Millsaps and National Geographic

Our student body had a fantastic opportunity last Thursday.

To start from the beginning, you should know that Millsaps has a large reserve in Mexico in the Yucatan peninsula. Students and professors from many disciplines travel there to study: Spanish, geology, biology, anthropology, (basically all the -ologies), history… the list goes on. This reserve includes Mayan ruins that students can help excavate. It’s an incredible learning resource and something that our college is very proud of.

So when National Geographic decided to use the Millsaps land and ruins in their documentary, The Quest for the Lost Maya, everyone was thrilled. NatGeo worked with our own Dr. George Bey who has done extensive work on the projects in Mexico, as well as other professors and students from a few select schools elsewhere in the country. And when the documentary was finished, Millsaps was offered a free screening before it is nationally televised.

I jumped on the opportunity to get a free ticket as soon as I saw the email, knowing it would fill up quickly. And it did; the theater was filled with students, Millsaps faculty and staff, members of the community, and National Geographic people. I thought it would be a fascinating documentary and that I would get to hear about Millsaps once or twice. I was wrong about that second part. Within three minutes or so of the film starting, there was Dr. Bey giving an interview to the camera. And that was only the beginning of seeing him and other students that I recognized there on the big screen. It was so exciting.

The director also came to the screening and answered questions from the audience on stage afterwards, along with Dr. Bey and two students, Mandi and Phillip, who worked on the projects.

The National Geographic’s Quest for the Lost Maya airs on PBS on March 28 (check your local listings). I highly encourage everyone to watch it. You’ll learn lots of new things about Mayan life, from how they built beautiful temples and houses, to how they survived droughts, to a political cult that shaped their nations, as well as witness just another reason Millsaps is one incredible institution.

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