Ten University of Mississippi seniors have been inducted into the university’s 2020-21 Hall of Fame, one of the highest honors afforded to students at UM.
The inductees were selected by a committee in accordance with policy developed by the Associated Student Body. Selections are based on outstanding contributions in all aspects of campus life.
This year’s Hall of Fame members are Shelby D’Amico, Harrison McKinnis and Robert Wasson, all of Madison; Victoria Green, of Canton; Asia Harden, of Greenville; Swetha Manivannan, of Collierville, Tennessee; Joshua Mannery, of Jackson; Gianna Schuetz, of Huntsville, Alabama; and Robert “Cade” Slaughter and Madison Thornton, both of Hattiesburg. All are members of the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.
“The 2021 Hall of Fame class will hold the distinction of completing 25% of their junior years and 100% of their senior years in the midst of a global pandemic that forced the university to change virtually every aspect of our operations, including academic, leadership and service opportunities in which each of these students have excelled,” said Brent Marsh, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students.
“Undeterred by COVID-19’s challenges, these students continued to lead and serve the university community with grace, skill and tenacity. These inductees continue the legacy of Hall of Fame members who left indelible marks at this institution.”
An in-person ceremony was held Friday (April 9) at The Pavilion at Ole Miss in accordance with university COVID-19 protocols.
A public policy leadership major, D’Amico invested heavily in RebelTHON and the College Panhellenic Council, an organization she served as president, helping guide Panhellenic recruitment through a fully virtual format because of the pandemic. In this role, she also established the Potential New Member Core Values Scholarship, providing four women financial support to join the Panhellenic community. D’Amico’s investment in the new student experience continued through her service as an orientation leader and orientation coordinator, where she made it a goal to not only learn students’ names, but also their stories.
Green, a pharmaceutical sciences major, hopes her journey at UM will inspire future generations of African American, low-income and first-generation college students to step outside their comfort zones and pursue leadership and academic excellence at the university. She has served as a mentor in several programs, including Mississippi Outreach to Scholastic Talent, UM Connect, Biology Bootcamp and Bridge S.T.E.M. Green also held leadership roles in the university’s NAACP chapter and has served the local community through several programs. She is the recipient of numerous scholarships and served in 2020 as a Mississippi State Board of Pharmacy intern.
An integrated marketing communications major, Harden has served as an orientation coordinator, vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and member of the Columns Society. She also has been involved with RebelTHON, the Big Event and several civic organizations. Her most memorable experience was a semester abroad in Granada, Spain. Harden has worked with The Ole Miss yearbook for four years and serves as only the second African American editor-in-chief of the publication.
An international studies and Spanish double major, Manivannan has been named as a Croft Scholar and selected for Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She has been actively involved in the Associated Student Body; the UM Indian Student Association, as president; and Model UN, as a Global Ambassador, and as a leadership and engagement ambassador with the Ole Miss Student Union. Manivannan’s service as the Honors College Minority Engagement Council’s first president empowered minority student involvement, fostering “the growth of a community that uplifts one another and engages with overarching communities in meaningful ways, carrying the traditions of being citizen scholars.”
Culminating his leadership and involvement experience as the 2020-21 Associated Student Body president, Mannery, a political science major, leaves a strong legacy of service and dedication. Besides his service in ASB, Mannery invested in Men of Excellence, Active Minds, the campus NAACP chapter, the Big Event, MPower, Black Student Union, Orientation, the College of Liberal Arts Leadership Council and more. Under his leadership, significant programs were launched, including “Open Doors” and “Stronger Together,” initiatives intended to connect students and administration through open dialogue.
McKinnis is a chemical engineering major. Through his academic pursuits in the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, he became familiar with kaizen, a Japanese term that evokes “continuous improvement,” and he has worked to apply that philosophy in all aspects of college life. McKinnis held leadership roles with RebelTHON, the Interfraternity Council and the Columns Society while also serving as an orientation leader and Ole Miss Ambassador. Capitalizing on the rich array of opportunities UM offers, he sought to diversify his experiences to graduate as a well-rounded individual.
Schuetz is a dual degree student in managerial finance and theatre arts. Her collegiate experience has been defined by service in many areas of campus, mainly in financial leadership positions, with the Associated Student Body, Ghostlight Repertory Theatre, Department of Theatre and Film, Grove Grocery: The UM Food Pantry, Pi Beta Phi sorority, Ole Miss Ambassadors, RebelTHON, the Office of Community Engagement and more. Having served as ASB treasurer since her sophomore year, Schuetz helped overhaul the student activity fee, an update that provides funding to student organizations to support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and aids collaboration on large-scale programming.
Slaughter is a dual public policy leadership and integrated marketing communications major. His leadership at Ole Miss has included Columns Society president, Associated Student Body co-principal of First Year Experience and Student Activities Association co-director of pageants. Slaughter also welcomed potential and incoming students through his roles as an Ole Miss Ambassador, orientation leader and orientation coordinator. Serving as co-director for the Big Event was one of many ways he focused on serving the community. Slaughter was also voted Mr. Ole Miss.
A dual public policy leadership and biological sciences major, Thornton has held significant leadership roles as the Alpha Omicron Pi vice president of education, Associated Student Body chief of staff, Honors College Ambassadors executive board member and the Pre-Med Peer Mentoring Organization secretary. Her additional involvement has included the Columns Society, RebelTHON, Big Event, Ole Miss Women’s Council and the American Medical Student Association.
A Stamps Scholar, Wasson is a chemical engineering major. He served his peers through the Associated Student Body and Honors College Senate, and by founding the Oakes Society Quizbowl Team. Wasson also served for two years as managing editor for the University of Mississippi Undergraduate Research Journal. As president of the Engineering Student Body Leadership Council, he represented students in the School of Engineering.
By Edwin B. Smith