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Mississippi College Honors College Welcomes New Students

Erin Hederman, a member of the first class for the MC Honors College
Erin Hederman, a member of the first class for the MC Honors College

Erin Hederman loves her first year in the Honors College. The Mississippi College freshman is sure the newest class will, too.

“I quickly discovered the Honors College would be one of the closest knit communities on campus,” Erin said. “We enjoy each other’s company. We share similar values and goals.”

An MC Lady Choctaws soccer standout, Hederman is anxious to connect with her newest classmates. The newest 15 Honors College students arrive on the Clinton campus in late August. A Jackson Academy graduate and biology/pre-med major at the Christian university, Erin is now staying on top of her studies via Zoom meetings and online courses – from New Testament to science labs.

Mississippi College and schools nationwide rapidly adjusted to online classes as the COVID-19 health emergency continues this Spring. But by Fall, the MC Honors College and other programs expects to return with more traditional teaching formats.

The first class of 14 freshmen in the MC Honors College will be joined by 15 outstanding students from five states. Nine are Mississippians. Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas supplied the other students. The group includes six men and nine women.

There was a large pool of remarkable applicants. It was difficult to trim the list to 15 students. But Erin Norcross, the Honors College director, believes all of the newcomers are excellent. It is a diverse class.

“It seems like there is representation from a wide range of majors including biology, chemistry, mathematics, English, psychology and communications,” Norcross said.

“I am incredibly excited to welcome this group to campus next Fall and know they will be leaders in all aspects of the MC campus,” says Norcross, a biology professor.

The newest Honors College students includes five Jackson metro residents. Madison County tops the list with four students. They are: Camden Clem, Kaylee Hood and Nicholas Carraway, all of Madison, and Austin Lambing of Ridgeland. Making the shortest drive to campus will be Aaron Graves of Clinton.

Aaron Graves is a Clinton High student. He earned a perfect 36 on his ACT and is a National Merit semifinalist. He participated in this year’s Math and Science tournament at Mississippi College.

Honors College students have no worries about paying for tuition or other costs. Their education spanning four years is fully paid for.

Gracie Phillips of Clinton is thrilled to be part of the first class with the Honors College. They were showcased at the inauguration of President Blake Thompson in March 2019.

“I can truly say my experience with the MC Honors College has brought some lifelong best friends,” Gracie said. “The Honors College has challenged me in ways I never imagined I would be challenged in my freshman year of College.”

As a member of the Honors College, she explored trans-disciplinary thinking with discussion, individual analyzing and group presentations. “The MC Honors College has offered a special community of peers that I never expected, but will be forever grateful for.”

A Clinton High graduate, Gracie is the daughter of MC graduates Chad and Jenny Phillips. Her dad serves as MC’s associate director for alumni and parent engagement. Her mom is a business executive.

Other Mississippians in the newest Honors College class starting in August are Mary Margaret Freeman of Meridian, Coulter Clement of Water Valley, Benjamin “Cooper” Gadman of Brandon and Addison Alexander of Summit.

Also recently selected are: Kathy Hammond of Montgomery, Alabama, Ethan “Storm” Boyett of Alexandria, Louisiana, Karla Cheshire of Slidell, Louisiana, and Aynsleigh Washam of Maumelle, Arkansas. Emily Stephens of Downsville, Louisiana and Julia Abel of Collierville, Tennessee round out the new list of incoming freshmen for the Honors College as year two begins soon.