William Winter Institute leaves Ole Miss

Published 10:30 am Sunday, February 4, 2018

This week, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation announced its move from the University of Mississippi to Jackson.

The move is part of a restructuring effort in the university’s nationally recognized facilitation and training programs in race relations and civil discourse. The Winter Institute has been a part of the Ole Miss campus since 1999.

According to a press release from the university, the William Winter Institute will become a separate nonprofit organization headquartered in the state capital. The decision to leave the university was made by the institute’s board of directors.

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Katrina Caldwell, the vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement, will lead the university in continued efforts to research and educate others about civility and race relations. Caldwell says she views the relocation as a great opportunity for the institute.

“Thanks to the successful work of its staff in racial reconciliation, diversity and community engagement, the Winter Institute is now ready for this next step,” she said. “I’m pleased that the University of Mississippi will continue to work closely with the William Winter Institute and I’m excited to see their future work in this state and throughout our country.”

Former Mississippi Governor William Winter, for whom the institute is named, says becoming a nonprofit is the right move.

“I am proud that leaders at my alma mater, the University of Mississippi, had the vision to establish and incubate the Institute for Racial Reconciliation on its campus,” he said in a news release. “As the Winter Institute positions itself for the future, we shall remain dedicated members of the university community.”

Moving to Jackson is expected to allow the institute to take on an advocacy role and work closely with the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Some reports have implied an official partnership between the institute and museum, but a representative from the museum said nothing is set in stone yet.

“There’s interest in working together, but they are not relocating to or directly partnering with the Mississippi Civil Rights or Mississippi History Museums,” Stephenie Morrisey, with the museum’s media relations department, said.

The institute brings with it such programs as The Welcome Table and Summer Youth Institute, as well as the Mississippi Civil Rights Education Commission.

Founded two years after then-President Bill Clinton’s “One America” initiative on race, the Winter Institute’s tagline is “Ending All Discrimination based on Difference.” For more information about the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and its work, visit http://winterinstitute.org.