Saturday, April 1, 2023

Transfer Student Matt Eddy Brings Passion for Service to Ole Miss

By Stella Connell

School of Business Administration

Matt Eddy has had a passion for community involvement and service for as long as he can remember and brought that mentality to the University of Mississippi and the School of Business Administration. Photo by Logan Kirkland/ Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

When Matt Eddy completed his first two years of college at Coastal Alabama Community College in Bay Minette, Alabama, he already had a list of service accomplishments and honors to take with him on his journey.

Eddy was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, an organization that recognizes high achievement at the community college level, where he served as vice president of service. In this role, he organized events, such as local blood and book drives that gave back to the campus and the surrounding community. He worked with a local Marine Corps unit to organize a Toys 4 Tots program to supply toys for families in need.

By the time graduation rolled around, Eddy was named the Business Administration Student of the Year and graduated magna cum laude. He had received a full scholarship to CACC and had made his mark. But, what was next? Where would he finish?

“I selected the University of Mississippi because of the great educational opportunities and, specifically, the top-rated business school,” he said. “I also decided on Ole Miss because I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and close interactions the students had with their professors.

“Additionally, Oxford has a lot to offer – similar to my hometown of Fairhope, Alabama.”

Community involvement and service have been a passion for Eddy for as long as he can remember. He was a volunteer firefighter in high school, as well as the president of the Interact Club, the high school version of Rotary International, and served as a board member of Project Outreach, a program that worked with special-needs children.

So, it’s no surprise that the past two years have been busy for Eddy.

Eddy at his graduation from Coastal Alabama Community College in May 2019. Submitted photo.

“Since arriving at the university, I have made it my goal to become active on campus,” he said. “When I got to Ole Miss, I noticed there was not a Rotaract Club (the college version of Rotary International).”

Around this time, he met marketing professor Laurie Babin, who was also new to campus. Babin had helped establish a Rotaract Club at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, where she worked before coming to Ole Miss.

Eddy and Babin got together to re-establish a Rotaract at Ole Miss.

“We created the club and built an executive board,” he said. “In October 2019, we got approval from the Student Union as an RSO (registered student organization) and from Rotary International.

“We were just beginning to rapidly grow our club and start service projects when the pandemic hit.”

Eddy and Laurie Babin, marketing professor, look over items related to the Ole Miss Rotaract Club, which they worked to establish on campus. Photo by Logan Kirkland/ Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The group met via Zoom and YouTube to stream their monthly meetings; participated in online service projects, where they wrote letters to children in hospitals; and had a week of service where members could conduct a range of socially-distanced activities in their respective communities, such as cleaning up trash in Oxford neighborhoods and on campus, donating food to the local food pantry, and taking food to fire stations and the Mississippi State Veterans Home.

Besides his work with Rotaract, Eddy has served the university and the business school as a chief emissary officer. These students represent the school’s student body and help recruit high school and transfer students. He also has been involved with the Student Marketing Association and the Transfer Leadership Organization.

Eddy’s journey has been filled with great opportunities to meet people and to serve.

“My advice to any incoming student is to make the most of your time in college,” he said. “Go to things; get involved. College will be over before you know it.”