By Cody Spears
A lot has changed at the University of Mississippi since Jody Lowe took the field wearing the Col. Reb mascot costume.
The Oxford resident of 21 years grew up in Laurel, Mississippi, outside of Hattiesburg, and has been a lifelong Ole Miss fan.
“I was the first person in my family to attend college,” said Lowe, who attended Jones Community College in Ellisville for two years before transferring to the University of Mississippi.
Lowe studied print journalism with an emphasis in public relations, and he became the Ole Miss mascot before graduating from the university in 1996. He later earned a master’s degree in higher education.
Lowe is now the associate director of the undergraduate admissions office. He also teaches a course to help transfer students in their transition to a major university.
“I plan on hanging around the university until I am able to retire,” he said. Afterwards, he plans to work with local community colleges.
Even though he was the Col. Rebel during his two years here, Lowe said it didn’t bother him to see the mascot go. He even voted to get rid of it.
“Had it happened when I was in school, or shortly after, I would have been upset about it,” he said. “You get a different perspective when you get older. . . If you have the opportunity to work at the university . . (you) see how it affects enrollment.”
Lowe said the mascot affected more than just African American students, and many felt it made the university look behind the rest of America.
“All of the improvements to the campus have attracted students all over the country,” he said. “When I was in school here, we had about 70 percent in-state students. Now, over half of the freshmen come from out of state.”
The university has offered Lowe many opportunities. Before he began working at Ole Miss, he had never flown. Today, he has been on more than 40 different airplane rides, traveling the country to recruit.
“Jody is always willing to help anybody he can,” said Emily Rast, a counselor at the university.