On Friday, Feb. 1, Nora Miller will be installed as the 15th president of Mississippi University for Women in the university’s almost 135-year-old history. The formal inaugural ceremony will be held in Rent Auditorium, Whitfield Hall, at 10 a.m.
The university will host various events that will also showcase its students, starting with the Student Day of Service in collaboration with the United Way of Lowndes County Wednesday, Jan. 30 from 1:30-4:30 p.m.
A Celebration of Artists is set for Thursday, Jan. 31 with exhibitions and a reception in Summer Hall at 5:30 p.m. The Music Student Showcase in Kossen Auditorium will begin at 7 p.m.
Following the inaugural ceremony Friday, there will be a tour of Fant Memorial Library, which garnered the 2018 Merit Award from the Mississippi American Institute of Architects Design Awards program. Tours on the half-hour will run from 1-3 p.m.
Beverly Joyce, director of The W’s galleries, will lead a talk in Summer Hall at 1:30 p.m. There also will be a chance to look behind the scenes in the MUW Beulah Culbertson Archives and Special Collections at Fant Memorial Library from 3-4 p.m. with archivist Derek Webb.
Motown sounds, 5K run
The sounds of Motown will fill the air Friday evening with a musical performance by Just A Few Cats, led by Grammy-nominated songwriter Alvin Garrett, from 7:30-9 p.m. in Rent Auditorium, Whitfield Hall. The event is free and open to the public, but a ticket is required for admission. To register for tickets, visit muw.edu/motown.
Guests can trade in their dancing shoes for running shoes Saturday, Feb. 2 with the Rise and Shine Inauguration 5K Run, which commences at 8:30 a.m. at Stark Recreation Center. Details are posted at raceroster.com/events/2019/21558/rise-and-shine-5k.
About the new president
Miller has had a long career in higher education and public service.
A member of the Long Blue Line, Miller holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from The W. She earned a Master of Business Administration from Mississippi State University in 1998 and is a certified public accountant. She has served on The W staff since 2001.
In her role as senior vice president for administration and chief financial officer at the university, Miller was responsible for the financial and business management of the university, the operation of the physical plant and related support services and the development and implementation of the campus facilities master plan. She also participated in the formulation of policies, programs and budget development and interacts with students, faculty, staff, the Board of Trustees and agencies to the campus. In addition, she served as the legislative liaison for the campus, advocating for the university with state leaders and legislators.
Before being named senior vice president, Miller served as vice president for finance and administration for the university for 11 years. She has also served as director of budget and financial analysis and director of internal audit for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning; director of accounting for Central Alabama Community College; senior auditing accountant for Potter, Bryant & Tate in Birmingham, Alabama; and as supervising senior auditing accountant for the Colleges and Universities Division of the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office.
Miller served as chair of the University Press of Mississippi and has served on the board of directors of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers (SACUBO). She is active in a number of community organizations in Columbus, including Town and Tower, serving as chair in 2014-2015; Columbus Air Force Base Community Council; and Rotary Club of Columbus, serving as president in 2008-2009. The Rotary Club of Columbus named her a Paul Harris Fellow in 2007, 2011 and 2017.
A member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, she has served on the vestry and as senior warden in 2015-2016. Miller was also on the board of directors of St. Paul’s Episcopal School, serving as chair in 2009-2010.
Miller served as chair of the Tenn-Tom Chapter of the American Red Cross in 2007-2009 and has also been a member of the Northeast Mississippi Chapter and the Mississippi Regional Advisory Council of the American Red Cross.
A Leadership Mississippi graduate, Miller was named one of the Top 50 Businesswomen of the Year by the Mississippi Business Journal. A member of the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association, she has served as treasurer for the MUW Alumnae Association and the MUW Ecumenical Council.
As President Miller steps onto the inaugural stage, she will don the presidential gown and medallion, a tradition that has spanned over the university’s history.
The history of academic dress can be traced to 1321, when gowns were required at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. The wearing of a long gown was prescribed in England in the second half of the 14th century. It has been suggested that the gowns may have been necessary for warmth in the unheated buildings which were used by medieval scholars. Since all scholars were churchmen in the Middle Ages, much of the academic costume retains vestiges of ecclesiastical attire.
The president’s medallion is an integral part of the president’s regalia and symbolizes the Office of the President. The medallion is the official University Seal, which bears the university’s name above and Columbus below. The center of the seal is a bald eagle with outstretched wings basking in 10 rays of sunlight. The number 1884 is emblazoned upon the sun, denoting the year of the university’s founding. The medallion hangs from a ribbon of MUW Blue, worn around the president’s neck.
MUW’s mace is wood, carved in the shape of a torch and the phrase “We Study For Light To Bless With Light” is engraved across the face of the mace.
Ceremonial maces were originally carried as a symbol of royal authority, dating back to the Middle Ages. The academic mace is a symbol of the authority invested in the president by the university’s governing body.
The university mace is carried by a member of the faculty before the president in academic processions in formal ceremonies such as commencements and inaugurations.
For additional information, call 662-329-7148 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.