Mississippi is known for many things — home to Cruisin’ The Coast (where thousands of classic cars visit every fall), the All American Rose Garden, wonderful museums, stellar deep sea fishing adventures, the birthplace of Elvis Presley, fantastic seafood, and much more. Throughout this great state, another noteworthy claim to fame includes universities with a rich background of academic excellence, especially when it comes to the history of the University of Mississippi.

The foundation of UM can be traced back to 1844 when it was chartered by the Mississippi Legislature. Four years later, it officially opened the doors to 80 students and served as the only public institution of higher learning for 23 years, and was the state’s only comprehensive university for 110 years. Before 1900, the university accomplished a number of firsts — first in the country to offer engineering education, first in the South to admit women and the first to hire a female faculty member.

Well known for its nickname “Ole Miss,” the University of Mississippi is the flagship school of the state in the city of Oxford, which was named after the city of Oxford in England. The city also has served as a home for literary inspiration, especially from one of UM’s former students, William Faulkner. The university offers a significant collection of work from the renown Mississippi writer and Nobel Prize winner, as well as an opportunity to study Faulkner through the Department of English and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

Fast forward to the present day, and impressive numbers reflect how Ole Miss has grown to become an outstanding educational beacon for students around the world:

  • UM is located in north Mississippi and is situated on nearly 3,500 acres of stunning landscape, which has been nationally recognized as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.
  • The student body has an enrollment of more than 23,000 that represents 86-plus countries around the world.
  • Students have the option to choose from 100 programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional study within 15 academic divisions.
  • The UM Medical Center in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, has garnered impressive accolades with surgeons performing the first human lung transplant in 1963 and the first heart transplant one year later.

And here’s a fun fact about one of the university’s many distinctions: As part of the SEC football conference, fans take their tailgating very seriously! Every Friday night before a Saturday game day, a horn blows and the fan rush begins to stake a spot within 10 grassy acres of space called The Grove to prepare for a tailgating experience like no other — lined tents with elaborate setups, including chandeliers! This tradition has earned the university the title “The Holy Grail of Tailgating.”

Ole Miss also has a stand-out list of notable names who called the Oxford campus home, including writers, athletes, celebrities, politicians, etc. — Michael Oher, John Grisham, James Meredith, Kate Jackson, Shepard Smith, and Eli Manning, just to name a few.

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