Mississippi College

Parents Club, New at MC

August 15, 2007

Mississippi College's moms and dads are getting organized this fall with the creation of a series of parents clubs to add to the family atmosphere at the Christian university.

Dozens of parents will soon participate in prayer groups, deliver care packages to students around exam time, and serve as family support groups for undergraduates far from home. There are other assignments in store for parents at MC for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Scores of parents expressed interest in forming clubs at recent orientation sessions on the MC campus in Clinton. Parent clubs have been around for decades at such institutions as Baylor University in Texas, and at America's military academies, such as the Naval Academy, the Merchant Marine Academy and Air Force Academy.

"We got a great turnout from orientation,'' said Rick Hartfield, MC director of student life. Parents are a valuable resource and involved at MC, he said. With the launching of MC parent clubs, they "will make it more of an attachment to the college,'' Hartfield said.

Formed in 1968, the Baylor Parents League provides an important link between parents and the 14,000-student university in Waco. With 45 chapters nationwide, the league helps parents pinpoint areas of service to the school. Baylor hosts a Parents Weekend, and has chapters in cities, including Albuquerque, Austin, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Washington, D.C. Chapters often host send-off parties for Baylor students.

Ashley Thomas, MC's coordinator of residence life, has stayed on the phone this summer and emailed Baylor leaders to learn about their success and gained ideas to assist with MC's new effort. MC will likely add a Parents Club page to the school web site to spread the word to prospective members and begin to publicize the birth of chapters in different regions of the state.

MC's first Parents Club plans to take part in a number of Family Weekend activities beginning Sept. 29 including a Choctaws home football game and pre-game food and fellowship on the Clinton campus. The parents club will have a different focus than a number of MC athletic booster groups, often involving parents, that support football, soccer, basketball and other Choctaw teams.

"In many cases, parents get pretty involved for four years or more with the nation's colleges and universities. This is a terrific way to utilize a key constituent group at MC,'' said Andy Kanengiser, MC university news coordinator. He was active with the Mississippi Parents Club when his son, Elijah, attended the Merchant Marine Academy in New York a few years ago. With a daughter, Ivana, at MC, he's among the team of organizers of the new Parents Club at the 4,100-student Christian university.

For more information, contact Ashley Thomas at 601-925-7714.

ATTACHED PHOTO: Ashley Thomas, resident life coordinator at Mississippi College and Parents Club organizer.

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