August 8, 2009 10:08:00 PM
What''s in a name? A lot. It is who and what you are. When Claudia Limbert became President of Mississippi University for Women, it was a vibrant, cutting edge, small state supported school for both men and women. It had an intercollegiate athletic program, an active and engaged alumni association, and a pre-college enrichment program, PEP, that actively recruited the best and brightest high school juniors. When I attempted to form a Virginia Alumnae Chapter with the over 400 alumni in Virginia, I received enthusiastic assistance from the Alumni Office.
What changed all that? Claudia Limbert. Under her administration, the University has been gutted. It no longer offers intercollegiate sports, the Alumnae Association has been disaffiliated, the PEP program canceled, the Demonstration School closed, the Alumni Office attacked and left in disarray with little stability and no budget to assist those alumni who desperately want to continue to support the University.
The W still has a lot going for it. It certainly has a top-notch faculty, enthusiastic students and is an economic engine in Columbus and Lowndes County. Now Limbert proposes to change the name. If she was hired to dismantle the school, she has done a good job. If she was hired to lead the school into the 21st century, she has done a lousy job.
The problem is not the name. For years it has been known as "The W" and can continue to be marketed as such if she wants to avoid the word "women."
The problem is the President and her advisers. I hope that the Mississippi legislature can see Limbert''s Folly for what it is: Incompetence.
Jill Bethune Wood
MSCW Class of 1965