Millsaps College was founded in 1890 by Major Reuben Millsaps with support from other Mississippi Methodists. Millsaps has been committed to engaging the surrounding community and addressing social issues since its inception. The original charter for the college includes a statement that every effort will be made to make the Millsaps College education available to the “poorer classes of this State.” In recent years, the College has sought to be even more purposeful in its engagement with surrounding communities. Programs like One Campus One Community and the Faith & Work Initiative have led these efforts. The College’s current strategic plan focuses on engagement “Across the Street and Around the Globe.” The Shepherd Consortium offers Millsaps the opportunity to continue to build on these efforts with a specific focus on poverty.
The college offers 32 undergraduate majors and 41 minors. Millsaps was the first college or university in the state of Mississippi to be awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The College is also home to an AACSB-accredited business school that offers classes and degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The student enrollment is 985 with approximately 86 percent of the undergraduate students residential.
The poverty studies curriculum at Millsaps seeks to build on the existing coursework and opportunities offered by other sister programs and to give students the opportunity to focus on poverty as a central issue in the surrounding community and larger world today. An interdisciplinary course entitled “The Many Dimensions of Poverty” was taught for the first time by Dr. Louwanda Evans in the spring semester of 2013. That course will be taught on a regular basis and will serve as the gateway for poverty studies at Millsaps. The course involves a strong community engagement component that partners students with community partners. This year’s community partners included Operation Upward and the Mississippi Food Network.
Millsaps envisions a wide range of coursework related to poverty studies during the coming years. This coursework will undoubtedly build on existing classes and offer opportunities for faculty to develop new courses that build on the founding principles of the College and enhance its ongoing efforts in community engagement and making a lasting positive difference in the society of which we are a part.
Dr. Julian M. Murchison
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Chair, Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Academic Director & Governing Board Member
Assistant Professor of Sociology