Get to Know Us

Our History

In 1890, Millsaps College was founded by members of the Methodist Church.

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Mission, Vision & Values

To produce informed, creative-thinking and versatile citizens who are career-ready, civically minded and dedicated to a life of learning, service and meaning.

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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

One of our strategic priorities is to institutionalize inclusivity at Millsaps.

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Facts & Figures

Learn what makes Millsaps one of the nation’s premier undergraduate liberal arts colleges.

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Commitment to Community

Civic engagement and community are deeply embedded in the Millsaps experience

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Rankings & Recognition

Accolades recognizing our academic excellence, hands-on learning, study-abroad programs and community impact.

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Destination 2027:
Lighting the Path

Millsaps looks toward 2027 with the light of its new vision.

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Our Campus

Situated on 100 acres in the heart of Mississippi’s capital city of Jackson, Millsaps College offers students the feeling of a tight-knit community.

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About Jackson

Jackson is a nexus for talented people who want to work together, whether they are looking for the next big thing or for an opportunity to contribute.

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Our History

Millsaps College was founded in 1890 by Major Reuben Webster Millsaps, whose gift of $50,000 laid the foundation for this institution. Bishop William Belton Murrah was the college’s first president, and Bishop Charles Betts Galloway of the Methodist Episcopal Church South organized the college’s early fundraising efforts. Both men had halls named in their honor. Major Millsaps and his wife, Mary, are interred in a tomb near the center of campus. The college continues to be affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Other historic milestones include:

In 1890

Millsaps College was founded by Major Reuben Webster Millsaps.

In 1902

Millsaps purchased the campus from Jackson College (now JSU) for $40,000.

In 1902

Mary Letitia Holloman becomes the first female graduate of Millsaps.

In 1908

Sing-Ung Zung of Suzhou, China, becomes the first international student to graduate from Millsaps.

In 1921

Frank Kirby Mitchell becomes Millsaps’ first Rhodes Scholar.

In 1924

Mack Buckley Swearingen is Millsaps’ second Rhodes Scholar.

In 1931

The first night football game in Mississippi is played on the Millsaps campus between the Majors and Mississippi A&M (now Mississippi State University).

In 1936

Millsaps College absorbs bankrupt Grenada College during the Great Depression.

In 1943

Johnny Carson attends Millsaps for V-12 naval officer training, entertaining his comrades with a magic and humor act.

In 1944

Louis H. Wilson, who graduated from the college in 1941, received the Medal of Honor for his actions. Wilson became a general and the 26th commandant of the Marine Corps in 1975. He was the first Marine Corps commandant to serve full time on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In 1953

Hugh Gaston Hall becomes the college’s third Rhodes Scholar.

In 1965

Millsaps becomes the first all-white college in Mississippi to voluntarily desegregate.

In 1967

Robert F. Kennedy during his presidential campaign speaks at the college about the obligations of young Americans to give back to their country.

In 1973

Charles Evers gives a speech at Millsaps, expressing appreciation for the institution supporting civil rights.

In 1974

Millsaps history professor, Dr. Charles Sallis, publishes Conflict and Change, with James Loewen and former student and Millsaps instructor, Dr. Jeanne Middleton—the first accurate history of the state’s relationship to slavery, the Civil War and race relations.

In 1975

Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter speaks to Millsaps students about the crisis in the Middle East.

In 1979

The Else School of Management at Millsaps was created.

In 1982

William Bradford Chism becomes the fourth Rhodes Scholar from Millsaps.

In 1988

Millsaps initiates the first campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Mississippi.

In 1989

Millsaps becomes the first school in Mississippi to have a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

In 1990

The college celebrates its centennial.

In 1996

Recognized as one of the 44 “Colleges That Change Lives.”

In 2000

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher speaks at a lecture series on campus.

In 2004

Kenneth Townsend becomes Millsaps’ fifth Rhodes Scholar.

In 2016

Ericka Wheeler is Millsaps’ sixth Rhodes Scholar recipient.

In 2018

Noah Barbieri accepted Millsaps’ seventh Rhodes Scholarship. He was also awarded a Truman Scholarship and Schwarzman Scholarship.

In 2019

The new Windgate Visual Arts Center and Selby and Richard McRae Christian Center open on campus.

In 2022

The Millsaps College Board of Trustees approves our strategic plan, Destination 2027: Lighting the Path.

Mission, Vision & Values

Vision

In a campus environment that fosters close personal relationships, an empathetic understanding of others and a deep sense of belonging, Millsaps College produces informed, creative-thinking and versatile citizens who are career-ready, civically minded and dedicated to a life of learning, service and meaning within the state of Mississippi and beyond.

Mission

Millsaps College is dedicated to academic excellence, open inquiry and free expression, the exploration of faith to inform vocation, and the innovative shaping of the social, economic and cultural progress of our region.

Values

Our values are demonstrated by our behaviors. We are challenged to live our values by practicing our five virtues that characterize the Millsaps experience — Integrity, Service, Empathy, Joy and Justice.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Millsaps College is committed to cultivating an environment that embraces diversity across all of our communities. In demonstration of this commitment, the college strives to be a place where our investments in equity, inclusion and belonging are clearly demonstrated and visibly intertwined with our mission of academic excellence, open inquiry and free expression. Through practices that respect and recognize the inherent value of every member, across all of our communities, we seek to provide opportunities for personal and institutional transformation that extend beyond our campus.

In pursuit of these goals, Millsaps College aims to attract, support and empower talented faculty, staff and students from diverse cultures, ethnicities, races, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, ages, national origins, socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities. As an institution we are committed to developing and implementing policies and programs that promote the thriving of every member of our community and the communities with which we engage, so that we can contribute in a meaningful way to eliminating acts of discrimination that undermine dignity, access and self-efficacy.

Facts & Figures

One of the Top U.S. Colleges With the Greatest Economic Diversity

Millsaps is one of the Top U.S. Colleges With the Greatest Economic Diversity and showed the largest gain in Pell share percentages since 2011. — New York Times College-Access Index

Average class size

Student to teacher ratio
Millsaps was the first college or university in Mississippi with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

undergraduate students are students of color

graduate students are students of color

students reside in on-campus housing
Student for student, Millsaps is the strongest school in Mississippi for national awards. In fact, our students have received more prestigious awards per capita than many top 20 liberal arts colleges ranked by U.S. News and World Report.
Our students and faculty have been selected for 29 Fulbright Fellowships, seven Rhodes Scholarships, six Goldwater Scholarships, two Truman Scholarships, one Schwarzman Fellowship and one Udall Scholarship.

Commitment to Community

Service is one of the five Millsaps virtues. Being part of the community and giving back is woven into who we are. Service for each other and our surrounding community demonstrates our commitment to helping those in need. Our college’s calling to service draws inspiration from the quotation inscribed on a sculpture of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, which is located on campus. “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” Here are some of the ways Millsaps serves.

1 Campus 1 Community (1C1C)

1C1C was formed in the fall of 2006 as the embodiment of an institutional commitment to long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships between Millsaps College and our off-campus neighbors. It is the hub for community engagement, volunteering, community partnerships and grassroots civic engagement.

In conversation with community partners from the Midtown neighborhood, K–12 public schools and throughout Jackson, 1C1C seeks to share resources and respond to identified need, both inside and outside the Millsaps gates.

Email [email protected] to learn about or share volunteer opportunities! Whether one-time events or sustained partnerships, our distribution list is here to connect student volunteers with community action!

Wellspring Program

As part of 1 Campus 1 Community, the Wellspring Living Learning Community is a unique opportunity for students who are interested in volunteering off-campus and want to make it an important part of their life during college. Wellspring volunteer sites are centered in the Midtown neighborhood with community partners who focus on K–12 education and anti-poverty measures.

In the Wellspring intentional learning community, students build relationships by working weekly at community sites and reflecting through discussion and writing on the complex, exciting city of Jackson. Wellspring students are required to complete 20 hours a semester but usually complete closer to 40 hours.

ELSEWORKS

ELSEWORKS, the entrepreneurship program of the Else School of Management at Millsaps College, strives to create positive social change in Mississippi and to grow the creative assets of the state to promote economic development. ELSEWORKS is staffed by graduate business students who work with various businesses to help them solve problems and grow.

Midtown is a diverse and primarily low-income neighborhood adjacent to Millsaps College. ELSEWORKS supports a holistic strategic plan for community revitalization, including education, economic development, community and culture and health and wellness initiatives. The plan is spearheaded by Midtown Partners, Inc., a nonprofit community organization that works to make Midtown a vibrant, healthy, sustainable community in which to live, work and raise families.

The primary focus of ELSEWORKS is economic development, specifically growing Midtown’s creative economy. The work underway provides experiential learning opportunities while giving students a way to actively and purposefully engage with and influence our local community through strategic partnerships.

The centerpiece of this economic development initiative is a creative business development center named the Hub Midtown. The Hub is composed of two buildings located in the heart of the Midtown Arts District, the Hatch and the Hanger. The Hub Midtown model provides new business owners access to group workshops and business consultation prior to and during formation, as well as subsequent one-on-one business consulting. See below ELSEWORKS’ efforts to grow the creative economy in Midtown.

Midtown Map

ELSEWORKS Midtown Map

The Hatch with 11,000 square feet provides affordable space and support to startup businesses and entrepreneurs. The gallery provides space for showings by Midtown artists and is also the site of 1 Million Cups Jackson, which meets every Wednesday morning. Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee & Tea Co., founded in 2012 by Raymond Horn, was recruited by ELSEWORKS, and is the first tenant to move into the Hatch, and began brewing operations in spring of 2015. “We’ve been involved in helping him select a location for production, and a graphic design for his packaging, along with sorting out a system of financial recording and production policies and procedures,” said Kelsey Worch, MBA 2015 and ELSEWORKS business analyst. “We’ve met with him regularly and have gotten to experience and help with a large amount of his company’s development,” said Worch.

The Hangar boasts 20,000 square feet of warehouse space and 3,000 square feet of office space. One of the first tenants in the Hangar was Millsaps art professor Sandra Murchison and her business, Purple Word Center for Book & Paper Arts. ELSEWORKS helped Murchison develop her business and funding plan and secure space in the Hangar for Purple Word. Other tenants in the Hangar include Repurposed Projects, Inspire Jackson, Red Squared Productions and Storied Salvage. ELSEWORKS provided Patty Paterson, owner of Repurposed Projects, a business plan for her business specializing in furniture made from recycled pallets. Patty said, “ELSEWORKS has been with me every step of the way. They’ve just been really great.” OffBeat, owned by well-known Jackson DJ Phillip “Young Venom” Rollins, received assistance from ELSEWORKS in the form of a market analysis to support expansion of his alternative culture retail store. Rollins is also a recent graduate of the Business Advantage Program.

TurnUp Studios hosts space for artists Clay Hardwick, B.A. 2009, and Daniel Johnson, B.A. 2011. Hardwick’s father is Phil Hardwick, Millsaps MBA 1984, an adjunct instructor in the Else School as well as the Business Advantage Program. Johnson completed the Business Advantage Program.

Pearl River Glass Studio owner Andy Young received assistance from ELSEWORKS with a $1 million expansion of his business. Young said, “My craft is 1,000 years old, but when I needed to develop new methods to address market challenges I turned to ELSEWORKS. We had to survive and we had to move forward. The business plan I had at the time was not going to do that. We had to think strategically; ELSEWORKS was helpful in conversations about what direction to go.”

Midtown Partners Resource Center is run by Midtown Partners, Inc., who is a key partner of the college and supports various education, economic development, community and culture and health and wellness initiatives in Midtown. Monica Cannon, director of community outreach, and Whitney Grant, creative economies director, participated in the Business Advantage Program. The center is also the site of the Midtown Public Charter School.

Soul Wired Cafe received various levels of business assistance from ELSEWORKS. Jennifer Goebel, BBA 2013, provided business planning assistance that supported the loan application. “It challenged me in ways I could not have imagined to serve as a consultant to a small business in Midtown — something unheard of for undergraduate students at many colleges and universities,” Goebel said.

Studio 2 Concrete/SwingLab is owned by Andy Hilton, who is known for his concrete art and SwingLab convertible swings and who was one of the first Midtown artists to participate in the Business Advantage Program and was the first president of the Business Association of Midtown.

Lucky Town Brewing Company, recruited to Midtown by ELSEWORKS, in partnership with Midtown Partners, Inc., received assistance with identification of the site location, zoning and funding assistance. As Chip Jones, co-owner of Lucky Town, said, “The entire team at ELSEWORKS proved to be a very useful resource in developing a schedule and making connections with proper contacts to ensure the process was carried out efficiently. We consider the brewing process a craft in and of itself, so the proposed use fits within the existing fabric of the creative economy.” The ELSEWORKS Entrepreneurial Investment Fund is an investor in Lucky Town.

CS’s hosts the Beer and Business topical workshops offered by ELSEWORKS every quarter for the Business Association of Midtown members. Workshop topics have included taxes and your business; licenses, permits, and zoning; finding sources of capital; intellectual property; business insurance and digital marketing.

1 Campus 1 Community Fellows’ Residence is the home of Millsaps 1C1C fellows, whose work is focused in the Midtown community. The fellows support Brown Elementary and Rowan Middle schools as well as many other community needs and sponsor the college’s annual Midtown Block Party.

Hope Enterprise Corporation

Hope Enterprise Corporation is a private nonprofit community development financial institution. Students assisted with expansion efforts into three rural Mississippi communities that had lost their only banks. Students conducted marketing research, participated in membership drives, conducted financial literacy sessions and attended the grand opening (where new accounts surpassed expectations!).

Youth Entrepreneurship Camp

The Youth Entrepreneurship Camp was developed for high school students from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI). MBCI is a community of approximately 10,000 members living on tribal land located in 10 counties in Mississippi. The entrepreneurship camp curriculum consisted of a combination of experiences, discussion and lecture, guest speakers, field trips, a mentoring component including exposure to elder tribe members with business skills and success stories, and fun activities.

Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT)

The Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) program is a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. This program was created by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in an attempt to unearth and address the deeply held and subconscious beliefs created by racism.

Millsaps was one of 10 colleges and universities across the country selected in 2017 by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) to create a campus where all students, faculty and staff are aware of and thoughtful about our shared history, where the struggle for racial equality is understood and translates into a commitment to eradicate racism, and where members of the campus and broader community work together to dismantle racial hierarchies and transform existing racial narratives to reflect truth and promote healing.

TRHT is guided by a campus leadership team comprised of faculty, staff, students and community members who guide planning, action and evaluation. Our priorities and strategies are driven by the community. Individuals across racial and ethnic identities and from various walks of life, experiences, vocations and levels of influence, work together in teams aligned with the pillars of the Kellogg Foundation Framework:

Narrative Change

The Narrative Change Team creates educational opportunities for a shared understanding of history and race, often as they relate to local and national practices and policies. Additional activities include documenting and distributing inclusive storytelling from marginalized communities and challenging incomplete versions of racial history and contemporary narratives that perpetuate stereotypes.

Visiting Speakers, Forums and Lectures

  • Curriculum development and classroom integration
  • National Day of Racial Healing
  • Book clubs
  • Films
  • Narrative collections

Relationship Building & Healing

The Racial Healing & Relationship Building Team creates brave spaces for honest conversations and shared learning about race and racism within and across racial identities. The team provides relationship and trust-building activities, such as racial healing circles, that bring people together and reaffirm the humanity in all of us.

Circle of Hope

  • Dialogue Circles
  • Affinity Circles
  • Social gatherings
  • United Methodist Conference partnership

Beyond Separation

The Beyond Separation Team is building a coalition of community members, activists and campus/community leaders to address policy and practices that serve as barriers to opportunity and equity in the community. The team has identified (example: faculty/staff hiring practices) as priority focus areas and is working to develop partnerships and sustainable solutions to eliminate disparities.

    We all can and should play a role in creating a more inclusive and equitable community. We encourage community members and organizations to take ownership of the TRHT principles and weave them into the fabric of the community, embedding TRHT in all aspects of the work we do alone and in collaboration with one another.

    Current Projects & Activities: My Story Mondays

    In partnership with the student newspaper, the Purple & White, TRHT sponsors a weekly column encouraging students, faculty, staff and alumni to submit short essays telling their racial story.

    Circle of Hope

    A Circle of Hope event involves bringing a group of individuals together to share individual stories through honest, heartfelt conversations. A circle lifts what unites us rather than what divides us, while discovering, respecting and honoring the unique experiences of each person. A trained circle practitioner or a pair facilitates the circle, leading with questions and reflections that provoke conversations.

    National Day of Racial Healing

    TRHT hosts this annual campuswide event on Tuesday after MLK Day to bring focus to the progress that has been made in racial equity and the continued work that is required for healing and transformation.

    Follow TRHT on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

    Interested in being involved with TRHT? Contact us:

    Susan Womack
    Michael Pickard

    #1

    #1 best college in Mississippi as ranked by Research.com

    #1

    #1 liberal arts college in Mississippi as ranked by U.S. News & World Report

    ranked #124 of national liberal arts colleges for 2023 by U.S. News & World Report
    Recognized for greatest growth in Pell-eligible students in America from 2011 to 2021, according to the College Access Index published by The New York Times and based on a review of the 286 most selective colleges in the country (as ranked by Barron’s)

    Rankings & Recognition

    • Ranked by Best College Reviews in top 10 study-abroad programs (for Yucatán)
    • Consistently ranked as one of the best values in higher education, Millsaps ranks as one of 44 Colleges That Change Lives
    • Else School of Management ranked among Best Graduate School MBA programs by U.S. News & World Report for 2023-24

    Ranked by Niche.com for multiple topics. See all the rankings. 

    • #1 most diverse college in MS
    • #1 among best colleges for biology in MS
    • #1 among best colleges for English in MS
    • Top 20% of best liberal arts colleges in America (63 out of 309)
    • Top 10% of best small colleges in America (96 out of 968)

    Destination 2027: Lighting the Path

    The Strategic Plan for Millsaps College

    Of the students of Millsaps College, Pulitzer Prize-winning editor, journalist and author Hodding Carter Jr. said, “They go because Millsaps challenges their souls.”

    He continued, “There is not an institution in the country that cannot learn something from this little school in Mississippi … it is a candle burning in the darkness.”

    Millsaps College has illuminated this path for more than 130 years, resolutely dedicated to its mission of academic excellence, open inquiry and free expression, the exploration of faith to inform vocation, and the innovative shaping of the social, economic and cultural progress of the region.

    The college’s 2012 strategic plan took Millsaps across the street and around the globe as it focused on partnerships and influence in an effort to actively and purposefully engage with and influence communities in its home city of Jackson and beyond.

    Propelled by the momentum of these successes, Millsaps College comes home as it looks toward 2027 with the light of its new vision:

    In a campus environment that fosters close personal relationships, an empathetic understanding of others and a deep sense of belonging, Millsaps College produces informed, creative-thinking and versatile citizens who are career-ready, civically minded and dedicated to a life of learning, service and meaning within the state of Mississippi and beyond.

    Our Campus

    Situated on 100 acres in the heart of Mississippi’s capital city of Jackson, Millsaps College offers students the feeling of a tight-knit community. The majority of our students make the choice to live on campus, not only because of the convenience of being close to classes and campus facilities, but also because of the opportunity to make the most of their college experience with their friends close by.

    The campus location also makes it easy for students to visit the Fondren and Belhaven neighborhoods, areas full of restaurants, retail outlets, music venues and coffee shops.

    About Jackson, Mississippi

    Jackson is a nexus for talented people who want to work together, whether they are looking for the next big thing or for an opportunity to contribute. The metro area has a population of 539,000 people. With more than 35,000 college students, Jackson is a great community for young people who are eager to be involved. Socially networked, dynamic and affordable, Jackson is a city on the move — a place of opportunity that’s always getting better.

    Getting here is easy. Jackson is served by five major airlines and is just down the road from Birmingham, Memphis and New Orleans. For Millsaps students — who inevitably fall in love with the place — it’s leaving that’s hard.

    Upcoming Events

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    Latest News

    Navigating the World: Equipped by Millsaps

    Navigating the World: Equipped by Millsaps

    The robust academic environment, small classes and close-knit faculty relationships provided just the right atmosphere. That, combined with the variety of classes was instrumental in shaping my approach to learning and problem-solving.

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