On February 24, 1844, the State Legislature laid the foundation for public higher education in Mississippi. The University of Mississippi enrolled its first students four years later.
Then came Alcorn State, the nation’s first land grant college for African-Americans, soon followed by Jackson State, Mississippi’s only urban university.
An “agricultural, horticultural and mechanical” college came next. Today, we know it as Mississippi State. Mississippi University for Women was the first all female public college in the country.
Originally founded for teacher training, the University of Southern Mississippi is now our third largest school.
The two youngest members of our university family are Delta State, founded in 1924, and Mississippi Valley State, founded in 1946.
Today, these eight institutions now enroll more than eighty thousand student annually.
For more interesting facts about Mississippi's 200-year history, watch a new interstitial each week of 2017 with Mississippi: A Thread Through Time on MPB TV.