Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

Dean of students pledges to work with grad students

Story by Tyler Carter

After former Dean of Students Sparky Reardon’s retirement, the school hired Melinda Sutton as his replacement. Sutton has made her way to the University of Mississippi by way of her alma mater, Southern Methodist University, where she served as the associate dean of student life. Before she returned to SMU, Sutton served students in various administrative positions at the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University – Bloomington and Vanderbilt University. Sutton obtained both her master’s degree, and more recently, her Ph.D. in education from Indiana University. When she saw the job opening at the University of Mississippi, Sutton was immediately attracted to the position.

“It sounded like a great fit,” Sutton said. “Once I visited campus, I felt that I connected to the people that I met- as well as the attractiveness of the position; one thing led to another, and here I am.”

Sutton’s transition has been seamless and she greatly appreciates the hospitality she has received while adjusting to life in the University of Mississippi community.

“The folks here have been so welcoming and have done a great job of helping me get up to speed as quickly as possible, providing the information that I need, and answering all of my questions. The people here are making me feel at home already.”

Sutton is looking forward to helping to advance the institution, but what she plans to do first is to learn more about the culture and how she can better serve the student body on all levels. There has been concern among the Graduate Student Council that graduate and professional students are not recognized as a valued population, and Sutton hopes to dispel those notions.

“Being a former graduate student myself, I feel like I connect with them pretty well. At UT-Austin, I advised the graduate student assembly and worked with them on many issues that were unique to them. I enjoy working with this population because they have so many diverse needs, but I also recognize that they are a very important population; we want to make sure their needs are being met and that they are having a great experience here at the University of Mississippi.”

Sutton is looking forward to being a valued member in the community as well as representative for the University of Mississippi and anticipates being an advocate for all students on campus. Her energy and enthusiasm about the position has not gone unnoticed and she expects great things of herself to best serve the students at the University of Mississippi.