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About the Center >> Board of Trustees >> William F. Winter
William F. Winter

Former Governor of Mississippi

Willam F. WinterWilliam F. Winter is the former Democratic Governor of Mississippi and is currently in private law practice with the law firm of Watkins, Ludlam & Stennis

Throughout his term as Governor (1980-1984), he fought for education reform, equal opportunity for all races, and better relations between the races. President Clinton appointed Winter to the Advisory Board of the President's Initiative on Race, which examined race relations in America in 1997-98. Governor Winter has been devoted to public service. He served as an infantry officer in both World War II and the Korean War, and he held three state legislative positions in Mississippi (state representative, state treasurer and lieutenant governor).

He has served as a member of several public and civic institutions, including: Chairman, National Commission on the State and Local Public Service; President, Board of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History; Chairman, National Issues Forum Institute; Chairman, the Kettering Foundation; and Chairman, 1986 Commission on the Future of the South. As a board member of the National Civic League, the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, the Appalachian Regional Commission, National Advisory Board on Small Business, and other national organizations, he endeavored to dismantle the barriers of race and increase economic and educational opportunities.

In 2000, Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove appointed Winter as head of the State Flag Advisory Commission, which recommended that Mississippi replace its state flag containing the Confederate rebel flag in its corner with a more unifying emblem.

His credentials within the academic community are long standing: Jamie Whitten Professor of Law and Government at the University of Mississippi School of Law (Fall 1989); Eudora Welty Professor of Southern Studies at Millsaps College (Spring 1989); Fellow, Institute of Politics, Harvard University (1985) and President, Ole Miss Alumni Association (1978). Governor Winter has been the contributing author on three books: History of Mississippi , Yesterday's Constitution Today and Mississippi Heroes . He received his B.A. in 1943 and LL.B. in 1949 from the University of Mississippi. He has also received LLD degrees (honorary) from Davidson College, Millsaps College, William Carey College and Troy State University.

He is married to Elise Varner, and they have three daughters.