D e g r ee s
V e locit y
Ev e r y M i l l s a p s d i p l o m a tells its own success story. For Millsaps graduates, real-world success is the rule – not the exception. They are leaders because they are thinkers, fueled by passion and propelled by wisdom.
Our national-caliber faculty gives students the personal attention and freedom to define their own paths. And the Millsaps approach to education embraces the whole student: academically, socially, civically, and philosophically. That’s the reason Millsaps graduates are accepted to medical, law, business, and graduate schools at a rate well above the national average – or immediately begin meaningful careers. Upon graduation, Millsaps students are equipped with the experience and insight to open any door, and the perspective to build one if need be.
The alumni featured here typify the unique and genuine passion all Millsaps students seem to share. They are ordinary graduates doing extraordinary things in boardrooms, courtrooms, laboratories, and communities around the globe – real people making real differences.
Honing passion into profession. Dr. Vonda Reeves-Darby ... page 3
Justice James E. Graves, Jr. ... page 7
Aprile Gilmore ... page 3
Chrissie Faust ... page 6
Will Flatt ... page 5
Maggie Morgan-Smith ... page 10
Kaley Payne Nash ... page 10
Lee Mitchell ... page 11
Theon Johnson ... page 6
Vassil Zanev ... page 11
Lane Williamson Staines ... page 8
Jessica Samson ... page 13
Casey Parks ... page 13
Jeff Good ... page 9
Dr. Vonda reeves-darby Chemistry 1978 – Gastroenterologist
The ability to go to college in an open and diverse
me to test my boundaries. That experience taught me
environment was amazing to me. In 1975, at the age of
a very important lesson that I have followed throughout
16, I was impassioned with my newfound freedom, and
my life – boundaries are not obstructions, but are
Millsaps fostered an ability to make good decisions well
challenges to be addressed – and flattened when
beyond my age.
“Millsaps helped put me on the path to a rewarding career and life.” – Dr. Vonda Reeves-Darby
As a physician, my medical focus is on motility disorders and HIV-related conditions. I’m board-certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology. And in 2002, it was my great honor to receive the Jim Livesay Service Award – one of Millsaps’ highest recognitions.
At that time, Millsaps was really encouraging pre-med
Millsaps helped put me on the path to a rewarding
minorities. I’d received athletic scholarships from
career and life. So when the opportunity came to give my
other colleges, but Millsaps was my first academic
experience back to Millsaps, I was thrilled. I proudly serve
scholarship. I’ll never forget my mother saying that you
as one of Millsaps’ medical mentors – offering students
can’t make a living as a woman playing basketball.
clinical experience and insights into the field of medicine. The mentoring program is the perfect chance
The pre-med mentoring program surrounded me with
to interact with today’s Millsaps students and a simple
people who wouldn’t let me stray too far from the fold.
way to give back to something I love.
But the Millsaps attitude of self-accountability allowed
Aprile Gilmore Chemistry 2007 – medical student University of Mississippi School of Medicine I arrived at Millsaps College saying that I was “pre-med.” At the time, I had absolutely no idea what that meant or the amount of work it would entail – but I found out quickly. As early as your freshman year, there are pre-med meetings to teach you not only about the required courses and MCAT, but also what you can do to demonstrate that you have what it takes to become a physician. Extracurricular activities are an important part of a medical school application, and Millsaps provides you with the opportunity to shadow physicians, volunteer in community service projects, participate in scientific research, and gain leadership skills in numerous organizations. Millsaps even has a pre-medical committee to assist you in the medical Aprile Gilmore with Millsaps mentor, Dr. Vonda Reeves-Darby 3
school application process.
Although my focus was medicine, Millsaps has a way of pushing you in
require in-depth thinking, reasoning, analysis, and logic. These skills are
different directions so that you get a fuller, more well-rounded college
absolutely essential for success in medical school and as a practicing
experience. I was also interested in education, so I participated in a Ford
Teaching Fellowship Program where I saw first-hand what it was like to teach Chemistry I and II. The core curriculum also exposed me to social
Just as important as the diversity of courses, you’ll come across a variety
sciences, history, religion, art, foreign language, and other areas. I even
of people, from all over the world, with a broad range of political, religious,
took piano lessons for one semester. When I left Millsaps College headed
and personal views. And because of Millsaps’ size, you end up interacting
for medical school, I was confident that I had made an informed decision
with students and professors more closely. As I started to get to know
for my future because I had been exposed to so many other areas in my
the other students at Millsaps, I began to appreciate people for their
differences. It’s odd, but in a way I think you need a school as small as Millsaps to fully understand how big the world really is.
The courses at Millsaps challenge you to think in new and different ways. Even the courses that are more “fact based,” like math and sciences, 4
Will Flatt Business Administration 1997 – Chief Operating Officer & Executive V.P., Parkway Properties
Millsaps is directly responsible for opening the door
remember taking work home over Christmas break
to my career. But more importantly, my experiences
because I actually enjoyed it. It was meaningful,
there inspired me to expand my own definitions of
real work to benefit the company. Except for a
success and fulfillment so that I could pursue that
three-week break after graduation, I’ve been with
career as far as I have.
Parkway ever since.
“ At Millsaps, you don’t have to trade in your social life for success.” – Will Flatt
I think two very important factors contributed to what turned out to be my big break. First, Millsaps is part of a community where these kinds of opportunities exist. Secondly, Dr. Taylor and I were able to get to know each other well enough that this topic just came up during a casual conversation.
It was my senior year, and I had just returned from a summer economics studies program in Prague.
In addition to the close relationships between
Like any good college student, I was waiting tables.
faculty and students, Millsaps students also really
But then I got elected to a student body office. The
get to know each other. I was able to associate
student body meetings were at night, so I needed a
with students who held meaningful and ambitious
daytime job. My economics professor, Dr. Pat Taylor,
personal goals in all areas of life. These students
had heard that Parkway was hiring interns.
know how to have a good time. You don’t have to trade in your social life for success. And I think
As it turned out, the gentleman who interviewed
that’s an important part of the college experience –
me at Parkway had graduated from Millsaps the
to enjoy it.
year before. The internship began that fall, and I 5
Chrissie faust Psychology 2008 – Neuroscience Ph.D. Student, Tulane University Without a doubt, what makes Millsaps unique is the people. Other small liberal arts schools may compare to Millsaps academically, but the administrators, professors, and students at Millsaps seem to take a much greater interest in each other. For example, it’s not uncommon for a student to see a prospective family getting a tour around the campus and then go join them for lunch. Millsaps students are passionate about what they do, and administrators and professors go out of their way to nurture that enthusiasm.
At Millsaps, I received the guidance I needed to get into graduate
Religous Studies 2006 Graduate Program of Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington D.C.
school upon finishing college. My professors knew me well enough to write meaningful recommendation letters, and now I’m on track for a doctorate in neuroscience.
Attending a school like Millsaps presents benefits that you won’t find anywhere else. There’s a close bond between
In addition, the student body presented more opportunities to
the students and professors, and you have access to more
take part in research projects, which was something that graduate
opportunities for growth. For me, that meant a greater
schools looked highly upon. Through the Ford Teaching Fellowship
level of involvement. I was able to win several awards and
program, which pairs students interested in teaching at the
honors, including becoming Millsaps’ first African-American
college level with faculty mentors, I worked directly with one of my
Student Body Association president.
professors, Dr. Kurt Thaw, on a research project, which I eventually presented at two conferences. Having access to amazing learning
In the path I’ve chosen, education means more than job
experiences like these is a hallmark of Millsaps. It’s something you
training. It means finding the right perspective on life.
simply won’t find at every school.
Millsaps teaches that knowledge and learning cannot be divorced from responsible living. It’s not enough to simply know facts; you need to be able to find the truth, and to live truthfully. Millsaps is a unique community because its values reaffirm the idea that as we learn more about the world around us, we learn more about ourselves as human beings, and the more fully equipped we are to understand how we are to live in the world. Millsaps helped me heed and define my calling – to encourage others to grow within their faith. Today, I am proud to be pursuing my graduate studies at Wesley, one of the most respected and selective theological seminaries in the United States. My time at Millsaps helped me get here, helping me get on the right path not just for my career, but for my life.
JUSTICE JAMES E. GRAVES, JR. Sociology 1975 – Mississippi Supreme Court Justice
Since graduating from Millsaps in 1975, a lot has
well. The thing that Millsaps really impressed on me is that
happened. A lot has changed. My own personal journey has
a liberal arts education is important not only in preparing
taken me into the world of law, teaching, and ultimately to
for a career, but in preparing for a meaningful life.
the Mississippi Supreme Court. Millsaps set the trajectory both my life and career would I came from a rural all-black high school to an integrated
follow. After earning my law degree from Syracuse, I
metropolitan college. I was used to doing really well –
returned to Mississippi. I knew I could be of service here,
being valedictorian, having the highest ACT score, and
and this is where I was needed. I served as a special
so forth. At Millsaps, I was suddenly surrounded by tons
assistant attorney general and a circuit court judge before
of people who were the same way. It was a much more
being appointed to the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2001.
challenging and competitive environment than I was used
I was the only African-American on the court, and after my
to – yet also incredibly supportive.
appointment, I won re-election to the same position.
“ Millsaps set the
trajectory both my life and career would follow.” – Justice James E. Graves Jr.
to teaching, motivating, and inspiring our youth. In addition to working with children and teenagers in Jackson, I teach trial advocacy to Harvard third-year law students. And it was a distinct honor to be asked to teach Law and Society as an undergraduate class at Millsaps last year. Looking back, I can’t think of any place that would have prepared me any better for my future. To me, Millsaps is
Intimidations aside, it was an extremely positive
more than a great school; it’s part of my life. I met my wife
experience. The quality of the faculty is exceptional. There
here, and my son is also a graduate. As I took the podium
were small, intimate classes where the professors knew
as keynote speaker of a recent commencement ceremony,
your name and encouraged one-on-one interaction. It
I realized my life and education had come full circle – and
pushes you to to work hard, to study deeply, and to prepare
Millsaps will always be at the center.
Lane Williamson Staines with Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James Graves 7
Throughout my law career, I have also remained committed
LANE WILLIAMSON STAINES Business Administration/English 2005 – Lawyer, Brunini Grantham Grower & Hewes
When I came to Millsaps, I thought I would eventually work in
My education at Millsaps, particularly with the heavy emphasis
hospital administration, so I majored in business administration.
on writing, gave me a solid foundation for law school. So I was
Things changed as I studied further and realized how much I
never overwhelmed by anything handed my way. As I began
would love to work in a law-related field. I decided to pick up
interviewing for clerkships after my first and second years of law
an English major, too, to prepare me for law school. Now, I have
school, I often found myself meeting other Millsaps alumni in
the opportunity to combine both those interests and work in
the legal field. Those types of connections are priceless.
healthcare law, among other areas. Millsaps reminded me that you don’t always have to choose and that you don’t have to put
Millsaps instilled in me Gandhi’s famous words, “You must
unnecessary limitations on your dreams.
be the change you want to see in the world.” Millsaps taught me the importance of stepping up to be a leader and not just passing through life. 8
Jeff Good Business Administration 1986 – Entrepreneur and Restaurateur
When you ask what role Millsaps has played in
There’s another benefit to Millsaps that also stayed
my career, you have to look at if from a subtle
with me. At a small school, there is a level of
perspective. I received a degree in business
interaction and involvement among students and
administration and left completely prepared for a
professors that I don’t think you get in a larger
promising career with a Fortune 100 technology
environment. You know everyone, and you have an
company. But seven years later, I teamed up with a
opportunity to participate in a lot of things. That
business partner and we opened a restaurant. And
trait is still very much a part of my life, whether
then another. And another.
I’m getting involved in my favorite charities, working with restaurant trade associations, or
Business has been great, and I’m doing what I
supporting causes like the ballet, crime prevention,
love. My Millsaps education helped me get here
and tourism. The energetic, participatory
not by teaching me how to cook, but by teaching
atmosphere I found at Millsaps has enabled me to
me to think critically and strategically. These two
become a more giving and substantial member of
skills enabled me to literally make something
out of nothing – turning an idea into a start-up business. The rigors of my liberal arts education,
So, you may not learn the secrets of making a
coupled with the case-study methodology of
perfect Asiago sauce at Millsaps. But then again,
dissect, analyze, and report, outfitted me with the
maybe you’ll find all the ingredients there to get
life skills needed to be successful at an aggressive
where you want to go.
entrepreneurial undertaking. 9
Maggie Morgan-Smith Sociology/Anthropology 2007 – Archaeology Ph.D. Student, UNC Chapel Hill The classroom experience at Millsaps is certainly unique, and I have come to appreciate it more and more since beginning my graduate studies. When I compare my undergraduate experience with that of students from other institutions, I realize how well I was prepared for graduate school and the workforce. Rather than sitting through hours of lecture, we held informed conversations about the material, facilitated by our professors. We were encouraged to ask questions, debate theories, and have an opinion. The anthropology faculty were incredibly supportive of me and of everyone that comes through the department. They build upon what goes on in the classroom, and encourage their students to
kaley PAyne nash
get hands-on experience. In addition to receiving an excellent
Economics 2005 – Field Operations Manager, Jalalabad, Afghanistan
educational experience at Millsaps, I was also able to apply what we learned in the classroom to the field by spending several summers performing research with Millsaps’ archaeological field
My life is just like a lot of others. I recently adopted two
program in Yucatán, Mexico. That cemented my desire to pursue
kittens named Juno and Tamalayne. I have a promising
archaeology as a career, and my Ph.D. dissertation actually focuses
career. I’m married to a young attorney, and I’m getting
on ethnoarchaeological work in the Yucatán. This early hands-on
ready to plant a small garden in my backyard. It’s the typical
experience in the field continues to play a vital role in my career.
American dream. Only it’s in Afghanistan.
From the very beginning, I received excellent mentoring from
It’s been an interesting path for me. I was born in Kenya,
professors at Millsaps, and they helped me negotiate the job
where my parents worked as missionaries. From there we
market upon graduation in 2007. At their suggestion, I spent a
went to Mississippi. At the time, my boyfriend was attending
year working for Brockington and Associates, a cultural resource
Millsaps, so I decided to take a closer look. But what really
management firm based in Atlanta.
sealed the deal was a talk with one of my political science professors, Dr. Iren Omo-Bare – who, like me, had come here
When I decided to continue my graduate studies, I had my choice
of lucrative fellowships from top-notch institutions. Millsaps gave me a great foundation for moving forward – and the confidence to
In addition to his expert tutelage in politics and development,
go after the career and life I really want.
he also proved to be a formidable mentor – perhaps one of the most influential people in my life. He gave me the courage to apply for graduate school, and the confidence to study abroad for two years. After Millsaps, I attended the London School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies. With my studies came a hunger to see other parts of the world – and a comfort that made me feel at home wherever I was. This year, I’m in Afghanistan, helping to support privatesector development by helping international agencies and companies more effectively link with local suppliers. I love the place I live; it’s a severe oldness mingled with an extreme newness. I look forward to the path ahead. I often wonder where it will take my husband and me, and I sense that it will eventually lead back to Africa, where it all started. Even though I’ve scarcely started, it feels as if I’ve accumulated so many wonderful memories and experiences – from Kenya to London to Kabul, and, of course, Millsaps. Thanks for always making time for me, Dr. Omo-Bare! 10
Lee Mitchell Business Administration 1994; MBA 1998 – Vice President, Trustmark National Bank
My undergraduate and MBA degrees from Millsaps
the typical student at a large university. Millsaps
did a great job of preparing me for the things that my
has strong athletic programs and an excellent Greek
career would require of me. My professors not only
system, both of which led me to leadership positions.
provided an excellent academic foundation for my
I was captain of the varsity soccer team, vice
banking career, but also offered personal guidance
president of my fraternity, and vice president of the
on where I should be headed. They facilitated my
internship with Trustmark National Bank, which resulted in a job after graduation and a career.
“ In a sense, the smaller size means bigger opportunities.” – Lee Mitchell
The small number of students in each class ensured each individual’s participation and better absorption of subject matter. In a sense, the smaller size means bigger opportunities. As a result, I think you leave college prepared for life, no matter what career you are pursuing. More importantly, the knowledge that you can
But beyond that valuable training, there are aspects
participate in many different things stays with you.
of a Millsaps education that you won’t find in many
It enriches your life. And maybe that’s what
other schools. Due to the small student population, I
education is all about.
had more opportunities for leadership positions than
Vassil zanev Business Administration 2004; MACC 2009 Senior Treasury Analyst, Trustmark National Bank
After graduating from Millsaps in 2004, I quickly landed a position with a large investment firm, where I rose to the level of senior treasury analyst. As my career progresses, I’m also working on my Master’s of Accountancy at the Millsaps Else School of Management. The thing that strikes me most about Millsaps is that they still believe in education in the classical, holistic sense of the word. Vassil Zanev with Lee Mitchell 11
Yes, they equip you with the skills you need for a successful
that can benefit you no matter what your field of study may be.
career, but they also place a high priority on critical-thinking
My classroom experience taught me to always be open to new
skills and nurturing complete, well-rounded graduates.
ideas and to challenge long-standing assumptions. Those things are more than theoretical exercises; they are skills that are with
For example, their writing program is completely independent of
me every day, whether Iâ€™m attending new classes or analyzing a
the English department. It spans all departments, from English
billion-dollar investment portfolio.
to biology to accounting. Why? Because when you think about it, writing is an extremely valuable workplace skill, and it also
Millsaps teaches you to vigorously pursue ideas and insights. In
requires clear thinking, organization, and the ability to support
the workplace, you can see a practical, bottom-line value to this.
a persuasive argument. At Millsaps, students develop the skills
But beyond that, there is an intrinsic, highly meaningful value
necessary to analyze and understand complex information, and
impossible to assess.
to express themselves clearly and concisely. Thatâ€™s something
Jessica samson Biology 2008 – Environmental Educator, Jekyll Island, Georgia If I had to single out one thing that makes Millsaps different, I’d sum it up this way: It’s not just about getting a diploma. It’s about getting an education, and being in surroundings that foster not only learning, but friendship, discipline, and direction as well. When I arrived at Millsaps, I knew that I wanted to be either an environmental lawyer or a teacher. I was torn between the two options and believed that doing a Ford Teaching Fellowship, which pairs students interested in teaching at the college level with faculty mentors, would help me decide. At one of the Ford Teaching Fellow lunches, Dr. Bill Storey said something that stayed with me. “There are two kinds of educators,” he said. “Those that teach so they can learn about the subject they love and share their passion with others. And then there are those who are called to teaching and are happy teaching anything to anyone.” I thought about it seriously, and knew that teaching was my calling. Formally and informally, I’ve taught
many different disciplines ranging from Spanish to botany, and I’ve
English 2005 – Reporter, The Oregonian
worked with ages four to 21. I learned something new from every teaching experience, and I have never had a teaching experience that I did not enjoy. It’s what I’m here to do.
Millsaps started me out not just on a successful career, but a wonderful life. In 2006, I won the trip of a lifetime through
Millsaps taught me a lot about teaching – not just the
an essay contest held by the New York Times, which allowed
fundamentals of biology, but also intangible things like patience,
me to accompany Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas
attentiveness, and being there for others. Today, I’m an
Kristof on a two-week reporting trip through central Africa.
Environmental Educator. Next fall, I’m off to graduate school. The
During the trip, I kept a blog for the New York Times and
road ahead may take me in any one of a hundred directions. But
a video blog for MTV. I also had work accepted by national
wherever it leads, I’ll never forget where it all started.
publications like Glamour, Christian Science Monitor, and Marie Claire. My time at Millsaps was extremely influential in honing and refining my skills and perspectives as a journalist. My journalism professor was particularly helpful in teaching what types of stories are appropriate, as well as how to edit efficiently. Before graduation, I completed an honors project on feature journalism. Today, I’m working at the Pacific Northwest’s biggest andin Africa Casey Parks with Nicholas Kristof oldest newspaper. I feel like I’ve covered a lot of territory in a small amount of time. Big opportunities. Small school. That pretty much sums up Millsaps.
Define success. A Millsaps education is an investment in your future. It is more than a diploma or a line on a resumé; it serves you for a lifetime. You wouldn’t be reading this if we didn’t believe that you, like those featured in this piece, possess the unique ability to make a real difference to our campus community and the world. If you have any questions at all, contact us at 800.352.1050 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To take the next step in building your own extraordinary life, please accept our offer of admission and scholarships by submitting your enrollment deposit by the National Candidates Reply Deadline of May 1st. For additional information on the enrollment process or submitting your enrollment deposit online, visit www.millsaps.edu/admiss.
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