After hearing the news on Friday that the rumors were true and that Chancellor Vitter is resigning, I was conflicted. I knew that people on both sides of the political aisle who see him as enforcing too much or too little change would be happy to see him gone, and that people who are ready to finally settle down with a leader after recent and sudden changes in the Lyceum over the past five years would be upset. But for me — someone who values clothing above nearly everything else — Vitter’s resignation meant saying goodbye to a man who was bold enough to wear whatever he wanted and curated an extensive collection of neckties.
Vitter didn’t always make the right fashion choices. Sometimes they were downright disastrous. I couldn’t help but shake my head when, on a visit to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Vitter wore black shoes with his seersucker suit. I nearly gasped every time I saw our fearless leader wearing an athletic blend Ole Miss polo underneath a sports coat.
But what Vitter lost in these blunders, he made up for in the vast array of neckwear he wore throughout his time as chancellor. To say goodbye, I’m looking back through the ties that Vitter wore as chancellor and highlighting some of the most memorable. These aren’t all good ties, but they’re all bold, for better or for worse.
The binary tie(s)
Although it’s not surprising given his computer science background, an interesting thing I found while researching this story is that Vitter actually owns at least two ties featuring various strings of binary code: one in white on blue and another in white on red.
The piano key tie
In the biggest social media moment of the past semester, high-profile donor Ed Meek made a widely criticized Facebook post, which Vitter in a Facebook comment said suggested “an unjustified racial overtone.” Somehow, Vitter woke up the morning after that controversy, put on this musically themed novelty tie and continued to wear it all day, even through his speech at the community forum.
The Mississippi state tie
A favorite when rubbing shoulders with political bigwigs (Vitter wore it on visits to both the state and national capitals), this tie emblazoned with miniature outlines of Mississippi made a lot of public appearances during Vitter’s time as chancellor.
The ‘Starry Night’ tie
Though Vitter’s own academic discipline is situated deep within STEM territory, this tie, featuring one of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, shows that he was also able to appreciate the humanities.
The at symbol tie
Although it’s less bold than his pair of binary ties, this tie consisting of a black-and-white pattern of ‘at’ symbols is another homage to Vitter’s computer science scholarship. It’s also notable that the at symbol is how all Twitter handles start, including @UMchancellor, as Vitter used his social media accounts to do everything from interact with students to making official statements.