Get to Know Our New President

Dr. ThompsonSeptember 4, 2018

The start of a new school year is best described as a wave of change and excitement. For some students, it’s meeting up with old friends they haven’t seen all summer, finally getting into the circus arts class, or being one semester closer to that “ring by spring”. But for Dr. Blake Thompson, our new MC president, this fall brings its own changes and plenty of excitement. As a husband and a father of three, it was no small task to move his family and become part of the Mississippi College family. Nevertheless, he seems up to the task.

Dr. Thompson and his wife are both from Mississippi, but they and their children have lived in a number of places, including Washington, D.C. and Columbus, Ohio. When given the chance to become the next president of MC, his family saw it as an opportunity to come home and contribute to this community.

So far, Dr. Thompson has enjoyed his time at MC and has found it hasn’t been too hard of an adjustment. He thoroughly enjoys meeting students, being able to build relationships with the faculty, Pimento’s homemade chips, and getting to use his new golf cart. If you see any random scooters around campus, they probably belong to his children, who are also getting used to this new way of life.

“Everyone has been so welcoming and warm and kind. We really just appreciate it and find it a joy to even be here.”

Being president of a university was not originally one of Dr. Thompson’s ambitions. However, he and his family “pursued opportunities as they came,” and when God opened this door for him, he did not hesitate.

When comparing working at a smaller, private university to working at a large, public university, he notes that while the size is a noticeable difference, they are more alike than they are different. Both private and public universities have relatively the same problems, but they also the same possibilities and potential. However, parking at private universities is noticeably better.

Dr. Thompson is also very active on social media (@DrBlakeThompson) . Recently beating the MC Clocktower (@MCClocktower) in a race to 1,000 followers, he hopes his presence on the world wide web will allow him to interact more with students, as well to boost morale by letting them know that they are heard and cared for.

When asked to describe Mississippi College in one word, Dr. Thompson gave three.

“Family,” for how close knit and inviting MC is, not only to him and his family, but to anyone who walks through its doors. “Faith,” not only due to the faithfulness MC has shown and will continue to show, but also in regards to God’s faithfulness to His people here on campus.  “Love,” because people love MC. Our alumni and students are loyal. The faculty loves students, and the love of God is present on this campus, a love that is formed by faith.

Dr. Thompson’s current mantra is simple, but rich in meaning: “Head and Heart.” To him, this can mean many things. It describes how he wants to be a headstrong but also compassionate leader. In addition, it delves further into a sense of purpose, describing us as an institution. Mississippi College produces intellects who are in touch with those around them, combined with a smart and compassionate culture, full of faith and academic success.

So what’s next? Dr. Thompson plans to spend these next weeks getting to know the campus and everyone who makes MC what it is. So be on the lookout, and be sure to give our newest president a warm MC welcome!

Nathalie Rowell

Volume 100, Issue 1

New BSU Leaders Expect Great Things

March 22, 2016

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(from left) Mandy Phillips, Emily Greer, Travis Pollard, Anna Widner and Jarrett Frierson ministered in Mass. over Spring Break

 The Baptist Student Union has experienced changes in leadership this semester with both a new Director and Associate Director. In January, former Associate Director Mandy Phillips was officially named Director. Then, on Feb. 22, MC graduate Ryan Bain worked his first day as the associate director.  

Phillips had previously served as Associate Director beginning in October 2014 until her time as the interim Director from October 2015 until January 2016. Phillips has had a 16-year-long career in collegiate ministry that has had her crisscrossing the country. Before returning to her home state of Mississippi to work at MC, Phillips worked in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Rhode Island, and Louisiana.

Phillips’ first exposure to college ministry came right after she finished her bachelor’s degree at William Carey University in Hattiesburg. She was the associate director for their BSU for a year before going to the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to get her Masters of Divinity degree. While there, she ministered to nursing and medical students.

When she graduated from seminary, Phillips moved to Providence, R.I. There, she was a North American Missions Board missionary and worked on staff at a church plant. She said she was able to make many campus relationships with students at Brown University. She recalled helping one particular student become a Christian, which was a difficult thing because of the anti-Christian nature of the school.

From there, Phillips was recommended by a mentor for a job at Louisiana State University. She served for five years at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry there. And then, in 2011, she was recommended for the associate director position at the University of Tennessee.

In 2013 Phillips got engaged. Her fiancé was working in Pennsylvania at the time, so she moved there and got a job at Penn State.

In 2014, Phillips and her husband were “sensing that God was doing something, about to move us, but we didn’t know why.” They ended up moving back to Mississippi, where Phillips applied to the BSU position at Mississippi College that had opened up right about the time they moved. She went to her first interview, and about three hours later, checked into the hospital for the birth of their son.

Phillips said the students she’s encountered at Mississippi College have been different in several ways from the ones she’s ministered to at other schools. “I’ve seen some of the strongest leaders here,” she said. Also, she’s noticed “some of the most willing servants I’ve ever seen. They understand no task is too small and somebody has to set up sound and lug water coolers and somehow that can point to the glory of God.”

Some people have said to Phillips, “You realized you’ve worked with some of the best ministries in the country.” She responds, That’s only the Lord.”

Ryan Bain brings another unique set of experiences to his new position as the Associate BSU Director. He graduated with a bachelors in Christian Studies from Mississippi College in 2014. After graduating, he interned at the Louisiana State University’s Shreveport campus BSU. He then began seminary at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, Tenn. Bain also interned at the BSU at Northwest Mississippi Community College for a semester.  After his first semester there, Bain made the move back to MC, and will continue to serve here while taking seminary classes online.

-Will Hawks, Contributing Writer

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 10 of The Mississippi Collegian