Ethel Young-Minor, associate professor of English and African-American studies, has been named senior fellow for the second residential college at the University of Mississippi.
As senior fellow of the Luckyday Residential College, Young-Minor is responsible for providing leadership for students, organizing the faculty fellows and scheduling activities.
Young-Minor has set high goals for the college to ensure that students living there enjoy some unique experiences. Providing an environment that promotes scholarship, service, diversity and inclusion is her main priority.
“I’m working to have faculty members meet with students at least one night per week and for lunch two days per week,” Young-Minor said. “I also am planning a Saturday brunch series where different alumni will return to campus to share their success stories with the students. So far, the regional manager of an international business, a bank president and a former pro athlete have unofficially agreed to participate.”
She said she also hopes to partner with community organizations to provide servant-leadership.
Leading up to the opening of the college, Young-Minor is busy preparing and making plans.
“I’ve been learning a lot these last few months about what it takes to create a quality learning environment,” she said. “I’m continually meeting with construction workers, architects and the housing community to make important decisions about things I didn’t know were so important in attaining that goal.”
When the college opens in August, Young-Minor plans to move into the three-bedroom senior fellow lodge with her husband, Julius, an admissions specialist, and their daughters, Jasmine and Janelle. The whole family is eagerly looking forward to the move, she said.
Administrators and former students of Young-Minor voiced their support for her leadership, teaching and mentorship.
“I am confident that Dr. Young-Minor’s leadership and experience with students will contribute to the development of this system at our university,” said Morris Stocks, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “The residents will benefit from her creativity, enthusiasm and intellect.”
Carl Hill III, a former Luckyday Scholar who took classes under Young-Minor, praised her teaching abilities and dedication to students.
“Dr. Young-Minor is an amazing mentor and educator who will bring a lot to the Luckyday Residential College program,” said Hill, a UM admissions specialist. “She truly embodies the ideals that led Mr. Frank Day to create the Luckyday Foundation, and I believe she will work tirelessly to help future recipients of the scholarship receive all that they can possibly achieve.”
Hill said he came from a family of modest means and never would have been able to pursue higher education without the Luckyday scholarship he received. “Unfortunately, the residential college was not an option for me as an undergrad,” he said. “I wish it had been, because I think it is such a wonderful concept.”
Jarijion Minnett, a junior education major from Meridian, said after hearing Young-Minor speak at a MOST Conference, she was determined to take a class under her. “When I finally did take one of her classes, I was so blown away,” Minnett said. “She genuinely cares about her students’ opinions.”
Although two-thirds of the 331 beds are reserved for Luckyday Scholars, Young-Minor said she hopes every student will think about how this learning opportunity could enhance his or her educational experience and that diverse students will apply for membership in the residential college.
“Members of the college who are not Luckyday Scholars will be identified as Luckyday Associates and have access to dynamic, faculty-driven programming,” she said.
Young-Minor joined the UM faculty in 1996. Though she plans to continue teaching, she will be released from one course per semester because of her administrative duties as senior fellow.
“I am really excited about this incredible partnership between the Luckyday Foundation and the university,” Young-Minor said. “Together, I know we will continue to create the best possible educational experience for deserving students from our state.”
Established by late UM alumnus Frank Rogers Day to ensure educational opportunities for Mississippians, the Luckyday Foundation made a $4 million gift for UM’s second residential college last year. To honor the foundation’s commitment, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning approved the name “Luckyday Residential College” for the new building. Construction began last year and is scheduled to be completed by August.
The university opened its first residential college – the state’s first – last August. The goal is to create a living environment that nurtures and broadens the scope of learning. A faculty fellow will live in and lead each college, and other UM faculty members will be involved with students on an informal basis. Each residence will feature its own library, dining hall, computer center and fitness center.
The Luckyday Foundation began providing annual Luckyday Scholarships in 2001. Since then, Luckyday has awarded more than $22 million to more than 1,900 students. Luckyday Scholars may be awarded up to $28,000 for four years of undergraduate study to bridge the gap between individual student needs and assistance from other scholarships and grants.
Support from Luckyday complements other opportunities provided by Frank Day, who was chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Trustmark National Bank for many years before he died in 1999. Among his many gifts to UM, Day honored his parents by creating the Christine and Clarence Day Scholarship, the largest undergraduate business scholarship in the state.
For more information about the residential college, go to https://www.olemiss.edu/rcollege/.