What a year 2021 has been! Our community is resilient and thriving, and we’re grateful for the robust spirit that permeates our beautiful campus, our classrooms, and our athletics programs. As we put a bow on 2021, I’m pleased to share this “Year in Review” as the December issue of the @ The Flagship newsletter. The extraordinary accomplishments listed below offer a glimpse of the talent, kindness, and excellence that defines Ole Miss. See the full list below for all the amazing details of these achievements. And be sure to check out our Year in Review in photos.
ENROLLMENT IS UP
We posted the largest year-over-year increase in the number of freshmen in university history. Our freshman class totals 3,584, an 18% increase over 2020! With overall enrollment up slightly to 21,856 students and applications for Fall 2022 up significantly, we are headed in the right direction. Enrollment for University of Mississippi Medical Center-based schools is at an all-time high, reflecting a growing commitment among students to meet the state’s needs for health care professionals.
NOW & EVER LAUNCHED
The university launched the largest comprehensive campaign in the history of Mississippi universities. Taking its name from a line in our alma mater, Now & Ever will generate more than $1.5 billion in private support and grow our endowment to at least $1 billion. This support will enable investments that touch every area of the university, from supporting student success and access to creating new endowed chairs, fueling research and enhancing our role in creating economic opportunities. Generations of students will benefit from expanded education, experiences, and opportunities.
We’re so proud of our students’ successes and the standards for excellence they’re setting! Two students won Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, three students were awarded National Science Foundation fellowships, two UM seniors became Yenching Fellows, and seven students earned David L. Boren Scholarships from the National Security Exchange Program. Our new class of 12 first-year Stamps Scholars brings the total number of Stamps recipients at UM to 51, making Ole Miss the second-largest university in the Stamps Scholars Program. Our student-led fundraiser RebelTHON 2021 exceeded its fundraising goal this year by raising more than $185,000 for UMMC’s Children’s of Mississippi Hospital.
An important measure that we monitor is the freshman retention rate, the percentage of last year’s first-time students who continued their studies this fall. We hit a historical high this fall of 88.2%, which is 15 percentage points above the national average. Our outstanding retention rate is an indicator of how well our students are succeeding, supported by our Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. It is also a reflection of the university’s commitment to fulfilling the expectations we set when recruiting students.
Our faculty continues to deliver many outstanding accomplishments and uphold our commitment to excellence in how we serve our students to build a better world through higher education. Our faculty includes:
- the winner of the 2021 Regions Bank TEACH Prize (recognizing the professor who was named by students as the top educator for the academic year),
- an NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program awardee (one of the most prestigious and competitive awards that NSF offers),
- a 2021 American Council on Education fellow (considered the gold standard for higher education leadership development),
- the president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the nation’s premier group of women’s health and OB-GYN providers),
- the president of the American Dermatological Association(the largest national organization focused on dermatologic health care, research and education),
- the new chairman of the National Marrow Donor Program, and
- a guest featured on CBS’s “Mission Unstoppable” (an effort highlighting women in STEM as role models for middle school girls in a program launched by the American Association for the Advancement of Science).
Our online Master of Business Administration program ranked No. 7 nationally among public universities by U.S. News & World Report, while the UM Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management’s Ph.D. in health and kinesiology was recognized by the National Academy of Kinesiology as the nation’s No. 5 kinesiology program among public universities. We also celebrated the expansion of space for the Department of Biomedical Engineering, which was the state’s first such program to prepare students for careers in a pioneering field that combines technology with medicine.
For five years straight, University of Mississippi graduates have shown themselves to be the state’s best at finding employment and keeping it, according to U.S. Department of Education data analyzed and published by career site, Zippia. When our students graduate, they’re prepared to enter the workforce and take off on careers!
MOVING UP THE RANKINGS
We jumped 10 spots in the most recent “Best Colleges” rankings from U.S. News & World Report, placing 67th nationally among 683 public institutions in the study — that’s in the top 10% of public universities nationally. U.S. News also ranked Ole Miss No. 31 among public institutions nationally for Best Value, making us the leader in Mississippi and in the top 5% of public universities nationally. We’ve also been cited as a Best for Vets among public universities for our support of military-connected students with U.S. News ranking us No. 64 nationally and Military Times ranking us No. 21 nationally.
On a historic day for our university, Donald R. Cole was celebrated as the newest namesake for the Martindale-Cole Student Services Center. Cole is an icon who served the Ole Miss community for more than five decades as a student, educator, administrator, and caring mentor. We also honored one of our football icons when we retired Eli Manning‘s No. 10 jersey and celebrated his Rebel legacy. Manning is just the third football player in Ole Miss’ storied history to have his number retired, joining his father Archie Manning (18) and Chucky Mullins (38). Additionally, we unveiled a bronze statue at The Pavilion Plaza honoring Coolidge Ball, Ole Miss’ first Black student-athlete. His statue is a fitting tribute that ensures Ball’s courage will always be remembered and celebrated by our university and our fans.
ADVANCING SCIENCE AND INNOVATION
Our love of science is BIG. In October 2021, we broke ground on the largest and most extensive building project ever on the Oxford campus, the 202,000-square-foot Jim and Thomas Duff Center for Science and Technology Innovation. A crown jewel within the university’s Science District, the Duff Center will become a transformative resource for science and math education for our students, help address the critical need for more graduates in STEM fields, prepare our students for greater career opportunities, and become our hub for instilling in all of our students a more in-depth understanding of the role of science in society.
COMMITTED TO HEALTHY KIDS
Children’s of Mississippi Hospital celebrated the first birthday of the opening of the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower, which dramatically expanded the equipment and facilities for UMMC to care for children across Mississippi who require specialty and sub-specialty care.
CARE AND COMPASSION DURING COVID
Through our most trying times and especially during the incredible challenges of COVID-19, our University of Mississippi Medical Center has demonstrated heroic levels of care, compassion, and leadership as it persevered in its missions of health care, research and education. Our health care professionals worked tirelessly to care for those stricken during the pandemic to serve as a leading voice in explaining the virus and the measures intended to quell transmission, and to provide exemplary treatment for Mississippi’s sickest of the sick. And here on the Oxford campus, our dedicated volunteer team of faculty, staff, and students staffed more than 60 vaccination events and administered 8,135 vaccines this year. We are forever grateful to our frontline health care workers!
BEST COLLEGE TOWN
ESPN confirmed what everyone affiliated with Ole Miss knows: Oxford is America’s best college town! ESPN touted the intensity of the Ole Miss fan base, and how the Grove and Oxford are celebrated for rolling out a warm welcome for gameday visitors. We’re thrilled that Oxford received this designation, and we’re grateful to call Oxford our home and partner in so many ways.
Ole Miss Women’s Golf brought home the 2021 NCAA Championship! With a victory over Oklahoma State in the finals, this is the first Ole Miss women’s team to capture an NCAA championship in any sport. Head Coach Kory Henkes became the first Rebel head coach to earn the Division I Jackie Steinmann Women’s Golf Coaches Association National Coach of the Year. What’s even more impressive is the team’s cumulative GPA of 3.91!
For the first time in the modern era, every Ole Miss fall sports program secured a postseason berth in the same year. Congrats to our men’s cross country, women’s cross country, soccer, volleyball and football squads! Since the spring, all 18 Rebel varsity teams have advanced to the postseason in the 2021 calendar year.
HOW SWEET IT IS
Our football team kept the Egg Bowl trophy in its rightful home in Oxford, celebrated its first-ever 10-win regular season, and earned a trip to New Orleans to play Baylor in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. Now, that’s a fantastic way to ring in the New Year.
As we reflect on the past year and look ahead with hope for the future, I want to thank every one of you for your support of this extraordinary university. It is because of your dedication, your contributions, and your warmth that we excel. Best wishes to you and your family for a joyful holiday season!
Glenn F. Boyce