Mississippi University for Women saw some pretty big changes around campus during the 2018-19 school year. From a new president to campus safety programs, there was plenty going on.
Nora Miller was inaugurated as the President of the university, making her the first alumni to be named president. She took over after former president Dr. Jim Borsig stepped down.
She didn’t waste any time getting down to business, either. In her first year of presidency, she saw the project to renovate Turner Hall to near completion. Turner will serve as the Speech-Language Pathology Department’s building. That department will relocate to Turner Hall from Cromwell, where it is now housed.
“[Turner] is supposed to be turned over to us in June, and we’re thinking it might actually be earlier than that,” said Miller. “So we should be having classes for Speech-Language Pathology in August in Turner Hall.”
She is also excited about the project to demolish Taylor and Kearn, the two twin-residence halls on the front of campus near Shattuck Hall. They will be torn down in order to clear an area for the construction of a new Culinary Arts building.
“We’ve got a bid date set for next month, and we’ll know then how many days that the contractors are thinking it will take,” said Miller.
University officials hope that the demolition will be completed before students return in the fall.
These construction projects were not the only new additions to The W’s campus. There was also a new campus safety program enacted by the campus police department.
“The Night Owls [program] was started in the fall of 2018,” said Randy Vibrock, who was named the new chief of police at The W in August of 2018. “This was a new program that we started to promote campus safety. We wanted to give students, faculty and staff an alternative to moving around campus on foot in the night time hours.”
The Night Owls employs students to escort people around campus at night in an effort to make the campus a safer place for everyone.
“When faculty, students or staff calls to request transport, a student worker (Night Owl) will come to their location and transport them to wherever they want to go within university property,” said Vibrock.
According to Vibrock, the police department is constantly looking for ways to make the campus a safer place, and the Night Owls program was a logical step in the right direction.
In light of the successful implementation of the program, Vibrock does not foresee any drastic changes.
“The Night Owls program you see now will probably be the same program we have in the fall of 2019,” said Vibrock.
Change is necessary for progress, and Miller wholeheartedly embraces that.
“The W is a wonderful place, and we’re changing every day,” said Miller. “We’re never the same as we were. So, there will be new things coming, and we will continue moving forward, but it’s always about providing the best opportunities for students.”