I’ve been such a sad sack lately, I decided to switch things up. I got all my schoolwork done by Thursday this week, well there’s reading to do, but Christ, there is always reading to do. Anyway, I did a deep dive into my new school, which I have been meaning to do and found some interesting things I thought I would share with you. If you are so inclined. If not, skip to the last paragraph, I have something to tell you. Anywho, let’s go down a Southern rabbit hole together, shall we?
My MFA program is through Mississippi University for Women, and previously I have shied away from the name because it sounds so horrible. It’s not a woman’s college, though it was for many years. In fact, it was the first college for women in the US, founded in 1884. Unfortunately, it was only for white women. Ho hum. Different times I suppose.
MUW, or “The W” as it is colloquially known, was originally the Industrial Institute and College for the Education of White Girls. I know, I know. I prepared you though. You’ll be happy, or relieved maybe, to know that in 1966 they desegregated and “The Fabulous Six” came to school at “The W.” The Fabulous Six were six Black women from local high schools. They were the first Black women admitted, and thankfully not the last.
Now back to eww. It took a Supreme Court ruling for “The W” to allow men into class. I mean, I’m a little torn on this one. I can see the history of the school, Eudora Welty went there for Christ’s sake, but I can also see how like, I dunno, school’s shouldn’t be divided on gender. It’s a social construct anyway, ya dig.
So in 1982, “The W” became co-ed. Yay! I can’t believe I’m cheering for a win for the patriarchy. (Eye roll)
Hey, speaking of Eudora Welty, which “The W” loves to do, have you guys read “The Ponder Heart”? No? You should! You should also subscribe to The Ponder Review, which is our lit mag created by the MFA students, and I happen to be on staff this year, so, come on, what else do you have to do?!
So our mascot is the Owl. For real. I swooned when I found out. And then promptly bought a day planner with an owl on it. Our campus (which I have yet to visit, since this here global pandemic struck the semester before I started) has been rated one of the most beautiful Southern campuses, and I mean, take a look.
Now I’m partial, obviously. But I did seek out this program. There were a few other schools, some right down the road, that I could have applied to, but I gotta be honest, aside from the amazing tuition (everyone pays in-state tuition) and the instructors, I also really liked the campus and saw myself taking long walks around during residency. Crossing my fingers I will get to do that, eventually.
So there you have it, a bit about a school in Mississippi you have probably never heard of, but you should know about. Because much like other parts of the South, I’m learning that the history, while scary, sad, and sometimes downright ridiculous, is part of all of us, you know.
Give ’em a follow on social media, and, ahem, read The Ponder Review. 🙂
Hey, did you skip this info about some school in the South you don’t care about? That’s okay, I still love you. And listen, I know things are shitty right now, but let’s not take it out on each other, okay. I think, or maybe I know, that this is a time for us to go inward and examine ourselves a bit more. See who we really are. Let’s give it the old college try. Ha, see what I did there. And remember I appreciate you. I thank you for being around. And the world needs you! So keep on keeping on.