January 31, 2019 10:42:30 AM
This week, Mississippi University for Women is celebrating the inauguration of Nora Miller as its 15th president with a series of events that focus on many of the unique programs and opportunities the school provides.
Presidential inaugurations typically are insular, often intimate affairs, designed by and for those with direct ties to the university - students, faculty and staff.
That's not the case with The W. Everyone is invited.
Beginning with Wednesday's "Day of Service," a collaboration with the United Way of Lowndes County, and continuing through Saturday with the inaugural "Rise and Shine" 5K run, it's clear that university officials have made every effort to engage the community beyond the narrow confines of campus.
From art shows to music to a tour of the university's Fant Library and its archives, The W is making a concerted effort to engage even those who rarely, if ever, step foot on campus.
These efforts are to be commended because they reinforce The W's commitment to the broader community and, in doing so, reaffirm the university's historic ties to Columbus and Lowndes County.
For much of its history, The W and its students were perceived as a part of the community. In the days where transportation was often limited, W students were a ubiquitous presence around town. Businesses and shops offered special discounts and other perks to students and were rewarded by the students' patronage.
But times change. By the end of the millennium, the W's presence around town seemed to have waned and the school seemed to become more insular, more separated from their non-student neighbors.
When Jim Borsig took over as President in 2011, one of his goals was to rebuild The W's relationship with the community, and much progress has been made in that effort. In selecting as Borsig's successor Nora Miller, a MUW alumna with 17 years of service at the university, the W is showing its commitment to that community-building goal.
University officials understand the value of building relationships with the community, but this week's events also reinforce the fact that the community benefits, too.
The W is a tremendous resource for our city and county, expanding the educational and cultural opportunities available to the public in ways that would not be otherwise available.
Miller's inauguration is cause for celebration, not only on campus but throughout our community.
We encourage everyone to join the party through the many events planned through the weekend.
To discover more about these events, visit
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