Dr. Carolyn Ellis Staton is the first female to hold the position of provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at The University of Mississippi and is one of the top-ranking women in Mississippi’s higher education community. She was named Provost second in leadership after the chancellor in 1999. As provost, she serves as chief academic officer, providing leadership for the Oxford campus and overseeing the planning and policy development for the Oxford, Tupelo and Desoto Center campuses.
Before her promotion to provost, Staton was associate provost and associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. She joined the university in 1977 as a member of the School of Law’s faculty and later served as acting law dean of the school in 1993-94. Staton earned a juris doctor degree from Yale Law School in 1972, a master’s degree from the Teachers College of Columbia University in 1969 and a bachelor’s from Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University in 1967.
The Vicksburg native began her professional career as an English and speech teacher at Warren Central High School. After law school, she served as the assistant U.S. Attorney in New Jersey (1972-73) and later was in private practice with the New York law firm of Rosenman and Colin (1973-75). She then became a staff attorney on the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct (1975-77), serving there until her appointment to the Ole Miss law faculty.
Staton also has experience as a visiting professor to the universities of Frankfurt and Munich (Germany), the University of Colorado and Fordham University. She served on the faculty of the American Association of Judicial Education and the Court Practice Institute, and received a Fulbright Fellowship to Germany in 1983.
In 1997, Secretary of the Navy John Dalton appointed Staton to a four-year term on the Board of Advisors for the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, Calif. This followed a 1994 appointment by the Secretary of Defense to serve on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. During her final two years of service on this committee, she was vice chair and an executive committee member, which afforded her the opportunity to travel and meet with American servicemen and servicewomen throughout the world.
Staton holds memberships in the Mississippi, New York and American bar associations and was named Mississippi’s first Outstanding Woman Lawyer in 1995 for her contributions to education, professional support for women in law, promotion of women’s rights, addressing child abuse issues and service to the state. In addition, she served as evidence reporter to the Mississippi Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Rules. She was the author of books and articles on evidence, criminal procedure and sex discrimination.