Released April 25, 2003
Amy Whitten to Speak At MUW’s Mag Chain
Amy Whitten, a member of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of
Higher Learning, will be the speaker for Mississippi University for
Women’s Magnolia Chain Ceremony, a Commencement Weekend activity, on May
Because Pohl Physical Education and Assembly Building where commencement
is normally held was destroyed by a November 2002 tornado, The W will have
two commencement exercises on Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in
Rent Auditorium, a smaller university facility. The students decided to
have the speaker at the Friday night Magnolia Chain Ceremony.
A seasoned trial attorney, law professor and government leader, Whitten
has devoted her life to the law and the development of highly successful
people and systems.
She currently serves as principal of The Whitten Group, a consulting and
training organization she created in 1996. With offices in Oxford and
Jackson, she also has a private legal practice that focuses primarily on
employment and government law issues.
Whitten has served as an assistant attorney general and prosecuted the
state’s capital docket, the first woman to serve in this role. She also
served the state of Mississippi as counsel and court administrator to the
Mississippi Supreme Court.
Mississippi’s Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2000, Whitten has received the
prestigious Stennis Award for Excellence in State Government, the
Governor’s “Power of One” Award and the Mississippi Bar Award of Merit.
In addition to being a trustee on the IHL Board, she was the first woman
to chair the Mississippi Judicial Performance Commission. Her publications
include “A Guide to Government,” the manual used to train Mississippi’s
public sector managers.
Mag Chain, one of the university’s most treasured traditions, has taken
place in some form since 1890. In the early years, it was made of daisies
and other flowers, but it was decided in 1905 that the state flower was
the most appropriate choice.
Constructed by the sophomores, the magnolia chain is carried by the
seniors singing the “Magnolia Chain Song” from the steps of Poindexter
Hall to Shattuck Lawn where the ceremony is held. The procession is led
by the senior class president who carries a bouquet of daisies in honor of
the graduates who began the ceremony years ago.
After the magnolia chain is laid on the ground, the seniors sing the alma
mater and other special songs, pass down their offices to the rising
senior officers and present the class gift to the university. This year
also will include the announcement of Faculty Member of the Year.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the seniors form a circle around the
magnolia chain, lock arms and sing the “Friendship Circle” song. After the
song is completed, the seniors make a mad dash for a magnolia blossom,
which symbolizes the purity of achievement. The green leaves represent the
growing experiences of the graduates over the past four years.
Tradition holds that graduates who are able to walk away with a magnolia
blossom will find good fortune and romance.
For more information about The W’s commencement activities, please contact
the Office of Public Affairs at (662) 329-7119.