The W is about building: character, leadership, knowledge, lives. This issue of Visions reflects that long tradition of laying foundations for our physical learning environment, as well as for the educational experiences of those who study here.
It’s been 10 years since an F-3 tornado damaged or destroyed more than 20 buildings at MUW—a disaster that could have been much worse had it not been for timing, leadership and response. With the support of many players, The W turned that catastrophe into a triumph, and in this issue we celebrate just how far we’ve come in the decade since.
We also celebrate the reopening of the grand old Temple of Music, Poindexter Hall. A signature building both architecturally and historically, it now provides a setting worthy of our outstanding music program and the legacy of its champion, Miss Weenona Poindexter. I invite you to visit it soon for a tour or a concert. It is a remarkable facility for which all of The W family can be proud.
Building the physical campus continues with the expansion and renovation of Fant Memorial Library. Phase I of the renovation is now under way, with a complete overhaul of the exterior of the building. The total projected renovation cost is $18 million and, when completed, will significantly enhance our library and the academic resources we can offer students and faculty.
In fact, we’re paying attention to all of our infrastructure, including the “curb appeal” of The W. If you haven’t been on campus in a while, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the fresh coat of paint we’ve applied to perimeter fences. With private support from generous donors, we will be able to undertake additional projects that make our campus inviting, comfortable, and a “go-to” place for students and the community. The W is a gem that we want to continue to polish.
One of our proudest “building” successes is The W’s remarkable ability to nurture leaders. It starts while students are enrolled as undergraduates and are given opportunities through programs such as the Ina E. Gordy Honors College and the Hearin Leadership Program. Both are flagship programs that attract academically gifted students.
Through Gordy, an outstanding lecture series allows students to interact with successful professionals, become immersed in challenging academics and take advantage of leadership opportunities that build their skills and confidence. The Hearin program focuses on scholarship, leadership development and community service. These skills are nurtured and strengthened through monthly meetings and community service activities.
You’ll see some of those leaders featured in this issue of Visions. We visit with three outstanding alumnae who have made a commitment to public service and to making a difference in their native Mississippi. Senators Nancy Collins and Sally Doty and Representative Esther Harrison all have a passion for politics and are creating paths for future MUW graduates to follow. They are representing their alma mater with distinction.
As I approach the one-year anniversary of becoming president of this wonderful institution, I realize just how strong our foundation is. I look forward to continuing to build our future with you.
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