Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Here’s why Ole Miss graduates are choosing to make the ‘Velvet Ditch’ their permanent home

Video by Lydia Mayer, IMC student

Oxford, Mississippi, home to many unique landmarks and people, finds itself stuck with the nickname “The Velvet Ditch.”

Downtown Oxford, Mississippi. Photo by Lydia Mayer.

Oxford has been a “Velvet Ditch” for quite some time. The “Velvet Ditch” is a name specifically coined for Mississippi and even more specifically to Oxford.

Many locals describe the “Velvet Ditch” as a place that is so comfortable, it makes it hard to leave. Many people even find themselves never leaving, as if you are stuck in a ditch.

From the sense of community on the Ole Miss campus to the beautiful downtown square scenery, Oxford is a place many never want to leave.

Anna Lauren Heavener, a transfer admissions counselor at Ole Miss, attended Ole Miss from August 2013 to December 2015 as a transfer student. 

Anna Lauren Heavener, transfer admissions counselor, enjoying downtown Oxford. Photo courtesy of Anna Lauren Heavener.

As a biology major on the pre-med track, Heavener says she struggled her first semester getting used to campus and the Oxford community. She says that with the opportunities Ole Miss gave her, such as The Big Event and on-campus jobs, she was quickly able to adjust and really experience everything that Oxford has to offer.

When asked about what made her want to stay in Oxford, Heavener said she wanted everything that Oxford and Ole Miss could offer her without sacrificing that small hometown feel. 

“I had that small hometown feel the entire time. I had people who went out of their way to help me.”

“They [campus faculty] really care. They want you to enjoy your time [in Oxford]. They want you to be able to have the opportunity to impact Oxford and the campus.”

Mary Kelleher, class of 2020 graduate. Photo courtesy of Mary Kelleher.

Mary Kelleher, class of 2020 Ole Miss graduate, can’t imagine leaving Oxford after her last semester was cut short, due to Covid-19. 

“Oxford has been my home for the past five years and I still can’t seem to leave,” said Kelleher. I love the community and excitement I have for this place.” 

As Kelleher landed a “big girl job” in Tupelo, Mississippi, she was happy to commute to work to stay in Oxford after graduation.  

The Velvet Ditch is no joke, y’all. You never know, maybe you too, will get “stuck” in Mississippi. Hotty Toddy!

Check out the video above to find out why more and more Ole Miss graduates are choosing to make Oxford their permanent home.