Advisory Board Member

Bridget Smith Pieschel

English Professor and Director of Women’s Studies, Mississippi University for Women

Bridget Smith Pieschel is a native Mississippian who has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English from Mississippi University for Women. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Alabama, where she was a Graduate Council Fellow. A Professor of English and Director of Women’s Studies, her career at MUW includes serving as the Director of the Honors Program, as the Head of the Division of Humanities, and chair of the Department of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy. She became the Director of the Center for Women’s Research and Public Policy in 2005.

Bridget was the recipient of the MUW Medal of Excellence in 2005, the Kossen Distinguished Faculty Award in 2012, and was awarded emerita status at the W in May 2020 when she retired after 39 years with that university. She gives numerous presentations each year to university, professional, civic and student groups about MUW’s history and 19th-century women’s education. She has published articles on Eudora Welty and the founder of the O Henry prize, MUW alumna Blanche Colton Williams.

After the Center for Women’s Research and Public Policy opened, Bridget and student interns published a collection of oral histories: “Golden Days: Reminiscences of MSCW Alumnae, 1926-1957,” including several important interviews collected by the MUW Alumni Association members in 2004 and 2005. She co-authored with Stephen R. Pieschel the centennial history of MUW: “Loyal Daughters.” She directed the annual MUW Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium for nine years and directed the annual Tennessee Williams Tribute Scholars’ Panel for 10 years.

Bridget is a past president of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters and is a past state director of the Southern Literary Trail, focusing on Southern writers in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. She is a governor’s appointed commissioner for Volunteer Mississippi, and a member of the Lowndes County Community Foundation Board, a part of the CREATE Foundation. Her first retirement project is a book about Mississippi public women’s education, and its pedagogical influence on the origins of modern women’s education in the nation.

She and her husband, Steve, live in Columbus, Miss., and have five children and four grandchildren.