October 22, 2009 11:06:00 AM
I am writing this letter to say that I strongly support the proposed new name, Reneau University for MUW. I am a graduate of MSCW, now MUW, Class of 1945. I taught in the Art Department at MUW from 1949 to 1985.
I have known seven presidents (some were interim) to govern that institution and I have said publicly (in an e-mail about four years ago) that I thinkDr. Claudia Limbert is the best one of all.
Why? Because she has the courage to make tough decisions that she and her advisers think are for the good of the school, even though she knew there would be opposition.
And the opposition has been fierce.
I have apologized to her on behalf of some Mississippians who have made her life in our state miserable, but she said to me recently, "but you know how the human mind works ... after you leave a place, you tend to forget anything bad and remember only the good times you had there, and I have had many good times."
At the Aug. 10 Faculty Convocation when she announced the new name, Reneau, I was pleased to hear all the speakers praise Dr. Limbert for her courage in taking action on this emotional issue while her predecessors could not bring themselves to touch it. I remember it has been talked about for a good many years, even before Claudia Limbert came.
I have welcomed a number of important changes at my alma mater over the years, and each one was for the better of the school: (l) the end of wearing the navy blue uniform; (2) changing the name from MSCW to MUW; (3) the U. S. Supreme Court ruling to admit men; (4) the admission of black students; (5) hiring a diverse faculty.
When I was a student at MSCW, the faculty consisted of Caucasian, mostly Southern men and women, and there were more men faculty than women. It is interesting to read in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of 1982 the fact that there had never been a woman president was quite an issue in their decision (was that a way that men kept women in their place?).
MUW is a large business that contributes much to the economy of Columbus and Lowndes County and beyond, and I am sure all of us want this institution to survive and thrive. The Link, the City Council, the Board of supervisors, the Mayor, the Mississippi Economic Council have all voiced their support for a name change. I hope our local people in the legislature can find the courage to support it, too. And I hope they can find the courage to make it Reneau University.
1. Slim Smith: Happy Birthday, Mississippi LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Ask Rufus: The Columbus landscape of 1817 LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Possumhaw: A Christmas tree and two small gifts LOCAL COLUMNS
5. Our View: Citizens ill-served by city's timid response to CPD leadership DISPATCH EDITORIALS