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EVERY MILLSAPS DIPLOMA T E L L S I T S O W N S U C C E S S S T O R Y. 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. The Millsaps approach to education embraces the whole student: academically, socially, civically, and philosophically. That is one of the reasons 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 that all Millsaps students seem to share. They are real people making real differences in boardrooms, courtrooms, and communities.


Liz Lancaster ... page 4

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves ... page 5

Matt Russell ... page 10

Lee Mitchell ... page 11

Justice James E. Graves Jr. ... page 7

Lane Williamson Staines ... page 8

Katie Ann Dennis ... page 6

Katie Sorey ... page 6

Dr. Aprile Gilmore ... page 10

Vassil Zanev ... page 12

Maria Underwood Davis ... page 9

Dr. Angela Shannon ... page 13

Lisa D’Amour ... page 13

Zach Davis ... page 9

Jeff Good Business Administration 1986 Entrepreneur and Restaurateur


When you ask what role Millsaps has played in my career, you have to look at it from a subtle perspective. I received a degree in business administration and left completely prepared for a promising career with a Fortune 100 technology company. But seven years later, I teamed up with a business partner and we opened a restaurant. And then another. And another. Business has been great, and I’m doing what I love. My Millsaps education helped me get here not by teaching me how to cook, but by teaching me to think critically and strategically. These two 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, coupled with the case-study methodology of dissect, analyze, and report, outfitted me with the life skills needed to be successful at an aggressive entrepreneurial undertaking. There’s another benefit to Millsaps that also stayed with me. At a small school, there is a level of interaction and involvement among students and professors that I don’t think you get in a larger environment. You know everyone, and you have an opportunity to participate in a lot of things. That trait is still very much a part of my life, whether I’m getting involved in my favorite charities, working with restaurant trade associations, or supporting causes like the ballet, crime prevention, and tourism. The energetic, participatory atmosphere I found at Millsaps has enabled me to become a more giving and substantial member of the community.


Communications (now Communication Studies) 2011 Marketing, Promotions, and Event Planning Manager for Mangia Bene Restaurant Management Group in Jackson Although I grew up in a Millsaps legacy family and had heard about the College all of my life, I wanted to do something different. That was until I visited my older sister, Darrington, when she was a sophomore at MiIllsaps. I sat in on several classes and met students and faculty. Everyone was so friendly and personable. It felt like home. I had a personal relationship with my professors that I don’t think I would have experienced on a larger campus. I stay in touch with a majority of them, and they continue to advise me about my career. There are many opportunities for community service such as Wellspring and 1 Campus 1 Community. You can tutor children, build Habitat for Humanity houses, help with beautification projects, or assist with arts and crafts at Mustard Seed. I was involved on campus as a member of Greek life, the Millsaps Singers, a resident assistant, and the Student Body Association. I doubt that I would have had the opportunity to participate in all of these activities at a large university. When I contacted Jeff Good, one of the owners of Mangia Bene and a Millsaps alumnus, about a marketing position, I think I definitely had an advantage. Because I was a Millsaps graduate and he knew what Millsaps graduates are like, Jeff was also familiar with the morals and work ethic I would have. He knew I would make a great employee. 4

TATE REEVES Economics 1996

Lieutenant Governor of the State of Mississippi

When I was a student at Millsaps, I never thought I would be lieutenant governor of Mississippi at age 37. My first job was working for one of Mississippi’s largest financial institutions in its investment shop. I enjoyed helping Mississippians reach financial goals, whether it was saving for retirement, sending their children to college or raising capital to start their own business. While at Millsaps, I volunteered on a few political campaigns, which gave me insight into other ways to help make our state better and stronger. My passion for public service intensified after graduation, and I decided to run for statewide office at age 28, and held two terms as state treasurer. Critical thinking skills encouraged at Millsaps have served me well. Elected leaders must examine the long-term impact of public policy decisions, not view the world in short, four-year cycles. I credit Millsaps with giving me the tools to analyze how decisions we 5

make today will shape future generations. As a member of the Majors basketball team, I learned valuable lessons of teamwork and perseverance. As the leader of the 52-member Mississippi Senate, I rely on senators and my staff to bring their viewpoints to the public policy questions facing our state and work together to find solutions. I went to Millsaps to play basketball, and I lucked into a great education. Everywhere I go, I tell young people about that experience. The size of the campus gives you the freedom to find your own purpose while feeling part of the Major family. The professors excel in their fields and train you to face the challenges in today’s global economy. There is a strong alumni network that stretches around the world. And, most importantly, earning a Millsaps degree will ensure you have an ability to think as your primary tool to be competitive in whatever field you choose.


Religious Studies 2011 Second-year Masters of Divinity student, Duke University Divinity School

I entered Millsaps knowing I was called to ministry, and my goal was to be a pastor in a local church. However, my experiences at Millsaps through service learning opportunities gave me a passion for engaging people outside my comfort zone. Those experiences, along with my first year in seminary, have made me realize that my calling and passions are in the larger community outside the church.


Neuroscience and Cognitive Studies 2011 Second-year student at Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans

When I entered Millsaps, being a physician was on my list of possible careers. Because of the high-quality laboratory experiences on campus and opportunities off campus, I realized by my junior year that I not only wanted to be a physician, but I also wanted to be involved in research.

The world is your oyster at Millsaps. There are field experiences locally . . . and globally. One of my education classes met every week in a Boys and Girls Club in Jackson. I fulfilled a science credit with a two-week field study at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Several of my classmates studied in Costa Rica and Europe. Having grown up in the Jackson area, I wondered if I would have a true college experience by attending college in my hometown. Because most of the students at Millsaps are from out of town, I got to see the city with my new friends in a whole new way. From my classes, I also gained more in-depth knowledge about the city of Jackson and the role it played in the civil rights movement.

Through the special programs offered at Millsaps, I worked during my senior year with neuroscience researchers in laboratories at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. During my junior year, I was matched with a private practice neurosurgeon and Millsaps alumnus, Dr. Philip Azordegan, for 60 hours of shadowing experience, including observing spinal surgeries. You don’t get opportunities like this, especially with specialists, at many colleges and universities. These kinds of experiences, along with the classroom emphasis on critical thinking, prepared me well for medical school. I was on the lacrosse team and very active in my sorority, Tri Delta. The leadership skills I learned in those areas also have helped me to succeed in medical school.


Justice James E. Graves Jr. Sociology 1975 United States Circuit Judge United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit


Since graduating from Millsaps in 1975, a lot has happened. A lot has changed. My own personal journey has taken me into the world of law, teaching, and ultimately to the Mississippi Supreme Court and now to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. I came from a rural all-black high school to an integrated metropolitan college. I was used to doing really well – being valedictorian, having the highest ACT score, and so forth. At Millsaps, I was suddenly surrounded by tons of people who were the same way. It was a much more challenging and competitive environment than I was used to – yet also incredibly supportive. Intimidations aside, it was an extremely positive experience. The quality of the faculty was exceptional. There were small, intimate classes where the professors knew your name and encouraged one-on-one interaction. It pushed me to work hard, to study deeply, and to prepare well. The thing that

Millsaps really impressed on me is that a liberal arts education is important not only in preparing for a career, but in preparing for a meaningful life. Millsaps set the trajectory both my life and career would follow. After earning my law degree from Syracuse, I returned to Mississippi. I served as a special assistant attorney general and a circuit court judge before being appointed to the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2001. I was the only African-American on the court, and after my appointment, I won re-election to the same position. In 2011, I was nominated by President Obama, confirmed unanimously by the Senate, and received my commission to serve as a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Throughout my law career, I have remained committed to teaching, motivating, and inspiring our youth. In addition to working with children and teenagers in Jackson, I have taught trial advocacy to Harvard third-year law students. And it was a distinct honor to be asked to teach Law and Society to an undergraduate class at Millsaps a few years ago. I can’t think of any place that would have prepared me any better for my future.

LANE WILLIAMSON STAINES English/Business Administration 2005

Attorney at Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC

When I first came to Millsaps, I thought I would eventually work in hospital administration so I majored in business administration. Things changed as my studies advanced and I recognized my interest in working in a law-related field. I decided to pick up an English major, too, in preparation for law school. Now, I have the opportunity to integrate both those interests and work in healthcare law, among other areas. My education at Millsaps, particularly with the school’s strong emphasis on writing and critical thinking, gave me a solid foundation for law school and prepared me for the challenges ahead. As I began interviewing for clerkships after my first and second years of law school, I often found myself meeting other Millsaps alumni in the legal field. Those connections are priceless. Millsaps instilled in me Gandhi’s famous words, “You must 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

MARIA UNDERWOOD DAVIS Religious Studies 2011

Heart Walk Director, Birmingham American Heart Association; M.B.A. student at the University of Alabama


Public Management 2011 Institutional Giving Manager, Alabama Symphony Orchestra

Zach and Maria: Non-profit fundraising is challenging and requires more creativity than ever before. We were well equipped by Millsaps to face those challenges. We were both taught to put meaning into our work, and while there are often obstacles to our success—even competing against each other at times—we each have a passion for what we do and would not trade it at the end of the day.

Zach: I manage all corporate sponsorships, government relations, and grant writing for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. I knew I wanted a position where I would be challenged to think creatively and interact with diverse groups of people. My Millsaps experience gave me a practical perspective on solving real problems. My experience 9

in the public management program helped me see the interaction of various stakeholders in the community and how to effectively work with those agencies.

Maria: I’m a development director at the Heart Association, specifically for the Heart Walk campaign. I wanted a job where I could learn and grow every day because that’s the experience I also had at Millsaps. Being involved on campus in various leadership positions helped me to be confident in my ability to take on a large fundraising goal and manage others on my team, even though I’m the youngest staff member. The Faith and Work program taught me how to appreciate my ability to work and to ensure that the outcome of each day resulted in something positive for the community.

DR. APRILE C. GILMORE Chemistry 2007

Pediatric Resident Physician University of Mississippi Medical Center

I arrived at Millsaps College saying that I was “pre-med.” 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 school application process.


Psychology 1999 Master of Business Administration 2001 BMW of North American Product & Technology Communications Manager

I came from a tiny high school class… only 40 of us! Millsaps provided a big step up in size without making me feel lost. Millsaps had the low student-teacher ratio I was familiar with in prep school, but its integration into greater Jackson area culture and business brought real-world experience within my reach as a student. The Career Center helped me find an internship off-campus, so I could expand my horizon.

Millsaps has a way of pushing you in different directions so that you get a fuller, more well-rounded college 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 sciences, history, religion, art, foreign language, and other areas. I even took piano lessons for one semester. When I left Millsaps College headed for medical school, I was confident that I had made an informed decision for my future because I had been exposed to so many other areas in my undergraduate education.

Millsaps provided a strong core curriculum combined with a solid variety of internship opportunities. The College’s liberal arts discipline helped me grow in ways I hadn’t expected and further developed my ability to write with appropriate forethought. These benefits continue to pay dividends. I think the “work hard, play hard” academic philosophy that seems shared by the entire Millsaps campus community is something only a school with this size and spirit can offer. 10

Lee Mitchell Business Administration 1994 Master of Business Administration 1998 Senior Vice President, Trustmark National Bank


My undergraduate and MBA degrees from Millsaps did a great job of preparing me for the things that my career would require of me. My professors not only provided an excellent academic foundation for my banking career, but also offered personal guidance on where I should be headed. They facilitated my internship with Trustmark National Bank, which resulted in a job after graduation and a career.

But beyond that valuable training, there are aspects of a Millsaps education that you won’t find in many other schools. Due to the small student population, I had more opportunities for leadership positions than the typical student at a large university. Millsaps has strong athletic programs and an excellent Greek system, both of which led me to leadership positions. I was captain of the varsity soccer team, vice president of my fraternity, and vice president of the interfraternity council. 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.


Business Administration 2004 Masters of Accounting 2009 Vice President, Trustmark National Bank After graduating from Millsaps in 2004, I quickly landed a position with a large financial institution. I felt well prepared and knowledgeable and was soon promoted to senior treasury analyst. When I was ready to further advance my career, I knew that the Else School of Management would provide me with exactly what I needed, that truly well-rounded education. What strikes me the most about Millsaps is that I was surrounded by a community of peers and faculty who believe in education in the classical, holistic sense of the word. You learn the skills you need to be successful in a particular job, but more importantly you learn how to be a critical thinker. No matter what your chosen career is, this is invaluable in today’s ever-changing world. At Millsaps I was encouraged to embrace different perspectives and points of view and to challenge long-standing assumptions. These things are more than theoretical exercises; they are skills that are with me every day, whether I’m attending strategy meetings or trading financial derivatives. Millsaps teaches you to vigorously pursue ideas and insights and inspires you to strive to be your very best. You’ll be immersed in an environment where education goes beyond the walls of the classrooms, where faculty place high priority on nurturing complete, well-rounded graduates. In the workplace, you can see a practical, bottom-line value to this. But beyond that, there is an intrinsic, highly meaningful value impossible to assess. 12

LISA D’AMOUR English/Theatre 1991

Pulitzer Prize-Nominated and OBIE Award-Winning Playwright My years at Millsaps helped lay the foundation for my collaborative efforts in theatre. What was amazing for me in terms of my Millsaps experience was it was a small theatre department, and I wound up being able to do everything. I designed lighting, I acted, you name it. It’s been helpful in the collaborative work I do that blends theatre and installation art and is often site specific. I do more creative writing now than I did at Millsaps, but I consider Dr. Suzanne Marrs, professor of English, as influential. She introduced me to the writing of southern women.


Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Jackson GI Associates and Endoscopy Center

Before I graduated from high school, I had already set my sights on going to medical school. I chose Millsaps because I felt the College would give me a leg up on getting into medical school, and it did. I had absolutely no problem getting accepted into medical school. Professors were open and available to discuss any concerns or questions from students. They did an excellent job of showing us how to think rather than what to think. Counselors for pre-medicine helped students determine the courses and the path that would best prepare them for medical school. When I joined the staff at Jackson GI Associates and Endoscopy Center, I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Vonda Reeves-Darby, a Millsaps alumna who spoke on campus when I was a student. She has been my mentor.


I’ve worked with many professionals who graduated from Ivy League schools, but I’ve always been secure in my education from Millsaps. The education I was given gave me everything I needed, and more.

D EF IN E SUCCESS. Millsaps graduates are poised for success­— whether beginning a career or pursuing graduate or professional school. Our graduates are recognized by employers for their ability to contribute right away, and ultimately, for leaving a lasting impact upon the organizations and communities they serve. For those who pursue graduate programs, they do so with confidence and first-rate preparation. A Millsaps education is an investment in your future. It is more than a diploma or a line on a resume; it serves you for a lifetime. Let Millsaps College help you unveil your success story. If you have any questions or wish to schedule a visit to campus, contact us at 800.352.1050 or

Millsaps College Office of Admissions 1701 North State Street Jackson, MS 39210-0001 (800) 352-1050

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Admissions Outcomes: Real World Success  

For Millsaps graduates, real world success is the rule - not the exception. Learn about some of our distinguished alumni and how Millsaps pr...

Admissions Outcomes: Real World Success  

For Millsaps graduates, real world success is the rule - not the exception. Learn about some of our distinguished alumni and how Millsaps pr...