February 13, 2009
While the Mississippi University for Women is grappling with a name change, the disaffiliated alumni association that has supported it for 119 years already has changed its name.
MUW Alumnae Association Thursday announced its new name: Mississippi''s First Alumnae Association.
"For the first time in nearly 120 years, the original and historic association of alumnae and alumni of Mississippi University for Women will be known by a name different than the university it supports," a press release sent by the association reads.
The name change comes after a long-fought battle with the school and its president, Claudia Limbert, who in February 2007 disaffiliated with the group. The then-MUW Alumnae Association filed suit in March of the same year asking Chancery Court Judge Dorothy Colom to halt the disaffiliation. Colom ruled Limbert had overstepped her bounds and was interfering with the nature of the association as a separate entity from the college.
In November, the state Supreme Court sided with Limbert, saying she had the right to cut ties with the MUWAA. So the disaffiliation stood, and the MUWAA was barred from using the university''s names or symbols.
"The Alumnae Association, which was formed in 1889 to support the first graduating class at what is now MUW, will not only have a new name, it will also have a new non-profit status," the release reads.
"Both changes follow the resolution of the organization''s long-standing legal dispute with the university it has sought to support," it continues.
On Feb. 2, the Alumnae Association received notice that its request for a rehearing in the state''s high court was denied.
But the alumni allied with the old alum group say they''ll still support MUW.
"The association is carrying on its efforts to represent alumnae and alumni, and we''re continuing its good work and service to our beloved W," said Kym Gore, president of Mississippi''s First Alumnae Association.
The Alumnae Association has been carrying on its regular schedule of programs and meetings, Gore said.
The group''s January board meeting was held off campus after the University''s attorney notified the group they would not be allowed to use campus facilities or communicate with university employees, according to the release.
"Our organization has dedicated itself to MUW for nearly 120 years, and we will continue to work for the benefit of MUW for at least the next 120 years," added Gore.
"Whether the association is affiliated or not, our goal is the same -- to support MUW and her mission."
For news from Mississippi''s First Alumnae Association, visit http://www.msfirstalumnae.com.