OMWC Welcomes New Chancellor and First Lady
OXFORD, Miss. – This past weekend, Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy members, Rose Society members and Women’s Council scholars gathered at the Brandt Memory House to officially welcome Chancellor Jeffrey and first lady Sharon Vitter to the University of Mississippi.
Decked out in Grove attire, members mingled over a brunch before heading to the Ole Miss men’s basketball game against Arkansas. Chancellor Vitter also addressed guests during the event and shared his excitement to be working at the university and with the Women’s Council.
During the brunch, it was also officially announced that Sharon Vitter had accepted an invitation to become an honorary member of OMWC.
“The Women’s Council offered Mrs. Vitter an honorary membership because she brings prestige and perspective to the council as the wife of the chancellor,” said Karen Moore, chair of OMWC. Lydia Jones and Margaret Khayat both joined the council as honorary members, and we are thrilled that Sharon would agree to continue this tradition.
“We want her to know about our scholarship, mentorship and leadership programs, and it is one way for her to learn about, and become involved with, the Ole Miss family and students. Sharon has already become involved with our programs by joining the Rose Society with the chancellor. We see her becoming involved in many aspects of our program, on and off campus.”
Sharon Vitter, a native of Kansas, graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in pharmacy. After marrying Jeff Vitter, she took on a different role through her involvement in their children’s school parent programs, and as her husband served in various roles throughout his career such as provost and vice chancellor, she was able to take an active role in service and hosting various guests at the universities. Now that she is in Oxford, she is even more excited to get involved with campus life, especially programs that have interested her for years.
“As I’m getting to know different people and different groups, I’ll find a niche or two that I like,” Sharon Vitter said. “At KU, I was very involved with the University Theatre, School of Music and the Spencer Art Museum – the arts in general. I’m hoping that I find something at Ole Miss where I can make a difference to someone, some group or the university, and have some kind of legacy. Just helping Jeff have a successful career here, he’s thrilled to be here.”
While it has only been a short time since she has been in Oxford, Vitter said she already feels the welcoming atmosphere from the Women’s Council.
“The women that I’ve met so far are an amazing group of women from all walks of life. I think it is great what they do with their scholarships and finding students that are deserving and show potential. I feel honored to be asked as the chancellor’s wife to be an honorary member, and I look forward to working with the students,” she said.
One of the first OMWC events Vitter attended was its dinner series for scholars and mentors. Each month, the council hosts a Red Plate Supper series, where scholars and mentors gather with council members to have dinner featuring a guest speaker.
“I really enjoyed the dinner,” Vitter said. “I think it’s important for students to feel comfortable talking in front of crowds. It was fun to see the students interact, and I’m very excited to work with them.”
The Rose Society, a key component of the Women’s Council, funds all the Red Plate Supper series, cultural trips, leadership development and a host of other programs and scholarships.
“The Rose Society was begun as a vehicle to provide support for mentorship and leadership programs for the council scholars and, when possible, other students at Ole Miss as well,” said Mary Haskell, incoming chair of OMWC.
“The generous $1,000 gift our Rose Society members make annually goes directly to enhance council scholar programming such as monthly dinners featuring diverse speakers, weekly mentoring, regional trips and cultural opportunities, as well as helping to grow PULSE, the leadership development program for our sophomores held every January,” Haskell said. “We believe our Rose Society members see that their donation is an investment in our students, equipping them with the tools to strengthen their college experiences and future careers.”
To learn more about the Women’s Council and membership in the Rose Society, contact Nora Capwell at 662-915-2384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.