Becky Bacot hall is the oldest dormitory on campus still in use, and has gained its own mythology on campus. It has become a rite-of-passage, its community bathrooms and troublesome ventilation a common discussion point of first-year memories. Not to mention the so-called “Bacot plague,” a catch-all nickname for the colds that seem to sweep through the hallways every fall as its rooms are occupied once more.
Originally, Bacot Hall served campus as a dormitory for upper-class women. Today, it primarily serves as a residence hall for first-year men and women.
The cheapest living option on campus, Bacot’s aging infrastructure spurs numerous student complaints, but gradual renovations are being done, with the bathrooms undergoing the process of being renovated during the summer months. During 2017 and 2018, a new air-conditioning system was implemented.
While the word “Bacot” brings about thoughts of the aging building today, there is a plaque that reveals the namesake of the residence hall. It reads: “Dedicated to the memory of a young lady whose full life belied its brevity, whose enduring influence attests to the esteem in which she was held, whose service continues in death through a church named in her honor, a memorial scholarship fund, and this dormitory for college students.”
Rebecca Marie Bacot, typically referred to as Becky, was the daughter of Edward and Bertha Bacot of Pascagoula. Becky Bacot tragically passed away in 1959 at the age of 19 due to a car accident. She was not a Millsaps student, but a sophomore at the University of Mississippi. Her parents used their resources to do numerous charitable acts dedicated to their daughter’s name.
Major Notes, a now discontinued Millsaps magazine, included an article on the then-new dormitory and its dedication ceremony in their 1967 summer issue. Major Notes quotes Mrs. Bertha Bacot: “When Becky was a little girl I decided to give something to her that would perpetuate her name. I planted pine trees on some property and deeded the land to her. A large part of our gift to Millsaps is that same land.” In the same year, the Bacots also made a significant financial donation to the college, once again in the memory of their daughter.
Rebecca Bacot’s father, commonly referred to as E.H. Bacot, served on the Board of Trustees for the college in the late 1960s. Following his passing in 1975, his wife formed the Bacot Foundation. The Bacot Foundation, now known as the Bacot and McCarty Foundation to honor its late longtime Secretary-Treasurer Jolly McCarty, provides financial support for local schools and programs in Pascagoula.
While Bacot Hall has seen a decline in reputation over its numerous decades at Millsaps, its presence on campus has been well-established in the Millsaps experience. That specific shade of beige will forever remind me of my first time on campus as a Millsaps student in August of 2017. Then I was barely eighteen years old.
Today I am twenty-one, in my senior year, and my time at Bacot is already a rapidly fading memory. I am older than Becky ever got the chance to be.
It is difficult, nowadays, to learn who Becky Bacot was, or what she was like. In researching this article, I was surprised at how little can be discovered about a name so integral to our campus’ life. But, even if only for a year, some of us form memories that will remain with us forever in the building that bears her name.