Ben and Erin Napier both graduated from Ole Miss.
As the University of Mississippi reported in 2016, when Home Town was first getting going, both Ben and Erin studied at the school. Ben graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history, while Erin earned her degree in fine arts and print design in particular.
Virginia Chavis, an acting associate provost and professor of graphic design at the school, spoke about Erin in glowing terms. “She is self-motivated, creative and ahead of the curve in her ideas,” she said. “I’m so proud of Erin and her accomplishments,” she said. “Not only is she a great designer and entrepreneur, she is a good person and has remained the genuine and caring person I knew as a student.”
Ben recently made a Rowan Oak desk for the school’s English department.
Last August, Ben and Erin delivered a desk Ben had made to the English department at Ole Miss. “A friend of mine reached out to me explaining that he had gotten his hands on some wood from the campus at Ole Miss,” Ben said, as the university reported. “There were two slabs of oak and the slab of cedar from Rowan Oak. My original thought was to mill the slab down and build a bookcase, but eventually, I decided to leave it whole and build a desk.”
Ben thought he would auction off the desk and donate the proceeds to Ole Miss’ creative writing program, but then he decided to gift the desk to the university with cameras filming the moment for the spinoff HGTV series Home Town: Ben’s Workshop.
“The producers of the show approached me to see if we would accept the donated desk, and if we had a good place to put it,” said Matt Bondurant, associate professor of English and director of the Ole Miss creative writing program. “Ben wanted to donate it to the MFA/creative writing program at UM because of his love of literature, writing, etc., and his fond memories of being an English minor.”
The couple cheers on the Ole Miss football team.
Erin has often blogged about her and Ben’s love for the Ole Miss football program. In September 2016, Erin told readers that she and her family always times her birthday party to coincide with Ole Miss’ first game of the season.
“I’ve looked forward to this for weeks now, and it always feels like time has stopped and everything is the same when I’m on [the] back porch and the smoker is on its sixth hour with a slab of ribs, and the crickets are creaking, and the dog is barking, and Daddy hits play on the Ole Miss band CD while we play cornhole and wait for the game to start.”
Sounds like a delicious tradition!