Meet the New UM Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

Melinda Sutton readies to lead the Office of the Dean of Students

Melinda Sutton

Melinda Sutton

It has been nearly four decades since the University of Mississippi welcomed a new dean of students. Starting June 1, Melinda Sutton will fill that role. Read on to find out what she is looking forward to, and what challenges she sees ahead.

With more than 15 years of progressively increasing responsibility in higher education, Melinda Sutton will join the Ole Miss family June 1 as assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students.

Along with extensive experience working within student affairs, Sutton brings a long-held fascination with and high regard for Ole Miss.

“I’ve often heard Ole Miss compared to my undergraduate institution, Southern Methodist University, and I’ve been curious about and wanted to experience Ole Miss,” Sutton said. “Also, I had a wonderful experience at the flagship university in Texas, so coming to the flagship institution in Mississippi is a chance to experience something special.”

Sutton, who will be leaving her position as associate dean of student life at SMU to join Ole Miss, previously served as deputy to the dean of students at the University of Texas. Sutton’s tenure in these and other capacities provided her opportunities to work with students, parents and administrators, to oversee student conduct and crisis situations, career services, orientation, parent and family programs, student learning communities and more.

“When I think about coming to Ole Miss, some of the first things I am looking forward to are working with great colleagues and getting to know the students,” Sutton said.

In her new role, Sutton will maintain oversight of the Office of the Dean of Students, the Ole Miss Student Union, the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct, and the new Center for Social Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement.

“The opportunity at Ole Miss is a nice blend of areas that are steeped in tradition, with well-developed systems and processes, and new opportunities. I’ll be learning a lot about the way things are done and getting a sense of the culture and the Ole Miss way,” she explained. “There are also new areas and opportunities, too, and it’s really exciting to think about helping to develop the new center. I want to help bring prominence to that area, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the initiative and collaborating with the excellent people who are already working on it.

“Overall, it’s a really nice balance of tradition and new initiatives.”

While Sutton has been in Oxford and spent time on campus, she has not spent in-depth time in the area. Extended family and friends are already making claims on space in her new home, she said.

“We are all excited to spend more time here, and my friends and family are already stocking up on all kinds of Ole Miss merchandise, learning ‘Hotty Toddy’ and getting ready for this wonderful experience,” Sutton added. “I am looking forward to meeting the professionals and students who make the Ole Miss family something special, and I invite everyone to stop in and introduce themselves anytime.”