Video: Women’s History Month Spotlight – Mississippi University for Women
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – March is Women’s History Month and today we take a look at one of the most historic college campuses in the state, the Mississippi University for Women.
It was the first state funded university specifically for educating women in the nation.
MUW was established in 1884 in Columbus, offering free tuition to nearly 350 young women from across the state.
“It was founded to provide an education to an under-served population and we continue to do that today,” says MUW alumna Nora Miller.
Establishing the University didn’t come without controversy and struggle. Activists Sallie Eola Reneau, Annie Coleman Peyton and Olivia Valentine Hastings, campaigned for decades to open a college for women in Mississippi. Now generation after generation, women enroll at MUW seeking a quality education and to be a part of tradition.
“I also have an aunt that also studied here and she graduated from the W. So I thought that I would come here and get my degree in Nursing from the W,” says Anshe Hanna.
MUW has become renowned for the unique degree programs they offer.
“It has a 4-year culinary degree and not very many places have that. Everything about the W just really resounded with me, it’s just a place that I felt at home,” says Culinary Arts student, Anna Dicks.
In 1982, MUW began admitting men to the university after a Supreme Court decision. Today, it remains predominantly female and male students say choosing MUW
wasn’t difficult to do.
“I wanted to go somewhere different than everyone else that I graduated with. So I thought this would be a great university because they’re known for their tradition and it’s a very prestigious school,” says Antonio Small, a Communications and Music major at MUW.
“The guy to girl ratio wasn’t really a bad trade off,” say Nathan Bickford, a Management Information Systems major.
In 1989, Clyda Stokes Rent became the first female president of Mississippi University for Women.
WCBI’s own Joey Barnes and Producer Eric Lampkin are also MUW graduates.