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Millsaps College is a private liberal arts college located in Jackson, Mississippimarker. Founded in 1890, the college is recognized as one of the country's best private colleges dedicated to undergraduate teaching and educating the whole individual. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Millsaps is home to approximately 1,200 students. Millsaps College is featured in Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives and is one of only 24 private colleges nationwide named a Best Buy in the 2010 edition of Fiske’s Top Financial Finds on the College Tuition Market.


The college was founded by a Confederate veteran, Major Reuben Webster Millsaps in 1889-90 by the donation of the college's land and $50,000. Dr. William Belton Murrah was the college's first president, and Bishop Charles Betts Galloway of the United Methodist Church organized the college's early fund-raising efforts. Both men now have halls named in their honor. Major Millsaps and his wife are interred in a tomb near the center of campus.


Despite its religious affiliation, the curriculum is secular. The writing-intensive core curriculum requires each student to compile an acceptable portfolio of written work before completion of the sophomore year. Candidates for an undergraduate degree must also pass oral and written comprehensive exams in their major field of study. These exams last up to three hours, and may cover any required or elective course offered by the major department. Unacceptable performance on comprehensive exams will prevent a candidate from receiving a degree, even if all course work has been completed. "Comps" are usually associated with graduate degree requirements, so their inclusion at the undergraduate level is a source of pride (and possibly pressure) for Millsaps students.

Millsaps offers B.S., B.A., B.B.A., M.B.A. and MAcc degrees and corresponding programs. Millsaps sends large numbers of graduates to graduate schools, law school, and medical school.

The current undergraduate population is around 1100 students on a 103 acre (417,000 m²) campus near downtown Jackson, Mississippimarker. The student to faculty ratio is 11:1 with an average class size around 15 students. Millsaps offers 33 majors and 34 minors, including the option of a self-designed major, along with a multitude of study abroad and internship opportunities. Millsaps employs 91 full-time faculty members. Of those, 99 percent of tenure-track faculty hold a Ph.D. or the terminal degree in their field. The professors on the tenure track have the highest degree in their field. The college offers research partnerships for undergraduate students, and a variety of study abroad programs. Millsaps reports that 45% of their student body comes from outside Mississippi; a large portion of out-of-state students are from neighboring Louisianamarker. Millsaps is home to nearly 1,200 students from 33 states and territories plus 18 countries. The college also offers a Continuing Education program and the Community Enrichment Series for adults in the Jackson area.


Millsaps College campus.
The Millsaps campus is close to downtown Jackson. It is bordered by Woodrow Wilson Avenue to the north, North State Street to the east, West Street to the west, and Marshall Street to the south.

The center of campus is dominated by "The Bowl", where many events occur, including Homecoming activities, concerts, the Multicultural Festival, and Commencement. Adjacent to the Bowl is the Campbell College Center, renovated in 2000, which contains the campus bookstore, post office, cafeteria, and Student Life offices. This central section of campus also holds the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex, Olin Science Hall, Sullivan-Harrell Hall, and the Millsaps-Wilson Library.

The north part of campus includes the Hall Activities Center (commonly called "the HAC"), the sports fields, and the freshman dormitories. On the far northwestern corner is James Observatory, the oldest building on campus. Operational since 1901, the observatory underwent major renovations in 1980. It is open for celestial gazing.

Upperclassmen dormitories are located on the south side of campus, with Fraternity Row and the Christian Center. Originally constructed as a memorial to students and graduates who died in service during World War II, the Christian Center houses an auditorium and the departments of Performing Arts, History and Religious Studies.

Between the Christian Center and Murrah Hall, which houses the Else School of Management, is the tomb of Major Millsaps and the "M" Bench, erected by the classes of 1926, 1927, and 1928. The Nicholson Garden was added to improve the aesthetics of this area.

Statistics (as of 2009)

Enrollment: 1,200

Average GPA: 3.5

Middle 50% SAT composite scores: 1080-1320

Middle 50% ACT scores: 23-29

Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1

Rankings and distinctions

Millsaps fell from 81 to 89 in the 2010 U.S. News & World Report's list of "Best Liberal Arts Colleges".[2829]

The 2007 Princeton Review ranked Millsaps as number 14 in "Class Discussions Encouraged", and number 3 in "Administration". The Princeton Review of 2007 also ranked Millsaps' Else School of Business number 8, for "Best Professors".

Millsaps was one of 40 schools in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives.

The 2008 Princeton Review Best 290 Business Schools names Millsaps' Else School of Business as one of the nation's top business schools and ranked Millsaps number 3 for "Best Classroom Experience".

One of only 24 private colleges nationwide and the only college in Mississippi named a "Best Buy" in the 2010 edition of Fiske's Top Financial Finds on the College Tuition Market.


The school's sports teams are known as the Majors, and their colors are purple and white. They participate in the NCAA's Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Men participate in baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and track and field. Women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance team, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Both men and women will begin lacrosse teams in 2010.

The Majors had a fierce football and basketball rivalry with Mississippi College in nearby Clintonmarker through the 1950s before competition was suspended after an infamous student brawl at a basketball game. Campus legend says the brawl was sparked by the alleged theft of the body of Millsaps founder Major Millsaps by Mississippi College students. The rivalry was considered by many as the best in Mississippi, featuring a prank by Mississippi College students who painted "TO HELL WITH MILSAPS" (sic) on the Millsaps Observatory. The football rivalry resumed in 2000 as the "Backyard Brawl", with games at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadiummarker. The rivalry took a one-year hiatus in 2005 but resumed in 2006.

Millsaps was the summer training camp home for the NFL's New Orleans Saints in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Millsaps was also home to the famous game-ending play in the 2007 Trinity vs. Millsaps football game, in which Trinity Universitymarker defeated Millsaps by a score of 28-24 after the miraculous play that later won the Pontiac Game-Changing Performance of the Year award, which had never before been bestowed upon a play outside of the NCAA's Bowl Subdivision.

In 2008, Millsaps quarterback Juan Joseph was awarded the Conerly Trophy, which goes to the best football player in the state of Mississippimarker.


The school is home to six different fraternities: Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Order, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Pi Kappa Alpha, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Kappa Sigma; as well as six sororities: Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Delta, Phi Mu, Chi Omega, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and Delta Sigma Theta.

Notable alumni

Important dates in Millsaps history

Mausoleum on the campus of Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi, containing the graves of Major Reuben Webster Millsaps and his wife.
  • 1890 - Major Reuben Webster Millsaps founds the college with a personal gift of $50,000.
  • 1901 - Millsaps builds the first golf course in Mississippi.
  • 1902 - Mary Letitia Holloman becomes the first female graduate of Millsaps.
  • 1908 - Sing-Ung Zung of Soochowmarker, Chinamarker, becomes the first international student to graduate from Millsaps.
  • 1914 - Old Main, one of the first buildings on campus, burns and is replaced by Murrah Hall.
  • 1916 - Major Millsaps dies and is buried on campus.
  • 1931 - The first night football game in Mississippi is played on the Millsaps campus between the Majors and Mississippi A&M (now Mississippi State Universitymarker).
  • 1943 - Johnny Carson attends Millsaps for V-12 naval officer training, entertaining his comrades with a magic and humor act.
  • 1944 - Louis H. Wilson, born in Brandon, Mississippimarker and who graduated from the college in 1941, receives the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Guam during World War II. Wilson was also promoted to General and became the 26th Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1975. He was the first Marine Corps Commandant to serve full time on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • 1953 - Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis judge a Millsaps beauty contest.
  • 1965 - Millsaps becomes the first all-white college in Mississippi to voluntarily desegregate.
  • 1967 - Robert Kennedy speaks at the college about obligations of young Americans to give back to their country.
  • 1975 - Jimmy Carter speaks to Millsaps students about the crisis in the Middle East.
  • 1988 - Millsaps initiates the first campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Mississippi.
  • 1989 - Millsaps becomes the first school in Mississippi to have a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

List of presidents of Millsaps

  • William Belton Murrah - 1890-1910
  • David Carlisle Hull - 1910-1912
  • Dr. Alexander Farrar Watkins - 1912-1923
  • Dr. David Martin Key - 1923-1938
  • Dr. Marion Lofton Smith - 1938-1952
  • Dr. Homer Ellis Finger, Jr. - 1952-1964
  • Dr. Benjamin Barnes Graves - 1965-1970
  • Dr. Edward McDaniel Collins, Jr. - 1970-1978

  • Dr. George Marion Harmon (1978-2000) - After 22 years of leading Millsaps College, Dr. Harmon announced his resignation in the Spring of 1999. His last day as president of Millsaps College was June 30, 2000.

  • Dr. Frances Lucas (2000-2010) - Dr. Lucas was the first female to hold the post at Millsaps. Before her hiring at Millsaps, she was the Senior Vice President for Campus Life at Emory Universitymarker. Dr. Lucas resigned on April 23, 2009. Lucas cited disagreements with faculty as the reason for her resignation.

  • Howard McMillan, Dean of Millsaps' Else School of Management took over as Interim President in August 2009.


  1. Millsaps to Add Men's and Women's Lacrosse in 2010-11
  2. Casey Parks New York Times Blog
  3. Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Profile - Casey Parks
  4. The Magnolia Gazette: Southern ties launch a new era for Millsaps
  5. The Clarion-Ledger: Millsaps installs 1st female leader
  6. Jackson Free Press: Millsaps President Announces Resignation
  7. Mississippi Business Journal: Lucas leaving Millsaps
  8. The Clarion-Ledger: Millsaps dean selected to take on presidential duties during search

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