Although our university is 160 years old, for each of you its life began when you arrived as a student. At that time a merger occurred between you and Ole Miss. You shaped the university’s personality, and the university became part of you.
When you complete your degree and move on to pursue your career and family life, you will remember Ole Miss as it was during your years as a member of this community. But universities that prosper gradually change. They reflect the experiences, values, interests, hopes and aspirations of each generation of students that make it theirs.
Accurately or not, to a great extent chapters in the life of a university are identified with the person who served as Chancellor. But the university we know today is the product of generations of students, faculty and staff.
It has been my privilege to serve as chancellor since 1995. During that time I have met thousands of students, had the pleasure of getting to know hundreds and established lifelong friendships with some. Students have responded to opportunities to strengthen the university, and they have been the source of many progressive, life-enhancing modifications and changes, ranging from the One Mississippi initiative and CHEERS to the Designated Driver program to efforts to make our campus greener and textbooks affordable to all. Because of you, the university will never be the same.
On June 30, I will retire from the university. I do so with profound respect for you, our students, and a deep sense of gratitude for your contributions to Ole Miss.
I wish you success, good health, happiness and peace, and I hope to see you during the spring semester.
Robert C. Khayat, Chancellor