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William F. Winter

William F. Winter was born in Grenada, MS, and was Mississippi’s fifty-eighth governor. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Ole Miss, where he was editor-in-chief of the MS Law Journal and was named by the faculty as the outstanding law graduate in the class of 1949.

Winter has been a member of the law firm of Watkins Ludlam Winter & Stennis in Jackson for more than forty years. Prior to that he practiced law in Grenada for nine years. In 1998 he received the Mississippi Bar’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He served as president of the University of Mississippi Law Alumni in 1964 and the University of Mississippi Alumni Association in 1979. In 1989 he was the first holder of the Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government at the University of Mississippi Law School. He is a member of the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame.

Winter chaired the board of trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for thirty-five years and the new state Archives and History Building bears his name. He is a former legislator, state tax collector, state treasurer, and lieutenant governor. He served overseas as an infantry officer in the U. S. Army in World War II.

Winter was the first holder of the Eudora Welty Chair of Southern Studies at Millsaps College in 1989 and holds honorary degrees from Millsaps College, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Davidson College, Troy State University, Tougaloo College, Mississippi University for Women, William Carey University, and Mississippi College School of Law.

Winter was a member of President Clinton’s National Advisory Board on Race. He was instrumental in the founding of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi in 1999. In 2008 he was awarded the Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

He is married to the former Elise Varner, and they have three daughters and five grandchildren.

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