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Choctaw Reps Take to Nation’s Capital, Meet D.C. Alumni, Tout MC During Magnolia State Celebration

Mississippi College alumni, staff members, and friends in the Washington, D.C. area enjoy gathering on the historic Mall each summer to celebrate the Magnolia State.
Mississippi College alumni, staff members, and friends in the Washington, D.C. area enjoy gathering on the historic Mall each summer to celebrate the Magnolia State.

Each summer for more than three decades, residents of the Washington D.C. area with strong ties to Mississippi have gathered on the Henry Bacon Ballfield near the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the cultural heritage of their beloved Magnolia State.

The signature event of the Mississippi Society of Washington, D.C., the second-oldest active state society in the capital city, Mississippi on the Mall includes some of the best reminders of home – from fried catfish dinners and sweet tea to the soulful sound of Delta blues.

The festival wouldn’t be an authentic celebration of Mississippi, of course, if it didn’t include representatives from Mississippi College, the state’s oldest institution of higher learning.

Jake Donald, MC Foundation major gift officer, and Lisa Williams, MC regional alumni associate, will be in the nation’s capital June 10 to welcome MC graduates and family members to the 32nd annual event and spread the word about all the wonderful things taking place at Mississippi College.

From uncharted freshman enrollment and orientation sessions overflowing with new students thanks to the Leland Speed Scholarship, which provides full tuition for all admitted high school or undergraduate transfer students who are residents of Mississippi, to a dynamic marketing campaign and vibrant new eagle logo that has stirred excitement for the fall athletic season at MC, Donald said there’s plenty at the Christian University to brag about.

“Mississippi College has alumni all over the nation, and we have a tremendous alumni presence in Washington, D.C.,” Donald said. “To have that many representing MC in D.C., which is one of the most important places in America, makes us proud.

“The nation’s capital is such a rich melting pot of folks. We want to make sure Mississippi College is well represented in an area where we have a lot of alums.”

MC is also well represented in the Mississippi Society of Washington, D.C., the non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the best interests of our state in the nation’s capital. Mary Elizabeth Stringer, senior manager at the American Bankers Association and an MC alum, serves as president of the organization. Its slogan for the event: ”The Hospitality State Meets the Nation’s Capital.”

Stringer, who plans to attend Saturday, along with her father, Tony Stringer, a member of the Mississippi College Board of Trustees, said Mississippi on the Mall plays an important role in sustaining Choctaw connections.

"The D.C. area has more than 400 Mississippi College alumni across multiple industries and roles in and out of government," Stringer said. "We have many MC alums in the area that are extremely accomplished and can spotlight Mississippi College through their networking, working relationships, and current occupations.

"By partnering with the Mississippi Society of D.C., MC is able to strengthen those important relationships and promote what the University is doing to educate the future generations."

Stringer credits her time at MC for helping prepare her for professional leadership roles like her Mississippi Society presidency.

"Serving as president of the Mississippi Society of DC would certainly not have been possible without my leadership skills gained while I was at MC," she said. "My time serving as the president of Nenamoosha Social Tribe, SGA senior class president, president of the School of Business 'Women in Business' Club, a two-time orientation leader, and on the Council as an admissions scout - and so much more - prepped me in every way to lead this incredible organization that connects Mississippians across the D.C. area.

"While in those positions at MC, I learned how to manage people, budgets, projects, events, and unexpected challenges, which is exactly what I do as president of the Society. MC's student life opportunities are a great launching pad for current students to get the skills and experience needed that can be beneficial in their early careers and beyond."

Her favorite part of Mississippi on the Mall is catching up with her lifelong friends from Mississippi College.

"One of my favorite things about Mississippi on the Mall is seeing so many friends that you don't necessarily get to see every day in D.C.," she said. "You get to connect with MC undergraduate alums, but also many MC Law alums who are in the D.C. area. It's a great opportunity for our law school to be showcased as well."

Donald said Stringer's service as Mississippi Society president makes MC proud.

“Mary Elizabeth is a great example of the type of impact our alums have and the great things they are doing, not only locally, but across the globe," he said. “She proves the leadership opportunities that our former students have to transcend Mississippi.”

The family-friendly gathering is scheduled from 2-6 p.m. It’s a rain-or-shine event: in case of inclement weather, plenty of tent space will be provided. Tickets cost $85 each; children 12 and under will be admitted free. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Although Donald has traveled to Washington, D.C. on numerous occasions, this trip marks his first to Mississippi on the Mall.

“D.C. is one of my favorite cities in the United States,” he said. “I’m looking forward to reconnecting with our Mississippi College graduates and visiting with new alumni I haven’t met yet.

“There are so many good things happening at Mississippi College, and I want to share them and make our alums feel proud to be part of our Mississippi College family.”

Donald also views the occasion as an opportunity to help MC alumni start gearing up for the Christian University’s bicentennial celebration in three years.

“Our 200th anniversary is coming up, so we want to let them know everything we’re planning to accomplish,” he said. “We look forward to interacting, visiting, and fellowshipping with our alums in D.C. and celebrating their accomplishments.

“I want to do anything I can to help communicate how impactful Mississippi College has been, not only in Mississippi, but across the nation.”

For more information about Mississippi on the Mall, click here