With his admission, James Meredith became one of the heroic figures of the American civil rights movement, succeeding against every legal, political and bureaucratic obstacle that blocked his path. His persistence opened the door for thousands, setting an example for every student of what even one individual can accomplish.
While these historic events serve as markers of how far we’ve come as a nation, state and university, they also push us to strive even harder to be a safe and welcoming campus for all students. The integration of Ole Miss in 1962 profoundly changed this university’s vision and character for the better, and we are committed to building upon that legacy. We see the next 60 years as a time to achieve more – to establish the highest levels of academic excellence, to prepare great leaders for every profession, to increase service projects across Mississippi and around the world, and to open the doors of higher education to all students willing to do the work required by a flagship university, whatever their race, nationality, background or economic circumstance.
“One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, courageously and with a majestic sense of purpose, facing jeering and hostile mobs with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer…”
Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963