Contact: Lisa Sollie
MERIDIAN, Miss.—Five graduates at Mississippi State University-Meridian are being recognized as outstanding students for spring 2021 at commencement ceremonies to be held Monday [May 3] at 11 a.m. at the MSU Riley Center. They are among 116 students who are receiving diplomas, including 28 honor graduates, 10 Riley Scholars and three Stephen D. Lee Scholars.
The honorees include:
—April Bonner of Meridian, Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the Division of Arts and Sciences and recipient of the Dennis J. Mitchell Award of Excellence. An interdisciplinary studies major, Bonner completed her degree with highest honors (summa cum laude). Although she waited to earn an undergraduate degree until her children were older, the 39-year-old mother of two isn’t done yet. This June she will begin the Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Education degree program at MSU-Meridian, and in the fall, she will start a new career at Southeast Lauderdale Middle School in the Lauderdale County School District as a teacher and cross-country coach.
—Jason Holland of Philadelphia, Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the Division of Business. A business administration major with a concentration in healthcare administration, Holland returned to school at the age of 39 so he could advance in his career. A few months after he began taking classes at MSU-Meridian, he was offered a job in his hometown as director of radiology at Neshoba General Hospital where he oversees 20 employees.
—Q’Essence Walker of Florence, Outstanding Graduate Student for the Division of Business. A professional MBA major, Walker is a marketing consultant for her family’s consulting and event services business founded by her mother, a fall 2019 graduate of MSU-Meridian’s professional MBA program. She plans to expand the family business using the new skills and information she’s learned at Mississippi State, as well as drawing on her undergraduate communication degree.
—Brittney Harrison of Meridian, Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the Division of Education. An elementary education major, Riley Scholar and highest honor graduate (summa cum laude), she also is a Stephen D. Lee Scholar earning a 4.0 grade-point average throughout her college career. When Harrison began taking classes at Meridian Community College, she wanted to be a pastry chef, but decided teaching was the right career for her and now has her student internship behind her.
—Elizabeth Bennett of Meridian, Outstanding Graduate Student for the Division of Education. Bennett received her undergraduate degree in accounting from MSU-Meridian in 2017 and worked in the field for a few years, in both public and private accounting. A desire to teach led her back to Mississippi State and into the classroom as a fifth-grade inclusion teacher at Northeast Lauderdale Middle School in the Lauderdale County School District.
To learn more about MSU-Meridian, visit meridian.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.