FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2004
Contact: Edmond McDavis III
Gov. Barbour and Judge Muirhead
to speak at MUW Magnolia Chain ceremony
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Mississippi University for Women’s 2004 graduates will
be treated to two guest speakers at this year’s Magnolia Chain ceremony
Saturday, May 15, at 9 a.m. on Shattuck Lawn.
Gov. Haley Barbour and Judge Jean Denman Muirhead will speak at the
time-honored tradition, which will precede the 119th commencement.
Barbour, the recently inaugurated Republican governor of Mississippi was
elected on Nov. 4, 2003, in the largest turnout in a gubernatorial
election in state history.
He earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1973.
Barbour served as an advisor to President Ronald Reagan for two years as
director of the White House Office of Political Affairs during the
>From 1993 to January 1997, Barbour served two terms as chairman of the
Republican National Committee, including the 1994 elections when
Republicans won GOP control of both houses of Congress for the first
time in 40 years.
In 2000, Barbour served as one of 10 members of then Gov. George W.
Bush’s National Presidential Exploratory Committee and chaired Bush’s
Washington Campaign Advisory Committee.
Barbour also founded and formerly served as chair and CEO of Barbour,
Griffith and Rogers, which Fortune magazine ranked the nation’s top
He is a native of Yazoo City where he lives with his wife, Marsha. They
have two sons.
Muirhead retired in 2002, almost 55 years in the workplace, after having
transferred to Nashville from the Social Security Administrations’
Office of Hearings & Appeals headquarters near Washington, D.C.
For four years she was in charge of OHA’s Division of Medicare,
responsible for providing hearings in Medicare cases throughout the
United States and its territories. She also served for 11 months as the
acting deputy to OHA’s chief judge and chief administrative law judge in
the Memphis Hearings Office for five years.
>From 1980 to 1987, she served as administrative judge with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission in Birmingham, Ala., and Charlotte,
She practiced law in Mississippi for 13 years and served in the
Mississippi Senate from 1968 to 1972. During this time, she authored
legislation that allowed Mississippi women to serve on state court
juries and appointed the first female pages in the Mississippi Senate.
Muirhead attended the Jackson School of Law now Mississippi College
School of Law, having earlier enrolled at Delta State when she was 15
and going back to graduate with her Charleston high school class a year
Currently, she volunteers at the Nashville Public Library and with the
city’s adult literacy program.
Muirhead is the mother of three and has three grandchildren. She is the
niece of the late Annie Mae Denman, who graduated in 1919 from what is
The Magnolia Chain is symbolic of the link between all MUW graduates and
the future success of the class of 2004.
The chain, made from magnolia leaves and blossoms, is woven by the
members of the sophomore class, the sister class to the seniors. Seniors
who leave the ceremony with a magnolia blossom are guaranteed a bright
Conferring of degrees for Education and Human Sciences, Fine and
Performing Arts, Health and Kinesiology and Humanities will be at 11
a.m. at Rent Auditorium in Whitfield Hall. Conferring of degrees for
Business and Communication, Culinary Arts, Nursing and Science and
Mathematics will be at 2:30 p.m. in the same location.