I have the feeling that all of the Millsaps students will post something about today’s inauguration on their respective blogs, Twitters, facebooks, etc. And for good reason; the program included a beautiful ceremony with highly respected representatives from all over the state, as well as a yummy catered lunch in the bowl (the center of Millsaps’s campus, the best place to see and be seen, and where important gatherings are held, such as graduation), all under clear skies and surprisingly low humidity for Mississippi. Today, Millsaps inaugurated the 11th President of the college, Dr. Robert Pearigen.
The set-up began back on Monday, with the installment of sound systems that blasted test music throughout the bowl on random occasions, and the placement of scores of chairs and tables with white tablecloths, so we knew it was going to be a nice day. This morning, the visiting representatives from institutions around the country, as well as representatives from each graduating class (going back to 1935, I was surprised to learn), the faculty in their academic robes, and the student body took their seats and listened to the greetings and blessings from leaders such as the Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi, the bishops of the Methodist and Episcopalian church, and award-winning author and editor of Newsweek, Jon Meacham. I felt important just sitting in my chair on the grass in the presence of these people.
Everybody who attended today had to have enjoyed the celebration (at least because we got out of classes all morning), and I know that my friends and I walked away feeling inspired and instilled with confidence in our school and our leaders. I know I usually write sarcastic, funny blogs, but today was really a solemn, gorgeous occasion, and will go down in Millsaps’s history… it doesn’t exactly lend itself to comedic interpretations. I’m so glad I got to witness this as a student, and that I will have another year and a half to watch the growth of Millsaps under Dr. Pearigen’s leadership. It’s always exciting to start a new chapter of an institution, and we are all anxious to see the possibilities we have imagined come alive.