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Two Hundred Freshmen Welcomed at Mississippi College Orientation

Mississippi College sports personality Tom A. Hawk is pictured with MC freshman Ajah Swanson, 18, of Birmingham, Alabama at summer orientation on the Clinton campus.

Snapping photos with sports personality Tom A. Hawk, sipping McAlister’s sweet tea and touring the Clinton campus, 200 freshmen received a warm welcome at Mississippi College.

Despite heavy showers at times on July 13, summer orientation went well for the newcomers. The visitors came from states like Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois, Missouri and as far away as Vermont. President Lee Royce and a host of MC staffers informed them about all things Blue & Gold. Sessions on financial aid for parents, a focus on college ministries and an introduction to dozens of student organizations were part of the two-day program ending Friday.

“Everyone’s been really nice,” said Hannah Shafer, 18, of Olive Branch, a future MC Lady Choctaws basketball player. “It seems like a good Christian environment.”

A forward on the Northpointe Christian School basketball team (winners of back to back Tennessee state championships) Shafer will join Coach Paul Duke’s squad in Clinton this Fall. The freshman plans to hit the books, too, as an accounting major and then go to law school. Her dad, Charlie Shafer, is an associate pastor at First Baptist Church Olive Branch, and her mom, Stephanie Shafer, works in a Christian ministry.

Enrolling at MC was a terrific fit for Hannah Shafer for other key reasons. Two of her Northpoint Christian School friends, Rachel Miller and Grace Anne Ferguson, will also be freshmen at America’s second oldest Baptist college. MC was founded in 1826 as Hampstead Academy. In 2017, 5,133 students enroll at the Christian university.

Excellent academic programs convinced Mary Addison Wadsworth of Hernando, 18, to become part of the MC Choctaws family. MC alumni from north Mississippi, the biology major said, told her of its superb pre-medical programs. Her parents, Amy and William Wadsworth, are both physicians.

“Every doctor in the area said this is the place to go,” added freshman Brandon Evans of Brandon.

Top-notch nursing programs attracted incoming freshmen Taylor Childress, 18, and Lindsey Leigh, both of Forney, Texas near Dallas. “I have friends here and fell in love with the atmosphere.” The Texans mentioned MC’s Christian environment as a compelling reason to come.

Freshman Emily Cloys, 18, of Philadelphia first experienced life at Mississippi College at one of its Centri-Kid Christian camps. The Neshoba Central High grad believes she will get a first-rate education on the Clinton campus.

Her parents, Mark & Marian Cloys agree. “We are very impressed,” Marian Cloys said at the Golden Dome as students grabbed free tea and popcorn. On the Choctaws basketball court, freshmen learned about campus ministry organizations, student government, career services and much more.

After pictures with MC sports personality Tom A. Hawk, Ajah Swanson, 18, says she’s discovered the right spot to begin college. “Of all the schools I visited, this is the only one I’m comfortable with.”

The Birmingham, Alabama residents plans to double major in communications and Christian Studies with a minor in Spanish.

The next freshmen summer orientation at MC will be July 27-28.

Among the newcomers in late July will be Caleb Shipman, 18, a graphic design major. The incoming freshman is the son of a missionary in Indonesia, but now lives in North Carolina. “I chose MC because it seems like a good place to let my faith in God grow,” he said. “The size of the school means that I will get more personal help from each professor.”