About the University of Mississippi
Purpose of the University
A university is a community of men and women devoted to the preservation, increase, and application of knowledge. As a major research university, the University of Mississippi is dedicated to the service of Mississippi and the nation through the threefold functions of teaching, research, and public service.
Undergraduate students develop intellectual keenness and imagination, clarify spiritual and ethical values, and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for an effective life of service in the complex society of our time. Advanced students lay the scholarly foundations for the practice of their professions, while others prepare to carry on the traditions of learning as scholars and scientists.
A true university is not content merely to preserve and transmit the fund of knowledge and ideas received from the past. Its faculty and students together push forward the frontiers of knowledge in all branches of the sciences and arts. They study and evaluate the great ideas and beliefs of world civilization. No significant problem of the state or nation is remote from the university’s concern.
The knowledge and research skills of the faculty and staff are available, on the campus and throughout the state, to aid public officials and private citizens in solving their practical problems.
Barnard’s Vision for the University
In 1858, Chancellor Frederick A.P. Barnard laid before the board of trustees and the people of the state a plan for the University of Mississippi that still embodies its principal concerns and valid goals. He proposed “a university in the largest acceptation of that term . . . an institution in which the highest learning is taught in every walk of human knowledge.” Its purpose was “the high and noble work of training immortal minds to vigor and capacitating them for usefulness.” Barnard saw that “the university is destined to act, invisibly it may be sometimes, but always powerfully, in every county, district, and neighborhood in the State. [Only] a fraction of the people will receive their personal instruction within the university halls, yet all, without exception, will be partakers of the benefits of which the university is the fountainhead and central source.” Its destiny is “to do more than any other single cause to stamp upon the intellectual character of Mississippi the impress it is to wear, to determine the respectability of the State in the eyes of mankind, to stimulate her industry, to multiply the sources of her material wealth, to elevate and purify the tastes of her people, to enlarge their capacities for happiness, and to enable them to fill up those capacities by supplying them with continually growing means of rational enjoyment.”
The University of Mississippi is a community of teachers and students bound together by a common love for learning and by their cooperative efforts to preserve and increase our intellectual heritage. Good learning increases, minds are creative, and knowledge is turned to useful purposes when men and women are free to question, free to seek answers, free to learn, and free to teach. The university therefore supports and defends intellectual and academic freedom.