When you think of Mississippi, the images of charming rivers and green marshes are the first thought of many. Originally established in 1817, the state is home to 37 colleges. However, no campus is quite as beautiful as Ole Miss – the University of Mississippi.
The most beautiful college campus in Mississippi is the University of Mississippi. Found in Oxford, the University of Mississippi has 220 major buildings. Keep reading to learn more about the most beautiful college campus in Mississippi.
Demographic Data on the University of Mississippi
- Student population: Approximately 24,000
- Acceptance rate: 89.7%
- Graduation rate: 65.1%
- Minimum SAT score: 960
- Minimum ACT score: 18
- Total size of campus: 3,497 acres
At the University of Mississippi, students have the option of in-person learning or using the online campus.
University of Mississippi Location – Oxford
The University of Mississippi is located in Oxford, which is in central Lafayette County. Found in northern Mississippi, this land is known for its forested landscape, featuring red clay hills. The elevation changes a lot, which is easy to see when you drive on the Highway 6 bypass where the ridges transect. While the University of Mississippi is at one of these ridges, the drive to Oxford’s downtown area takes you to the other.
Spanning 26.7 square miles, Oxford is the home to 26,430 residents, and students make up the vast population. Nearby cities include Porterton, Altus, and Taylor. It is 163 miles away from Mississippi’s capital city – Jackson. Warmer seasons tend to be muggy and hot. During the coldest time of the year, temperatures are still in the low 50s, making winters milder. Still, Oxford continues to be one of the best college towns in the country.
Ole Miss was the first university in the state in 1844. Though it only had 80 students during its first few years, tens of thousands of students make up the diverse and widespread students nowadays.
Historic Sites in Oxford
If you choose to grace the Ole Miss campus in Oxford, you open the door to many different historical sites. These sites open your mind to deeper learning, making it possible to bear witness to some of the most notable buildings and sculptures of yesteryear.
One of the nearby historical sights you might visit first is Isom Place. Built in the 1800s, this house’s inhabitants paved the way for the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Isom Place gets its name from Dr. Thomas Isom who hosted his medical practice there for 60 years. Dr. Isom’s daughter – Sarah McGehee Isom – was the first female to work on the faculty at the University of Mississippi. As of April 2021, anyone can book it as a venue for their event.
James Meredith Statue
In 2006, the University of Mississippi paid tribute to James Meredith with a statue as a Civil Rights Memorial. The statue stands as a reminder of the hard fight that citizens pursued to get an education in the South. Find it on the Ole Miss campus behind the Lyceum. Meredith’s denial of admission to the college led to major changes in the diversity of Ole Miss over the next 60 years.
Rowan Oak was the house of William Faulkner, the Nobel Prize-winning author. Characterized by incredible Greek Revival architecture on 29 acres of forested area, Faulkner wrote the majority of his masterpieces in this home. Since its restoration, this property has been open to the public all year, allowing you to immerse yourself in 19th-century Mississippi.
Local Oxford Housing
With so many locals residing near the college, it offers a great neighborhood for anyone who prefers a suburban feel. Many residents rent, rather than buy, their homes. Oxford received praise as one of the top places for young professionals to live in the state, and they rank 4th of all Mississippi cities for their public-school quality.
Oxford’s Entertainment and Cuisine
Trying out local cuisine is a must for any local or tourist. While the food scene previously had little to offer, the entry of new and young chefs makes every experience better than the last. Like much of Mississippi, Southern-style comfort food is around every corner. With steakhouses, breakfast diners, and taco shops by the locals, there is something for everyone.
With an active and diverse music scene, the proximity to cities like Memphis and Nashville offers a clear influence on music. Country and blues music blasts through the speakers of many of the most popular restaurants, offering thick melodies and incredible vocals.
Other Beautiful Colleges in Mississippi
If the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus isn’t enough to entice you, the state is home to many beautiful campuses and sceneries. Here are a few other colleges that catch the eye of their students and faculty every morning:
- Jackson State University (Jackson)
- Mississippi University for Women (Columbus)
- Mississippi Valley State University (Itta Bena)
- Mississippi College (Clinton)
- Belhaven University (Jackson)
- Tougaloo College (Tougaloo)
- Millsaps College (Jackson)
- William Carey University (Hattiesburg)
Beautiful Features of the University of Mississippi
The University of Mississippi spans 1,200 beautifully landscaped acres, offering an eclectic balance of lush plant life and exquisite architecture.
Neoclassical Revival Architecture
The entire college centers around the formation of eight academic buildings, which line up around the common. While the first buildings in the Neoclassical Revival style were the Lyceum and the Y Building in 1848 and 1853 (respectively), the college chose to add another six buildings in this style later. Its use changed through the years, starting as the campus library before becoming a School of Law (1911), the Department of Geology (1963), and the College of Liberal Arts (1993).
Victorian Romanesque Style
In 1889, the campus added Ventress Hall, making it the first significant building added after the Civil War ended. It used the Victorian Romanesque style as the main influence, featuring thick walls and sturdy pillars to complement the decorative arcades. The stained-glass windows, tall trees, and welcoming ambiance make it one of the most notable places on campus.
Controversial Georgian Revival Architecture
When architect Frank P. Gates was added to the University of Mississippi in 1939 and 1930, he brought the distinguished style of Georgian architecture from New England and Great Britain, creating a colonial appearance to each of the college’s houses. While this adaptation became one of the most prominent features of Ole Miss, it came initially with a lot of controversy. The buildings still feature his work at Barr Hall, Bondurant Hall, Farley Hall, Faulkner Hall, and others.
Vibrant Long-Standing Trees
The Ole Miss campus is known for its beautiful trees, and a lot of work goes into maintaining it. Landscape Services plants 400-800 trees for the campus every year, continually adding to the soft yet stoic look of the campus.
If you want a moment to take it all in, the university offers the Ole Miss Tree Trail. Along this trail, you get a chance to see the many varieties of oak, elm, magnolia, and pine trees. They even have two “Champion Trees” along the trail – the Osage Orange and the Northern Catalpa. If you want a glimpse of the willow oak trees George and Martha (named for the late President and first lady), take a walk to the J.D. Williams Library.
Outdoor Excursions for Students
Even though the acres of trees offer a beautiful backdrop for college life, the Department of Recreation (i.e., Campus Recreation) has off-campus opportunities for local nature. Ole Miss Outdoors offers multiple trips per semester to go on boating, camping, and cycling excursions nearby.
Campus Life at the University of Mississippi
Academics and Research
Ole Miss is the place to go for undergraduate and graduate opportunities. With class sizes of no more than 20 students per teacher, every experience allows students to have the special attention they need to pursue marketing, education, and other degrees.
Students have the chance to partake in many grant programs to cover their costs, including the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. As one of the leading centers for research, the university is also the home of the only cannabis facility that the government federally contracted. At its medical center, doctors performed the first animal-to-human heart transplant and the first lung transplant for a human.
This university is home to the Ole Miss Rebels in the NCAA. They offer men’s and women’s varsity teams for basketball, cross country, golf, tennis, and track and field.
Part of the appeal of the University of Mississippi is the incredible landscape. The management team for gardening and maintenance plants hundreds of trees annually, helping them to maintain the dense greenery found around the campus.
Along with the many opportunities to get involved in the college’s Greek life, the University of Mississippi has two recreation centers. Students use these centers to participate in intramural sports, yoga, swimming, and more. Plus, they offer a Rebel Challenge Course for anyone who wants a little more competition. With the Campus Recreation program, many of these employees are students so more people accumulate workforce skills that they need for the future.
Wildlife Near the University of Mississippi
Ole Miss is right in the thick of many different wildlife reserves, so seeing any kind of wildlife is common. Some people call their local animal control office for pests like bats and squirrels, but a hike in one of the many forests gives you a peak at some unique animals. Since the conservative side in this state has an affinity for hunting and fishing, always be careful and wear clothing that makes it easy to differentiate from local games.
With substantial forestation, the white-tailed deer lives fairly comfortably nearby, though local laws allow them to be hunted to keep the population under control. While black bears rarely come out, they are one of the major predators to be aware of as you hike.
If you want a safer way to view some local wildlife, the Safari Wild Animal Park is only a short drive from campus. It allows you to take a safer peek at local wildlife, including Mississippi’s state bird – the Northern Mockingbird.
Plant Life at the University of Mississippi
Much of the university’s campus is covered by various tree species that they plant every year. Mississippi has over 2,700 different plants that grow within its borders. With so many acres of the state covered in trees, local forests have about 200 different species that grow in Mississippi natively. Neighboring forests in Oxford have the perfect climate for Virginia pine and Loblolly pines.
In the northern area of the state, oaks and history trees grow freely over the landscape. As you take a nature walk through the forests. Keep an eye out for white oak, northern red oak, and cherry bark trees.
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