I was in Jackson, MS, over the weekend after Thanksgiving and had some extra time to make my first visit to Millsaps College. I never knew much about Millsaps until I started working at the University of Memphis. One of the office staff for my department did her undergraduate studies there. A former Millsaps soccer player, she always spoke highly of the college. Over the last six years or so, we have also had a number of students in our various counseling master's programs who came to us from Millsaps.
The timing for the visit was great in that the sun was out and the temperature was a perfect 70 degrees. But it was the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the campus was closed to visitors. I tried to sweet talk the lady working the main gate, but she politely let me know I could not come on campus. As such, I only have a few photos taken from the North State Street side of campus. Much like Rhodes College here in Memphis, Millsaps is a private institution that is surrounded by a fence and access to the campus is limited.
The college was founded by its namesake, Reuben Millsaps. Millsaps donated the land for the college and $50,000 (a gift worth just over $1.6 million in late 2022 value) to get the institution going. Reuben Millsaps was born in rural Copiah County, MS, in 1833. He attended present day DePauw University in Indiana and subsequently graduated with a law degree from Harvard University. He was a major in the Confederate Army during the Civil War during which he was wounded twice. After the war, he settled in Jackson, MS, where he entered the business world. He would rise to become president of the Capital Bank in Jackson. Millsaps was very active in the United Methodist Church (his younger brother was a minister in the church) and wanted to establish a Methodist-affiliated school in Jackson. Today, the college sits on about 100 acres of land and enrolls just over 700 students (FTE). It is located a few blocks away from the University of Mississippi’s Medical Center campus (which is to the north) and Belhaven University (which is to the east); it is also close to both Jackson State University and Mississippi College.
In addition to not being able to get on campus for a true tour, I was also unable to find much in the way of information about the sites I could see from the street. I will continue to try to find out information about the campus and if I am able to do so I will update this post accordingly. Perhaps I will be able to return to campus and have a more complete set of photos by then as well.
There are several signs for the campus along State Street. In the case of the first photo below, the sign is beside the Park Avenue entrance to campus. The sign in photos two and three is at Oakwood Street. The historic marker seen in the fourth photo is a few feet away from the Millsaps College sign seen in the previous two photos. The fifth photo is a view of the front of Whitworth Hall. Whitworth began its life as a women’s residence hall. The building opened in 1939. After a renovation, the building became the home to the college’s administrative offices in 1980. The Georgian Revival-style building peeks from behind the trees just west of Oakwood Street. I was unable to find out anything else about the building or its name. Next to Whitworth is Sanders Hall, seen here in the sixth photo. Unfortunately, I was also unable to find out anything about the history of Sanders. The building now houses student records and other administrative support offices. Lastly, we have a photo of the Millsaps Belltower.
I hope to return to Jackson to visit some of the other colleges mentioned above, and hopefully Millsaps as well. Although a small institution, it has a pretty campus (from what I could see) and a long history.
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University Grounds is a blog about college and university campuses, their buildings and grounds, and the people who live and work on them.
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