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People-Oriented Admissions Receptionist Earns DBT’s MVP Accolade for January

Michael Wright, right, dean of enrollment management, praises the welcoming environment Mandy Martin creates in Alumni Hall, which led Mississippi College President Blake Thompson to present her the DBT's MVP Award for January.
Michael Wright, right, dean of enrollment management, praises the welcoming environment Mandy Martin creates in Alumni Hall, which led Mississippi College President Blake Thompson to present her the DBT's MVP Award for January.

Many current and prospective students and their families consider Mandy Martin as the “face” of Mississippi College.

Stationed in the lobby of Alumni Hall, the admissions receptionist is literally front and center to welcome guests to the Christian university, share words of encouragement with young scholars, and lend an ear to faculty and staff.

“A lot of what I do is seen, because I’m right out front here,” Martin said. “Students come in, and I love to help. I love to mentor them. It does turn into a counseling desk sometimes.”

A 2002 graduate of MC, Martin’s unparalleled devotion to her alma mater and her willingness to go “above and beyond” in service to students and her peers has earned her Dr. Blake Thompson’s Most Valuable Person Award for January.

“How many of you have heard me say, ‘Mandy, you’re the most valuable person on our campus?’” asked MC’s president while presenting her the honor in front of several admissions staff members. “Now it’s official. You’ve been the busiest person on this campus the last three months, so this award is well deserved.”

Martin has been busy for a great reason: the new Leland Speed Scholarship, announced last fall, has expanded higher education opportunities available to undergraduate students in Mississippi. The scholarship provides full undergraduate tuition for high school seniors and transfer students who are residents of the Magnolia State.

“The announcement of the Speed Scholarship really amped things up,” Martin said. “Admissions has been hitting the ground running, so it’s nice to be recognized for all the things we’ve been doing.

“I don’t feel underappreciated by any stretch of the imagination, but this award means a lot to me. It feels good to be seen and recognized.”

Michael Wright, dean of enrollment management, said Martin’s admissions responsibilities are among the most important on the Clinton campus.

“Not one guest or visitor who comes through MC’s Welcome Center misses out on the experience Mandy creates,” Wright said. “The welcoming nature, the fun, hospitable, exciting, and caring environment – she portrays everything we stand for as a university.

“Hers is the first impression anybody gets when they come on campus, and she knocks it out of the ballpark every day. Her coworkers have witnessed the kind of ambiance and welcoming nature she creates, so they nominated her for this award.”

In turn, Martin credits the admissions staff and everyone she comes in contact with for helping generate the enthusiasm she brings to her role every day.

“It sounds cliché, but I love people,” she said. “Especially my coworkers – I could not do this job without them. It’s amazing how well everyone on campus works together. And I enjoy students, the prospective ones but also the current ones, their families, and the alumni that come in.

“Because of where I sit, I get to love on everybody. My favorite part of the job is to get to know the people.”

Her MC orbit extends well beyond Alumni Hall: the Clinton resident is a sponsor of Laguna Social Tribe. She also enjoys interacting with fellow members of First Baptist Church in Clinton.

“I love to listen to people and to help whenever I can,” she said. “The four years of college is such a unique time for these students. Even though I work in admissions, which typically means I’m involved with them on the front end of their academic careers, I do like to stay involved with them throughout their entire college experience.

“When students leave MC, they’re prepared, not just for their jobs, but their faith is deepened, too. It’s not just an education – they’re encouraged to go into the world and represent us well. So, I like to be involved with them throughout their whole time at MC.”

As the monthly DBT’s MVP recipient, Martin received a T-shirt, a parking spot of her choosing for a month, a $50 gift card, and a bobblehead of Thompson and his golf cart to display on her desk for the duration of her award-winning tenure.

She and her husband of 20 years, Josh, a 2001 graduate of MC, have two children. Their daughter, Laura Claire, is a ninth grader at Clinton Christian Academy, while their son, Drew, is a senior planning to enroll at MC – giving Martin an entirely different perspective on admissions.

“From the lens of a parent, there have been a lot of tears – happy, proud, and bittersweet,” she said. “Admissions is quite different from this angle, but we’re about done with the process, and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to MC this fall.”