College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Eleven Outstanding Freshmen Named 2010-11 Croft Scholars

Eight students from Mississippi, two from Tennessee and one from Louisiana have entered the University of Mississippi this fall on prestigious scholarships as members of the Croft Institute for International Studies.

The 2010-11 Croft Scholars each receive $8,000 per year for four years of undergraduate study. The Croft Institute, created in 1997 through a $60 million gift by the Joseph E. Bancroft Charitable and Educational Fund, ensures that students are prepared for leadership in business, public service, education and other fields with a deeper knowledge of an increasingly interdependent world.

Attesting to their abilities, the new Croft Scholars have ACT scores ranging from 28 to 34. They include a National Merit Finalist and three National Merit Commended Scholars.

“These are among the most promising and competitive students in the nation,” said Kees Gispen, executive director of the Croft Institute. “They could have gone to pretty much any college or university in the United States, and we are fortunate to have them in our Croft program.

“These talented young men and women play a crucial role in sustaining the close-knit and challenging learning environment that is our hallmark. From those who have gone before them, we know that the Croft scholars will not disappoint our high expectations. This is a unique opportunity for them, too.”

They are Grace Anne Boyd of Cordova, Tenn., Evangelical Christian School; William Bumpas of Dyersburg, Tenn., Dyersburg High School; Patrick Fields of Byram, Terry High School; Brad Gordon of Pascagoula, Pascagoula High School; Alexandra Jones of Madison, Ridgeland High School; Sampada Kapoor of Ridgeland, Ridgeland High School; Jacob McGee of Lake, East Rankin Academy; Walker Messer of Lucedale, East Central High School; George Rochelle of Norco, La., Destrehan High School; Susanna Rychlak of Oxford, Oxford High School; and Colby Woods of Byhalia, Center Hill High School.

As members of the Croft Institute, all the scholars have declared a major in international studies. They all are also members of the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, which provides students from all disciplines with a vibrant center of academic excellence to help them become outstanding in their fields and engaged citizens of their communities.

Boyd graduated from ECS with a 4.0 grade-point average, ranking No. 2 in her class of 123 students. A National Merit Commended Scholar and a National Spanish Exam Top Finalist, she scored 33 on the ACT. In high school, she served as vice president of the National Honor Society and president of the Beta Club. A member of the Servant Leadership Institute, she was a community service volunteer including work with Target House, Su Casa Ministries and Streets Ministries. Her parents are David and Catherine Boyd.

Bumpas finished among the salutatorian students in his class of 229 at DHS. A National Merit Commended Scholar, he posted a 4.0 GPA and 33 ACT. He founded a China Club at his school and served as editor-in-chief of the newspaper, The Trojan Torch. A member of the National Honor Society, he attended the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Humanities. His community service included work with Life Choices and the Dyersburg Union Mission. At Ole Miss, he is a member of the Chinese Flagship Language Program, which is one of four partnering programs in the U.S. that share two Chinese Flagship Centers in China. He also participates in the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. His parents are Wally and Reni Bumpas.

Fields ranked No. 1 in his class of 284 at THS, posting a 4.19 GPA and 34 ACT. Recipient of U.S. Congressional Medals in bronze and silver, he was THS’s Star Student. He was named his school’s Academic Football Player of the Year two consecutive years and male winner of the 2009 Wendy’s Heisman. A member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Club, he served as vice president of the Beta Club. Involved in many community service activities, he was Youth Volunteer of the Year at Willow Creek Nursing Home and worked with the Salvation Army and Katrina Relief. His parents are Wayne Fields and Angela Fields.

Gordon finished No. 1 in his class of 231 at PHS, with a 3.92 GPA and 31 ACT. A member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club, he served as co-captain of the Quiz Bowl Team. He participated in the Gulf Coast Youth Leadership Program, won second place at State History Day Competition and was named Rotary Club Student of the Month. His community service included work at the Pascagoula River Audubon Society. At Ole Miss, he is a scholar in the Russian Language Initiative, which helps students build a fluency in Russian so that they can communicate with native speakers and in a native-Russian environment. His parents are Rodney and Lisa Gordon.

Jones ranked No. 1 in her class of 187 at RHS with a 4.0 GPA. She posted a 31 on the ACT. She attended the Mississippi Governor’s School, was named by Portico as one of “25 Students Who will Change the World” and placed first and second in the statewide National French Exam. She served as editor of the school newspaper, head of the Debate Team, co-president of the French Club and president of the Beta Club. She lettered in softball, and her community service included work with Big Brother/Big Sister and Invisible Children. At Ole Miss, she is a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. Her parents are Charles and Angela Jones.

Kapoor graduated sixth in her class of 187 at RHS with a 3.92 GPA. She scored 31 on the ACT. She served as the RHS Ambassador, assistant editor of the school newspaper and co-captain of the Academic Team. Winner of the Excellence in Academic Competition Award, she belonged to the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. Her community service included work with the Good Samaritan Center, Relay for Life, Mississippi Natural Science Museum and TOP Soccer. At Ole Miss, she is a scholar in the Japanese Language Initiative, which helps students build a fluency in Japanese so that they can communicate with native speakers and in a native-Japanese environment. Kapoor’s parents are Parveen and Seema Kapoor.

McGee graduated No. 1 in his class of 38 at ERA. He posted a 4.0 GPA and 31 ACT score. A participant in Mississippi Governor’s School and Mississippi Boys’ State, he won first place in the state in Latin I Academic Betterment Competition and was a member of his school’s Academic Quiz Bowl Team. His community service included work with Katrina Relief Worker, in nursing homes and through Salem Baptist Church. His parents are Joe and Lynn McGee.

Messer graduated second in his class of 169 at ECHS with a 4.0 GPA. He scored 28 on the ACT.

He was recognized by the Young Lawyer’s Association for his “Speak Out on the Coast Speech,” and he attended the People to People Leadership Summit. He was chosen the Mississippi High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete. A member of the ECHS Band and Spanish Club, he served as president of the Spanish Honor Society and as publicity chair of the Beta Club. In community service, his work included volunteering for Coastal Cleanup and Relay for Life and doing yard work for the elderly. He is the son of Stephen and Carol Messer.

Rochelle ranked No. 3 in a class of 307 at DHS with a 4.0 GPA. He posted a 32 ACT.

He attended Louisiana Boys State and won second place in Descartes competition at the Mu Alpha Theta State Convention. He served as captain of the DHS swim team and won a Wendy’s Heisman. He was a People to People Student Ambassador. His community service activities included work with the Sacred Heart School Fall Festival and Kick-Off Mentor Program. At Ole Miss, he is a scholar in the German Language Initiative, which helps students build a fluency in German so that they can communicate with native speakers and in a native-German environment. His parents are George and Carey Rochelle.

Rychlak, a National Merit Finalist, graduated from OHS with a 3.81 GPA, ranking 8th in a class of 195. She scored 31 on the ACT. She belonged to Delta Epsilon Phi (German Honor Society), National Society of High School Scholars and National Honor Society. President of the OHS Student Body, she participated in OHS Theater and was a cabinet member of Mu Alpha Theta. Captain of her school’s cross country team, she was named an All-State Cross Country Runner and winner of a Tri-Athlete Award. She served as secretary of the Oxford Mayor’s Youth Council and participated in the Oxford/Lafayette Jr. Leadership Program. Her community service included work with the Humane Society, Food Pantry and Angel Ranch. At Ole Miss, she is a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class. Her parents are Ronald and Claire Rychlak.

Woods graduated No. 1 in his class of 150 at CHHS, posting a 4.0 GPA. He scored 31 on the ACT. A member of the Superintendent Youth Leadership Council, Spanish Club and Beta Club, he served as president of his class and the Science Club. He attended Mississippi Governor’s School, and during his junior year, he participated in UM’s Lott Leadership Institute for High School Students. His involvement in community service included work with Pennies for Patients, Relay for Life, Goodwill, Soup Kitchen and Palmer Home orphanage. At Ole Miss, he is a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class and a scholar in the German Language Initiative, which helps students build a fluency in German so that they can communicate with native speakers and in a native-German environment. His parents are Stephen and Ronna Woods.

For more information about the Croft Institute for International Studies, visit http://www.croft.olemiss.edu/home/.