Diversity and Community Engagement

The University of Mississippi

Community Chats with Patrick Perry and Senora Logan

“You can lead from any place.” -Dr. Patrick Perry

In this episode of Community Chats, Dr. Anthony Siracusa and guest host Will Corley sit down with the directors of the Luckyday Scholars Program, Dr. Patrick Perry and Mrs. Senora Miller Logan to discuss the central tenants of the program and the community they build within their cohorts and throughout the LOU community.

Dr. Perry, director of Luckyday, began his path in higher education working with financial aid and other administrative roles. One of the things he found a “delight” when he came to the University of Mississippi 13 years ago was that he was now able to work with students individually and witness the transformation they experience when they come to college. His positions in the past kept him from working closely with students, but with Luckyday, he could experience first-hand how students’ experiences in college truly transform their outlook on community and themselves.

When Logan started at the University of Mississippi in 2001, she was working in the Office of Admissions in the operations department where she was soon promoted to coordinator of undergraduate admissions. At the time, the Luckyday Scholars Program was in its infancy, and in 2005, Logan was welcomed to the team. Here she was able to work hands-on with students beyond their admission. “It was a dream come true for me,” Logan said, “It’s been a great opportunity to get the answers to the questions I asked in the admissions office.” She was able to answer questions like “What do the students do next?” and “What challenges do they meet?” Through her position, Logan is able to address these challenges and be present for the students as they face them.

The mission of the Luckyday Scholars Program rests on four central values: scholarship, service, community and leadership. Each year, they welcome a cohort of freshman scholars that engaged not only with each other, building a community of service learning and leadership, but also with the broader LOU community through required service hours. Programs like their Peer Leadership Program and Student Advisory Council help strengthen this sense of community across the different classes of cohorts. Logan said the student leaders at Luckyday have natural leadership potential and are essential in building out these community and programs that define what it means to be a servant leader.

As the COVID-19 pandemic shifted plans across organizations, the Luckyday team were faced with the challenge of being able to establish that same community with incoming freshman while keeping everyone safe. Fun events like Zoom karaoke and socially distanced pumpkin painting contests allowed them to safely navigate these challenges, and emphasizing small group interaction with student peer mentors kept that connection and community that is so vital to their success.

Despite these challenges, both Perry and Logan feel a sense of pride from seeing the progress students have from their freshman year as a new scholar to graduation and beyond. Logan recalls a reluctant freshman feeling like Luckyday was not the place for her, but with encouragement and the sense of belonging that is emphasized through their community, this student was able to be successful throughout all four years of the program and even came back to talk to new students on their alumni panel. These kind of full-circle stories are what makes it all worth it for the Luckyday directors. “Even through the challneges, you get these moments that make the challenges seem smaller,” said Logan. “It’s always important to keep stepping.”

If you want to learn more about the Luckyday Scholars Program, visit their website at luckyday.olemiss.edu. You can also watch this interview and more on our Facebook page (@UMengaged), YouTube channel (Engaged UM) or listen to the Community Chats podcast on Spotify and iTunes. Make sure to like, comment, and share this series as we continue to highlight community leaders across the LOU area.

 


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