The earnest young man at the admissions office of the University of Mississippi — Ole Miss — explained the origin of the town’s name. Oxford, named after the British university, was created in 1837 in order to persuade the Legislature to fund building a public university there. The boosters hoped the name would help. It took 11 years, but in 1848, Ole Miss accepted its first students. Today, Oxford remains a small town of roughly 21,000 residents. Ole Miss is modest in size as well, with about 18,000 students.