October 8, 2010 11:24:00 AM
Despite the down economy and crippling state budget cuts, Mississippi University for Women''s interim president, Allegra Brigham, reported there are more than a few rays of sunshine emanating from the Columbus college.
Speaking Wednesday at a quarterly meeting of Town and Tower, which brings members of the community and the school together, Brigham said that enrollment was up on campus, even as the school continues to ramp up enrollment to its online V3 College.
The school has a fall enrollment of 2,588, a 5 percent increase over last fall, and the first time enrollment has jumped over 2,500 since 2000.
The school is also still receiving national accolades. U.S. News and World Report''s annual "America''s Best Colleges" guide put MUW in the top tier of Best Regional Universities. The W was the highest-ranked school from Mississippi in the Southern category.
Brigham also stressed the role The W plays in the community. A job fair held this week at the school drew more than 1,000 job seekers applying to companies including Toyota, American Eurocopter and Severstal. Art exhibits, speakers, theater productions and other special events draw locals and visitors to the campus.
On the horizon is the Welty Gala on Oct. 14, which will feature Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin.
Also coming up in coming weeks are an Oktoberfest Celebration on Oct. 19; the Eudora Welty Writers'' Symposium on Oct. 21; and the play "12 Angry Jurors" on Oct. 28. Students and the public are gathering to make bowls for the Empty Bowls charity event, planned for Nov. 6.
(For a full list of events on campus, go to the school''s website, www.muw.edu.)
"MUW has been a thread that has tied together this community for a long time," Brigham said.
We agree wholeheartedly. We can''t imagine Columbus, or the Golden Triangle, without The W, and what it offers us and gives back to us.