Dr. Porter L. Fortune was the 21st chief executive of The University of Mississippi.
Dr. Fortune received a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. HE taught at Mississippi Southern College, now known as the University of Southern Mississippi, and later served as dean of the University and Graduate School. Dr. Fortune served as a U.S. naval officer in World War II.
Porter Fortune met his wife, Lib, in a cafeteria at the University of North Carolina, where they each held jobs. Lib graduated with a major in home economics and raised four children with Porter. She was active in church, social and literary clubs, as well as charitable organizations, both at Ole Miss and in Oxford, for more than 41 years.
Chancellor Fortune guided the University of Mississippi through the post-integration period. State political leaders and educators credited Fortune with pulling the school from the shadow of the violent resistance to the enrollment of the school’s first African-American, James Meredith, in 1962. In 1976, Dr. Fortune appointed a committee to develop plans for an Ole Miss chapel. As chancellor, hecharged the committee with recommending the type of chapel desired and possible sites for its location.
Fortune became the 21st chief executive of Ole Miss in January, 1968, at the age of 48. He retired as chancellor in 1984. Dr. Fortune, 69, passed away from heart complications in Oxford, Miss. on Thursday, September 14, 1989.
“I wonder if people understand like the faculty and staff understood, Porter Fortune saved Ole Miss.”