(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University honored 170 academic “champions” on last Sunday, with some of them gathering for the inaugural President’s and Provost’s Scholars Reception to receive gold medallions for their steady commitment to excellence. The event was held in the atrium of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology building.
Mitchell Shears, Ph.D., conceived the event. He is the associate vice president for JSU’s Student Success and executive director of Title III. He said, “These scholars exhibit greatness.”
Because of the students’ successes before and while attending JSU, he conceptualized the idea to reward them with a reception and gold medallions. He was joined by JSU President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D., and Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Alisa Mosley, Ph.D.
Hudson commended the honorees for being dedicated to their academics and community service, which made them worthy of being recognized as President’s Scholars.
“I thank you for your continued perseverance and your dedication to being the best over and over again,” he said. “We know our priorities at Jackson State University. It’s always students first, and we will always honor student success.” He then urged the honorees to “take pride in your work, celebrate your accomplishments; and always demonstrate good character and scholarship.”
Additionally, Mosley called the celebration ideal for honoring academic success and shining a spotlight on scholars. “Sometimes you all are in the shadows, but you should be on the stage.” She emphasized that JSU would continue exposing the scholars to every opportunity to benefit them as they matriculate through college and prepare for their careers.
The following distinctions describe JSU’s academic champions:
- President’s Scholars are those who receive the Presidential Academic Scholarship. The requirements for incoming freshmen include having a college preparatory curriculum grade-point average of 3.5 as calculated by Undergraduate Admissions; an ACT score of 28 or above; or SAT score of 1,300 and above. Continuing students who are awarded the Presidential Academic Scholarship as a freshman may continuously receive the scholarship for three years if they maintain an annual institutional grade-point average of 3.5 and 30 credit hours.
- Provost’s Scholars are those who receive the Provost Academic Scholarship. The requirements for incoming freshmen include having a college preparatory curriculum grade-point average of 3.25 as calculated by Undergraduate Admissions; an ACT score of 25-27; or an SAT score of 1,200 – 1,290. Continuing students who are awarded the Provost Academic Scholarship as a freshman may continuously receive the scholarship for three years if they maintain an institutional grade-point average of 3.25 and 30 credit hours each academic year.
Several of the recipients shared the importance of the scholarships.
Madison Cathey, a junior accounting major from Hattiesburg, was among the Provost’s Scholars.
“I’m grateful for Jackson State because the scholarship allows me to go to school with full tuition and room-and-board. I can focus on school and my studies and not worry about the pressure of paying for an education.”
That sentiment was shared by President’s Scholar Mahlangu Nzunda, a freshman majoring in computer engineering and a native of the central-southern African nation of Zambia.
“Jackson State University has been a fantastic experience. I feel like the future is going to be very bright,” Nzunda said. He already has an interview lined up with HP for a summer internship in New Mexico. “It’s wonderful that there are people willing to vouch for someone who might not have the financial resources. But, as long as you have dreams and goals, people are willing to provide the necessary resources.”
President’s Scholar Audra Robinson, a sophomore computer engineering major from Meridian, Mississippi, said he’s equally excited. “This honor means a lot to me. Both of my parents are JSU alums, so it’s nice to continue the legacy.”
Meanwhile, Shears, who hails the honorees for their work and commitment, reflected over the past 22 months, which have been challenging for every student.
“We understand that it has been very difficult to navigate life through the pandemic. Equally, it has been difficult to maintain such high academic success, but the scholars we are honoring today are not just ordinary people, they are extraordinary. You have shown all of us the true definition of perseverance.”