FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2009
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Alumna Dr. Bridget Pieschel to speak at MUW Mag Chain ceremony
COLUMBUS, Miss. - Mississippi University for Women alumna Dr. Bridget Smith Pieschel will address graduates at one of the university’s most treasured traditions, Mag Chain, on Saturday, May 9. The event will begin at 8 a.m. on Shattuck Lawn.
Pieschel currently serves as director of MUW’s Center for Women’s
Research and Public Policy, formerly known as the Southern Women’s Institute. The CWRPP’s research focuses on all issues affecting women and girls, and particularly on the history of MUW and women’s education. It offers students the opportunity for hands-on primary research in women’s studies and women’s issues. The center’s student/alumnae collaborative Oral History Program recently resulted in the publication of “Golden Days: Reminiscences of MSCW Alumnae 1926-1957” by University Press of Mississippi.
Her career at MUW also includes previously serving as the director of
the Honors Program and head of the Division of Humanities.
She was the recipient of the MUW Medal of Excellence in 2005 and each year, presents to various civic and student groups about MUW’s history and 19th century women’s education.
A native Mississippian who grew up in Winston and Calhoun counties,
Pieschel received a bachelor of science in English in 1979, graduating summa cum laude from MUW. She also holds a master’s degree in English from MUW and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Alabama.
She he is married to MUW English professor emeritus Stephen Pieschel with whom she co-authored the centennial history of MUW in “Loyal Daughters.”
They have five children and two grandchildren.
Mag Chain has taken place in some form since 1890. During this event, the magnolia chain is carried by seniors singing the “Magnolia Chain Song” from the front of Columbus 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. Daisies are carried because the magnolia chain was originally made of daisies and other flowers.
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.
Tradition holds that graduates who are able to walk away with a
magnolia blossom will find good fortune and romance.
Practices for the ceremony will be held May 6 at 11:30 a.m. in Hogarth
Auditorium, May 7 at 4 p.m. on Shattuck Lawn and May 8 at 2:30 p.m. on Shattuck Lawn.
A CD of Mag Chain songs will be available for $1 at the practices. For
more information, contact Sharon Holcomb at 241-6063.