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Mississippi College

Longtime Summer Camper Mary Beth Hughes Enrolling at Mississippi College

June 20, 2013

Mary Beth Hughes joins armies of LSU fans nationwide dealing with disappointment after the Tigers got eliminated in the College World Series.

Part of a youth group from First Baptist Church in Denham Springs, Louisiana attending summer camp at Mississippi College, Mary Beth refuses to let the Tigers hasty exit from the CWS in Omaha get her down very long.

Hughes is so busy at FUGE camp at MC – from worship services to Bible study and athletic events – that she doesn’t have much time to think about LSU’s baseball team. The 2013 Southeastern Conference champions, the Tigers lost a 4-2 heartbreaker to No. 1 national seed North Carolina on Tuesday.

“I bleed purple and gold (LSU’s colors), but the environment at Mississippi College is so focused on Christ, and shares my same values,” Mary Beth said. “This is by far the best week of the summer. Camp is so much fun.”

Once the group finishes the weeklong camp and heads home to the Bayou State, Mary Beth won’t be returning with her friends. She’s staying through Friday June 21 for a blitz of orientation activities to get her ready to become a Mississippi College Choctaw. The freshman will begin classes in late August on the Clinton campus and pursue a major in mass communications. Her parents, Anna and Doug Hughes, are both MC graduates.

Mary Beth Hughes began coming to Mississippi College summer camps as a third grader. Today, she’s a 17-year-old high school graduate who’s part of a 130-member church delegation here for FUGE camps.

The Louisiana boys and girls look forward to the MC summer camps every other year because “they like the Christian environment and the lifestyle,” says parent chaperone Lori Vige. “It’s not a big culture shock for them. And they say the food is good.”

The trip to Central Mississippi takes two and one-half hours from their home in the Baton Rouge area. Many of the same campers were at Mississippi College in 2009 and proudly wore their LSU shirts and hats when the LSU Tigers won the College World Series. Their rallying cry was Geaux Tigers!

They are just as enthusiastic about their stay at the Baptist-affiliated university that’s a few miles from Mississippi’s capital city, Jackson.

“The kids say the MC campus is very friendly to them,” Vige said. “And the adults enjoy the campus, too.”

Mary Beth will be calling the Clinton campus home for the next four years.

Accepted at both LSU and Mississippi College, Mary Beth selected MC as the place she wants to excel as a student and consider a career in broadcasting or go to law school. The former Lady Yellow Jackets basketball player at Denham Springs High would love to be a TV sports announcer like Erin Andrews. “That’s my dream job.”

For now, she’s following in her parents’ footsteps. Her mom, Anna Hughes, received a bachelor’s degree in 1986 and master’s in mass communications from the Christian university in 1988. Her dad is an LSU alumnus and 1986 graduate of the MC School of Law. Doug Hughes is presently a district court judge in three Louisiana parishes. Former MC administrator Rory Lee married the couple in 1989 at Provine Chapel on the Clinton campus.

“My parents didn’t push me. It was 50-50 with LSU, but then I visited MC in the spring and knew the whole time this was where I was supposed to be. It had everything I wanted in a college education.”

There were other MC connections in her life. Her church youth pastor, Jeremy McCrory, is a Mississippi College alumnus.

She’s still a couple of months away from starting classes, but Hughes is pumped about getting involved in the Baptist Student Union, a social tribe and as a recruiter with the university’s Scouts team.

Her mother is happy about her decision. “I tried not to persuade her, but I loved my time at MC,” said Anna Hughes. “It was the best four years of my life.”

The Lakeland, Florida native said she made great friends and enjoyed learning from terrific professors like Cliff Fortenberry and the late Billy Lytal. Anna Hughes worked for the development office at her alma mater and was employed with EXXON for 20 years.

Driving to Clinton to bring their daughter home Friday, Mary Beth’s parents are thrilled with her journey to college and plans to wear Blue and Gold. “I’m so excited,” Anna Hughes said.

Photo: Mary Beth Hughes, a Fuge summer camper at Mississippi College from First Baptist Church of Denham Springs, Louisiana, will enroll as an MC freshman in August. Her parents, Anna and Doug Hughes, are both MC graduates.