Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications - 2017
People are the most important component propelling our state’s vitality and growth.
As Mississippians, each of us is vested in the vitality of our great state and the quality of life for our people. Even if they never set foot on one of our seven campuses, all Mississippians benefit from the University of Mississippi. This goes beyond our $2.9 billion impact equal to approximately 2.6% of the total gross state product of Mississippi. It goes beyond that our activities support one out of every 37 jobs in Mississippi. It even goes beyond that for every dollar of public money invested in educating students, taxpayers receive an average of $4.40 in return, an annual rate of return of 10.6%. The University of Mississippi matters because we develop future leaders, drive job and business creation, pioneer new solutions and serve our neighbors and communities.
People are the most important component propelling our state’s vitality and growth. As a flagship university, we educate, mentor and guide students on their paths to becoming the next generation of leaders to meet current needs and future challenges. Ole Miss graduates are pursuing successful careers and have been named best in the state at finding employment and keeping it, with data showing an employment rate of 91.42% for our students 10 years after graduation. They are also building fulfilling lives and will receive $1.8 billion in higher future earnings over their working lives because of their education.
We also inspire and facilitate new discoveries, innovations and entrepreneurial ventures. For instance, our researchers are “listening” to tornadoes through infrasound to develop technology that could revolutionize detecting and tracking tornadoes and save lives by improving early warning systems in our communities. And, in studies vital to public health, our biomedical engineering researchers are examining cytoskeletal diseases such as cancer and heart disease as well as new treatments for metastatic breast cancer.
Leading in patient care, education and research activities, the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson is one of the state’s largest employers, with roughly 10,000 employees. A recent study revealed that UMMC added $1.6 billion in income to the Mississippi economy. And, as the state’s only academic medical center, it provides unique services to all Mississippians including the state’s only children’s hospital, the only Level 1 trauma center, the only Level 4 neonatal intensive care nursery and the only organ transplant program.
At its core, UMMC is Mississippians serving Mississippians with most UMMC graduates staying in our state to practice. They are instrumental in caring for Mississippi families. And, the net impact of UMMC’s former students employed in the state workforce amounts to nearly $400 million in added income. In recent years, UMMC has expanded its leadership in telehealth to become one of only two designated National Telehealth Centers of Excellence in the country. This means that even more of the state’s population benefits from the innovative health care provided by the Medical Center.
In addition to leading in health care, the university collaborates regularly with industry partners. As one example, the recent Mississippi Forge Forward Summit on our Oxford campus brought together representatives from the defense and manufacturing industries, government and education to engage in critical conversations around preparing the Mississippi workforce to meet the future needs of the defense industry.
Another area important to Mississippi is manufacturing, employing nearly 13% of the state’s workforce. The university’s Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME) was created more than a decade ago as the Toyota plant was located in Blue Springs. CME produces 60 graduates a year educated in the principles of accounting, business and engineering through the lens of manufacturing. This unique hands-on approach has allowed students to be immersed in real-world opportunities with modern manufacturing partners across Mississippi. With a job placement rate consistently at or near 100%, CME graduates embark on successful careers in the advanced manufacturing sector and address unmet regional and national needs for STEM professionals.
Serving Oxford and communities across Mississippi is deep-seated in our DNA. This includes student-driven efforts such as RebelTHON, our annual danceathon that has raised more than $1 million for Children’s of Mississippi over the last decade. It also includes efforts by the university’s Community First Research Center for Wellbeing and Creative Achievement to provide nutritionally vulnerable households access to valuable food supplies with funding support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Started in 2020 in Charleston, this food prescription program has expanded to Quitman County and seeks to reduce food insecurity and increase access to nutrition education.
Our impact also extends to supporting and shaping future community leaders. The Trent Lott Leadership Institute’s “Pathways to Leadership” program provides valuable training for high school students on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to become strong community leaders effecting positive change in their hometowns. Additionally, the McLean Entrepreneurial Leadership Program provides a weeklong summer entrepreneurial leadership program for high school students to develop action-oriented solutions for their own communities.
As Mississippi’s flagship university, our mission is fueled by our commitment to build legacies and a brighter future for the Magnolia State. We do this by offering high-quality education and engaging in groundbreaking endeavors to enrich quality of life and tackle some of society’s most pressing challenges. Our legacy is our transformative role for Mississippi: developing leaders, driving job creation, pioneering new technologies and serving our communities.