An Ole Miss Alum May Leave Oxford, But Oxford Never Leaves An Ole Miss Alum


yearbookThey say that you never really graduate from the University of Mississippi and that the community will stay with you virtually everywhere. This was the case for Mallory Lehenbauer, a recent alumnus of the University of Mississippi who has made the big move from Oxford, Mississippi, to Austin, Texas, pursuing an envied career.

“I found out about the position through a referral of a friend who was considering moving here. I applied, interviewed and was hired a week later.”

Lehenbauer now serves as the strategic outreach coordinator for the Texas Workforce Commission in Austin, Texas. Her job centers around the outreach department where she does strategic planning, branding and campaigns. She graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s in English and a minor in southern studies, and later went on to complete her master’s in journalism with an emphasis in Integrated Marketing Communications in 2016.

“Oxford and Austin are very different, which is partially the reason I moved here. I was ready for a change of pace. Oxford is slow and easy. Austin is fast and exciting.”

masters-graduation-2016Lehenbauer works for Larry Temple, the executive director of the Texas Workforce Commission, where their agency directs about 40 programs along with serving over two million people every year, including over 500,000 employees. Having an outlet to communicate to their customers is crucial in obtaining economic success.

“We were looking for someone to assist us in this challenge with the education and work experience that would bring these talents to the agency,” Temple said. “TWC is a state agency that serves all 254 counties through 200 offices and has nearly 5,000 employees and has an annual operating budget of $1.5 billion in addition to the issuance of nearly $3 billion in unemployment insurance benefits.”

Larry Temple claimed that Lehenbauer’s resume was “spot on” and hiring her has helped the department to obtain their outreach objectives. Though she has only been working at the Texas Workforce Commission for a few months, Lehenbauer has contributed immensely to many statewide campaigns, served as an integral part of their communication and outreach program and is an important part of the industry awareness initiative.

img_1013“When our external communications director told me they had found the right person, I was very pleased,” Temple said. “But when he told me she was an Ole Miss alum and a Meek School grad to boot, I was ecstatic.”

Larry Temple is a self-proclaimed “walk-on alum” of Ole Miss claiming he is totally outnumbered in Austin.

Lehenbauer said, “When he came in to tell me he had filled the position the first thing he said was ‘Hotty Toddy.’”

During Lehenbauer’s time at Ole Miss, she was highly involved in Young Life and her senior year she was editor-in-chief of The Ole Miss Yearbook.

“That book served as a reflection of my encounter with the University and what it truly meant to be an Ole Miss Rebel,” Lehenbauer said. “All of the ups and downs, the good and bad press, and the reality of walking on campus in Oxford for six years in a row. I have never worked harder, stayed up later or read the words Ole Miss so many times. I am so proud of that book and of the people I worked with to make it and I will forever carry it with me.”

Lehenbauer also was engaged to her husband, Jake, the spring of her senior year.

Jake had sent her on a scavenger hunt all over Oxford which lead her to some of her most memorable spots in the town. She went to Bottletree Bakery and Volta (her favorite restaurants), Faulkner’s grave where they had an odd date, and Lehenbauer found herself at the steps of Squares Books where Jake had hidden the ring in a Faulkner novel. They even got married at The Lyric.

surprise-birthday-engagement-2-square-books-2014“Not to be cheesy, but overall, my greatest memories at Ole Miss were the ‘in-between moments.’”

Mallory and her friends would spend hours studying at the porch of Square Books, holding tent spots at the Grove, hanging out upstairs at City Grocery, and enjoyed countless weekday visits to Bottletree and Big Bad Breakfast; “the best breakfast spots in the world.”

“If you stick around and let the people of Oxford and Ole Miss love you and transform you, you leave the small town a changed person.”wedding-ole-miss

By Holly Hicks, an intern for She can be reached at