Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter’s investiture kicked off with a rousing jazz number, “Clarinet Marmalade,” performed by the University of Mississippi Faculty Jazz Septet, that got the whole audience foot-tapping and happy.
Wayne Gray, director of health professions at the university’s biology department, said he enjoyed the music.
“The jazz was great. It was the highlight of the evening,” Grey said. “He picked some good music.”
Gray said he thought the investiture was a wonderful ceremony and that he is very glad to have Vitter’s leadership to promote the university.
Gray was one of many university delegates and faculty from Ole Miss as well as numerous college, university and learning societies across the nation.
Other guests attending included university students, U.S. Sens. W. Thad Cochran and Roger F. Wicker, Lt. Gov. J. Tate Reeves, Speaker of the House Philip A. Gunn and Mayor Pat Patterson. Chancellor Vitter’s wife, children, siblings and family friend Morgan Freeman were all seated in the front row.
Aside from the jazz, guests seemed particularly entertained by Vitter’s speech, which inspired and motivated listeners. He mainly spoke about his hopes for the future of the university but also talked about how grateful he was for the support of his family, especially his wife, Sharon.
“I would not be here today if it were not for Sharon,” Vitter said, getting emotional.
He went on to talk about what it has meant for him and his family to have been welcomed into the Ole Miss and Oxford community, adding, “Ole Miss is a family.”
Alumnus Larry Martindale, who attended the event, said he was very impressed by the investiture.
“This investiture was fabulous,” Martindale said. “Just fabulous. I really liked his speech; it was very energizing.”
Martindale said he wishes the best for Vitter and hopes he continues to keep his vision alive for the university.
“Stay focused,” he suggested to the chancellor. “Stay focused.”
Katelyn Franklin, a freshman mechanical engineering major, also attended the investiture.
“I might only get to see one chancellor’s investiture while I’m here, so I wanted to come see it,” Franklin said. “I thought it was really special and unique. I was really excited to be witness to something that historic.”
As a student, Franklin said Vitter’s speech got her looking forward to the rest of her time at Ole Miss.
“I thought his speech was really inspiring,” she said. “It definitely made me excited to be a student here and to see where we’re going to go in the next four years.”