; Professor of Government and Politics

B.A., The University of the South; M.A., Ph.D., Duke University

Anative of Memphis, Tenn., Dr. Pearigen is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he earned a bachelor of arts in political science. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Duke University. His post-graduate study included constitutional law, judicial process and political theory, particularly the work of Plato and Aristotle. His academic fields of interest include public law, political theory, and American government.

Over his career, Dr. Pearigen has served as a secondary school teacher and trustee and in higher education as a professor, dean of students, and vice president for university relations. As Millsaps’ president, Dr. Pearigen has launched a comprehensive college-wide strategic plan entitled “Across the Street and Around the Globe: Partnerships and Influence at Millsaps College.” Rooted in the college’s values, mission, and purpose, the strategic plan has been animated by a growing awareness of the need to make the most of Millsaps’ distinctive strengths, including its location in the capital city of Mississippi, its international programs and partnerships (including a 4,500-acre biocultural reserve in the Yucatán), and the unique combination of a liberal arts college with a business school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

It’s unusual for college presidents with academic credentials to continue to teach. However, President Pearigen has continued to teach throughout his administrative career because, in his words, “It connects me with a small group of students in close and personal way; it reinforces my relationship with my faculty colleagues who are engaged in the classroom experience; and it keeps me in touch with my academic discipline and the core academic mission and purpose of the institution.”

As a faculty member at Millsaps, Dr. Pearigen teaches courses in constitutional law, civil rights and liberties, jurisprudence, and political theory. He is an advocate for, and believer in, liberal arts education as intrinsically meaningful for individuals as well as the very best preparation for a good and worthy life of learning, leadership, and service.