William Winter Institute planning move to Jackson

The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation will soon become a separate nonprofit organization headquartered in Jackson after being located on the University of Mississippi’s campus for nearly two decades.

The Institute will take on an increased advocacy role, and the move to the state capital will allow it to work with the new Mississippi Civil Rights and Mississippi History museums. The decision was made by the Winter Institute’s Board of Directors.

Following the Winter Institute’s move, UM will connect and coordinate its activities in research, education and engagement around the issues of civility and race relations under the leadership of vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement Katrina Caldwell.

The Institute facilitates several programs including The Welcome Table, Summer Youth Institute and the Mississippi Truth Project. The Institute also promotes scholarly research and teaching on race and the impacts of racism.

UM chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said the university supports the Institute’s move and is committed to continuing its work in modeling civil discourse and enhancing race relations.

“We are also excited the Winter Institute is ready to take this next step in its development and become a nonprofit organization,” Vitter said. “The maturation of the institute is an example of the highest calling of our university: to take a bold concept, cultivate it and empower it to achieve greater good in society.”

The Winter Institute began on the university’s campus in 1999, two years after President Bill Clinton’s One America: The President’s Initiative on Race prompted the university to foster more engagement with the topic of racial reconciliation. Former Governor William Winter, for whom the Institute is named, was on Clinton’s One America advisory board and arranged for one of the initiative’s public forums to be held at UM.

Winter, who still serves as the Winter Institute board of directors chairman emeritus, said the Institute’s move to Jackson is a step into the future, but it will always maintain a connection to its roots.

“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,” Winter said. “As the Winter Institute positions itself for the future, we shall remain dedicated members of the university community.”

Original article published by the Daily Journal.

William Winter Institute relocates to Jackson after 19 years at Ole Miss

The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation is relocating and moving away from Ole Miss after almost two decades on campus. Although the move is still in the early stages of the planning process, the institute announced that it is expanding its operations and moving to Jackson to become an independent non-profit organization in order to increase its service to the whole state.

Board Chairman Bill Bynum said the institute decided to relocate based off of former Gov. Winter’s vision to grow the organization to form a partnership with the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and introduce more programs in the capital city. The institute does not know the specific location it plans to move to, but it does intend to operate independently.

The William Winter Institute will not be completely gone; it plans to continue to pursue reconciliation work with the university and other universities and entities across the state.

“The institute is evolving from the incubation at the university,” Bynum said. “The university did a great job of getting it on solid ground and getting the institution started. Our relationship with the university is positive, and we are evolving on good terms.”

The founding of the William Winter Institute dates back to President Bill Clinton’s Initiative on Race in 1997. The initiative had a seven-member advisory board, which Winter was a part of. The board traveled around the country and would hold conferences in different regions. The board decided to make a stop in Mississippi, and Winter suggested a stop at the University of Mississippi, his alma mater.

Winter and the board thought the event was so successful they decided to create a racial reconciliation center at the university. After two years of planning, the university founded the institute, and named it after Winter in 1999.

Even though Winter’s vision was to always expand the institute, it was started at Ole Miss because of his ties to the university and how much he respects it, Bynum said.

The university supported the decision to relocate to Jackson and thanked the institute for the work it’s done on campus.

“The university will connect and coordinate its activities in research, education and engagement around the issues of civility and race relations (with the William Winter Institute) under the leadership of Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement,” the university said in a press release.

Caldwell said she does not have any specific plans about the future of her department after the institute relocates, but she is working on strategies now to increase diversity on campus. She also said the decision to restructure the organization was the board’s decision.

“I think this move is positive for the institute,” Caldwell said. “They have done great things for racial reconciliation so far.”

Caldwell said she looks forward to watching it improve relations even more.

“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,” a press release from Winter’s office said. “As the Winter Institute positions itself for the future, we shall remain dedicated members of the university community.”

The Daily Mississippian was unable to get in touch with Winter at the time of publication.

Original article published by The Daily Mississippian.

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