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Division of Student Affairs

Call to Action from Former University Leaders

Three long-time, high-ranking campus leaders at Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss, all retired, are reaching out to former students and alumni, asking them to strongly advocate to change the Mississippi state flag.

Jimmy Abraham Joe Paul Sparky Reardon

A Message from Dr. Joe Paul, Vice President for Student Affairs Emeritus

The University of Southern Mississippi

Proud to call these two friends and colleagues.

Dear Former Students of Ours; Bulldogs, Golden Eagles and Rebels,

We are writing to ask for your help. We knew you when you were our students. Whether you were an officer, a resident assistant, a student recruiter or in any other way active on campus or one of our great students with whom we got to meet when you dropped by our offices, we fondly remember how important you were to the life of our campuses. You made our institutions better by your hard work, by your willingness to challenge us, by your asking important and thoughtful questions, and by affecting changes which last until today. We three are all retired now from our beloved universities, but believe that our work lives on through you.

While some of us may not have spoken to you in years, we remember you and we will never forget you. We care about you. And, we care about the state of Mississippi.

The three of us have over 100 years of combined experience in working with college students at Mississippi’s three largest universities. We live in a state with great potential and you are that potential. While Mississippi has come a long way from its tumultuous past, we still have a long way to go.

At Southern Miss, State, and Ole Miss we served as your advocates. We are now asking and encouraging you to advocate for the state of Mississippi by involving yourselves in changing the state flag. It’s time.

The reasons for changing the flag are obvious and have been well documented. When you hear the justification that “the people voted in 2001…”, remember, many of you were not old enough to vote or weren’t even born!

For those of you who hold dearly to the flag as it is, you are our students and we value and respect you, and we hope you will think about how the current flag is holding our state back.

Now is the time to get involved. Contact state officials, specifically the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the house, and your state legislators. Express to them about how you feel that it’s time to change the flag. Work within your arenas of influence to build momentum to make the change. Choose to support one of the alternative proposed state flags. Start or sign existing petitions to be sent to our leaders. Take to social media pushing for change. Support businesses that promote an alternative flag.

We know you have the power to make change one voice at a time. You changed each of us in many ways for the better. You changed our campuses for the better. You can change the flag and in turn help send a message that Mississippi is a place that respects all of her people.

Let's get busy. It’s time.

Dr. Jimmy Abraham, Former Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Alumni Association Executive Director
Mississippi State University

Dr. Joe Paul, Vice President for Student Affairs Emeritus
The University of Southern Mississippi

Dr. Sparky Reardon, Dean of Students Emeritus
The University of Mississippi

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