Millsaps College has received a $1 million commitment from the James and Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation to support the renovation of the Selby and Richard McRae Christian Center. The Foundation’s trustees include former Millsaps professor Madeleine McMullan and her daughters, author Margaret McMullan of Pass Christian, MS, and Carlette McMullan, a partner at William Blair and Company in Chicago, IL.
“Millsaps is honored to be the recipient of this very generous and deeply meaningful gift from the McMullan Family Foundation,” says Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, president of Millsaps. “The McMullan family has left a lasting legacy at Millsaps, beginning with Madeleine McMullan’s innovative teaching in the 1960s and extending to this day.”
As a professor of history at Millsaps, Madeleine McMullan worked with fellow humanities faculty members including Robert Padgett, T.W. Lewis, and Frank Laney to design and teach the first years of the Heritage program, Millsaps’ signature program in the humanities, which launched in 1967.
“My mother was very proud of the Heritage program,” says Carlette McMullan. “She loved collaborating with her faculty colleagues; it was just in her DNA.”
The Heritage program will be taught in the renovated McRae Christian Center beginning in fall 2019. A newly constructed lecture hall in which the program’s lectures will take place will be named the Madeleine and James McMullan Hall, in honor of Madeleine and her late husband, James. James McMullan was a partner at William Blair & Company for 40 years, serving on the firm’s executive committee for 20 years and managing the firm’s private wealth management department during his tenure.
Says Carlette McMullan, “My father was a very passionate business person, and we have always felt a desire to give back. To be able to give to a superior institution like Millsaps so that it can continue a program like Heritage and leverage its success is a dream come true. I know my father would be very pleased to see this recognition of my mother.”
The McMullan Hall will also be used as a space for public events and lectures.
“Millsaps has such an incredible record of bringing in the best speakers,” says Margaret McMullan. “I think it is key to have a good room that encourages the relationship between ‘town and gown.’ Millsaps needs that space, and the space should be special.” “We’ve always felt Millsaps is a beacon of arts and humanities and all the good things a college should be.”
The McMullan Family Foundation is also the founding sponsor of the McMullan Young Writers Workshop, a residential creative writing program for teenage writers in Mississippi which takes place each summer on Millsaps’ campus and includes opportunities for students to engage with nationally known writers. The workshop is supported through a partnership between Millsaps College, the McMullan Family Foundation, and the Eudora Welty Foundation.
Says Margaret McMullan, “It feels like this is a really good time for growth at Millsaps College. I hope this gift gives others ideas about what special things they could do at Millsaps.”