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The Baptist Student Union at Mississippi College has come a long way since it inhabited a modest suite in the basement of the B.C. Rogers Student Center in early 2020.

The student organization relocated to a more spacious, albeit unfinished, building tucked between Global Education and Cups on Monroe Street in Clinton. This summer, extensive renovations will complete the two-story structure, which will help equip MC students to share Christ’s life-changing message for generations to come.

Shepherding the successful fundraising campaigns that supported this building project was Mandy Phillips, BSU director. Her transformational efforts have earned her Dr. Blake Thompson’s Most Valuable Person Award for June.

The MC president surprised Phillips by visiting her office May 20. Thompson and Nathan Jarnigan, the DBT’s MVP for April, presented her with the honorary bobblehead, passed from one award recipient to the next each month, a T-shirt, a $50 gift card, and a special parking place for the month.

With the renovations to the BSU building scheduled to commence in early June, Phillips said the parking spot will come in handy while she continues serving students on the Clinton campus.

“Working with students is absolutely my favorite part of this ministry and why I got into it in the first place,” Phillips said. “Our students have helped plan a lot of this ministry. They’ve wanted to be as active as possible, and it’s been encouraging to watch them impact more people and serve the campus, the community, and beyond.

“It’s been exciting to watch as they continue our vision of making disciples who make disciples. I love spending time with them and have done my best not to release the gas at all on ministry, just because we’re going through renovations.

“We haven’t slowed down. It’s been a time of transition, one that we’re thankful for, because we know the ways we can serve the campus will be more versatile when we have a bigger facility that’s filled with students.”

Thompson commended Phillips for helping make a difference in the lives of BSU students at MC.

“We want you to know how much we appreciate everything you do,” Thompson told her. “You have turned this building into a home for our BSU students, and we’re incredibly grateful for that.”

Since becoming BSU director in 2016, Phillips has earned the admiration of everyone at MC, including faculty, students, alumni – and especially, her peers.

“Mandy loves the Lord above all else,” said Rebecca Benson, assistant dean of Christian leadership at MC. “This is evidenced daily in her obedience to follow Christ and make Him known among college students. She loves sacrificially and empowers students to walk in faithfulness to the call of Christ. She equips our students to not only make much of the Lord in their daily lives, but also to pray towards and carry the hope of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

“She is a shining light of encouragement to all who know her and our MC family is blessed to call her one of ours.”

A Clinton resident, Phillips earned her bachelor’s degree at William Carey University in 2000 and served as the school’s associate BSU director for one year. She obtained her Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003, while overseeing Baptist campus ministry for the medical and nursing schools in the New Orleans area.

As a USC-2 missionary with the North American Mission Board, she coordinated church ministry with Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Phillips also served as associate director for Baptist Collegiate Ministries at Louisiana State University, the University of Tennessee, and Pennsylvania State University, before coming to MC as associate BSU director in 2014.

What has delighted her the most about the BSU renovation project has been its support from those for whom it will serve most.

“It was encouraging that our first direct donors to the building fund were our very own students,” Phillips said. “It was cool to watch them sacrifice, doing summer jobs and different things to raise money, because they believe that much in this ministry and what it has done at MC. That’s something we didn’t expect, but we have been blessed by.

“Within the span of a student’s undergraduate career at MC, we have been able to move into this building and will see the renovations completed. Many of the students didn’t know whether it would happen during their time here – they were doing this for the college students to come. The Lord has provided for us to have this building and has met our needs, and we’re very pleased that we’re here.”

Phillips said the college years provide a critical time for spiritual growth, and she relishes the opportunity to help students cultivate their faith.

“This is the time when students are hunkering down on what their values are and what they believe, owning their beliefs and figuring out how they will play out for their lifetimes,” she said. “So many key decisions are made during this time, and the world is ever-changing; there’s an urgency to the Gospel.

“There’s a million different ways people can express their love for the Lord in their different callings. He has changed my life, and I want to see that happen in others. That drives me more than anything. The building is a blessing, and it’s going to give us more creative ways to engage students all across the board.”

While she is happy to receive the acknowledgment, Phillips credits the Almighty for helping the BSU overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges to secure funding for the building renovations.

“I think a lot of Dr. Thompson and how he’s leading MC forward. Many good things are happening at our school,” Phillips said. “It means a lot to be recognized among a community of incredible faculty and staff. We’re at a place where everybody loves the school, and lots of people are working hard, so this means a lot to be recognized among that group.

“There have been a few ups and downs since we moved into this building, but God has provided what we need to move forward with redoing the bottom floor and finishing the top floor. We are filled with gratitude and anticipation, looking forward to stewarding this gift well and seeing more of what God is going to do through our ministry.” is an online news source serving Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.


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