Mississippi College

Mississippi College Welcomes Thousands of Students in August 2013

August 29, 2013

Whether they’ve got roots in Southern towns or traveled from south China, thousands of students are receiving a warm welcome at Mississippi College.

“I’ve got a million brothers and sisters here,” MC junior Maggie Selmon Wilson said as she walked to classes as a new academic year began Wednesday. “I love the atmosphere.”

A 20-year-old junior from Carthage, Maggie is an English literature major with minors in political science and Spanish. She’s already making plans to attend the MC Law School in downtown Jackson.

Just as delighted to be an MC Choctaw, junior Jarrud Mayes, 19, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana said, “I came here for football, but stayed for the people. Once you get to know the people, everybody turns into family.”

Parking spaces were hard to find, residence halls were nearly packed on the Clinton campus and MC’s freshmen enrollment topped 600 students for the first time in school history at the start of the university’s 188th academic year.

“This is a very big milestone for the institution,” said Jim Turcotte, vice president for enrollment services and dean of students as he checked new reports showing a record 613 freshmen are registered.

That number compares with 496 freshmen at the same time last year or a 24 percent hike. The previous record was the 538 freshmen enrolled at Mississippi College in 2010. MC’s transfer student count held steady with last year. There are 324 transfer students now compared with 330 last fall. Final enrollment will become available in early September. Last fall, MC enrolled 5,145 students.

Stopping for a moment at the Quad on her way to class, freshman Sarah Welch of Germantown, Tennessee explained why she left the Volunteer State to attend Mississippi College. ”For me, it was the combination of the music department and how friendly they are,” says the 19-year-old music major.

A big fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide, John Gregory Mills, 18, bid goodbye to his family in Tuscaloosa to become a freshman cheering for the Choctaws. “My sister looked here, and that’s how I found out about it,” he said. “I wanted to get away from home and attend a smaller Christian college.”

Founded in 1826, Mississippi College is America’s second oldest Baptist college and the state’s largest private university.

MC’s recruiting strategy, outstanding academic programs, from sciences to liberal arts, and new campus facilities were key factors sparking the uptick in freshmen and graduate school enrollment, Turcotte said. Opening in January 2013, MC’s 22,000-square foot medical sciences building, with its cadaver lab, histology labs and stellar research facilities, continues to get rave reviews from students.

“We sense that our reputation is strong and getting stronger,” said Turcotte, an MC graduate.

But it’s much more than academic buildings attracting students.

“I like MC’s good science programs and wanted to take pre-med at a Christian school,” said MC junior Maggie Mills, 21, of Hattiesburg. A transfer from William Carey University, she believes Mississippi College will prepare her for medical school and a career as a physician serving overseas missions.

This fall, MC is seeing a more geographically diverse student body from out-of-state locations whether it’s California, Illinois, Pennsylvania or Oregon, or states in the region from Texas to Alabama or North Carolina to Florida. Nineteen of the 23 MC equestrian team members come from outside Mississippi borders.

His trip to get here spanned thousands of miles, but freshman Jiawei He, 19, of China, is happy to be on Mississippi soil. His cousin graduated from the university and that got the marketing student interested. “It is hard to be away from home, but I’m making new friends.”

It’s helpful, he said, to see so many faces from China at Mississippi College. Classmates like freshmen Gui Feng, Pinting Huang and Sijin Li, all natives of China, walked with Jiawei to one of his first classes in Jennings Hall as the clock tower bells sounded at noon on the Clinton campus. MC is home to about 200 international students from 26 nations, with the majority coming from China.

Photo: Mississippi College opened its new school year with classes on Wednesday August 28th. MC students Stuart Robinson of Madison, Savannah Carpenter of Hurley, MS, Taran Kaur of Madison, and Caitlyn Scott of Flowood stop for a picture on the Quad on their way to class.

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