It has been a big year for The University of Mississippi, not only with sports and academics, but also for the City of Oxford.
Livability.com has honored Oxford by ranking it as the No. 2 college town in its third annual listing of top college towns, behind College Station, Texas, home to the main campus of Texas A&M University.
Livability is an online guide to the best places to live, work, vacation and explore. It also gives the spotlight to smaller towns with lots of culture.
Oxford has proven to be a great attraction for new families and retirees, as well as college students. Richard Howorth, former mayor of Oxford and owner of the Square Books stores, is not surprised that Oxford has risen in the rankings.
“Mississippi has a reputation for hospitality and friendliness, and that’s certainly true at Oxford and Ole Miss,” Howorth said. “Students and townspeople alike make very good impressions on strangers, which creates an important intangible for why we are ranked this way.”
Oxford was ranked the No. 9 best college town in 2011. Oxford’s jump in the ranks this year was due to the recognition of the town’s social scene, game day atmosphere and art culture.
“People may think that we got the ranking because of all the partying, but I feel as if it’s more than that,” nursing freshman Michaela Woods said. “Yes, I go out and have a good time, but being at Ole Miss makes me happy.”
Another attraction to Oxford and Ole Miss is the relatively safe environment. Ole Miss has recently been ranked the ninth-safest college by The Daily Beast online news site.
“We have excellent law enforcement personnel in the city, the county and on campus, and while a few students might disagree, I think law enforcement does a great job of relating to students,” Howorth said. “Ole Miss students are generally accepted and appreciated by the townspeople, and the university in turn does a good job of creating an open atmosphere on campus, where townspeople can go to lectures and concerts and enroll for classes.”
Students and faculty are also involved in community life. Many students volunteer with non-profit organizations and become active in local schools and churches.
“For me, it’s an honor for Oxford to be ranked,” business freshman Brice Ashford said. “It is a unique place rich in history. The people here embrace that history. This place is a true example of community. To have this campus ranked as the most beautiful and the city the second-best college town says a lot about this place and the direction it is moving in.” Possible pull quote?