Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

Meet UM’s Black Graduate and Professional Student Association

black_graduateStory by Tyler Carter

On Aug. 21, orientation was held for incoming graduate students. These students attended to become acclimated to the University of Mississippi and to learn about their specific degree programs’ requirements. Present at the orientation were groups such as the Graduate Student Council and the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association. BGPSA President Purvis Cornish along with the executive board were on hand to greet the new students and inform them about the goals and origin of the organization. Other members of the executive board include: Vice-President Antwain Leach, Secretary La’Shaunta’ Glover, and Treasurer Bianca Crudup.

“One of the missions of this year’s leadership is to reestablish the BGPSA as an active and productive organization and strategize ways to ensure the BGPSA’s longevity and presence on campus once the current leadership team graduates. The BGPSA was founded primarily as an organization that serves as an aid in advocating and promoting the needs, concerns, and interests of historically underrepresented graduate and professional students. More, the BGPSA was founded not only to create a space for cultural and social support, but also as an extra- departmental space that fosters academic and professional growth.”

The goals of the BGPSA this school year are to promote civic engagement, participate in service learning, improve interdepartmental and inter-organizational communication and scholarship between graduate and professional students, and begin the process of mentoring black undergraduate students and offering them assistance as they transition from the undergraduate level to graduate school or into their careers.

The BGPSA has a few events that are in the planning stages, one of which will be a forum on diversity at the university and how the BGPSA, and other graduate students of color, can assist and support the university as it pushes for a more inclusive and diverse environment. This event will probably take place sometime in October. Also, the BGPSA plans to have a tent in the Grove for homecoming and other football games, “which should be pretty exciting,” according to Cornish, since it will be their first Grove experience as an organization.

After a hiatus for four years, the BGPSA seeks to reestablish itself as a thriving organization on this campus. President Purvis Cornish and Vice-President Antwain Leach are heading the efforts to make sure this organization is around long after their tenure as graduate students expire.