Coming Full Circle at Millsaps

Amber Ewing

July 10, 2024

"The students at Millsaps are truly exceptional. Their passion for learning and commitment to making a difference inspires me every day."

Andrew Marion’s connection to Millsaps began long before his college years.

His father, Andrew Marion Sr., graduated from Millsaps in 1983, and the family frequently attended events on campus.

“Millsaps always felt like a second home to me,” he recalled. “Attending events with my father and seeing the close-knit community made a lasting impression.”

The family history made Millsaps a familiar and appealing choice when Andrew began his college search. He was drawn to the school for its rigorous academic environment, welcoming faculty and staff and competitive scholarship and financial aid package.

“I knew I wanted to be challenged academically and grow outside the classroom. Millsaps offered the perfect balance,” he said.

Upon his arrival, Andrew dove into the Millsaps community and became active on campus. He participated in many academic and student organizations, including Lambda Chi Alpha, Omicron Delta Kappa and the Order of Omega. He also welcomed new families and students, working as both a student leader and student director with New Student Orientation.

Andrew pursued a Bachelor of Arts in history, graduating in 2013. His academic journey was profoundly shaped by the dedicated faculty in the history department. Professors like Dr. Robert McElvaine, Dr. Stephanie Rolph, Dr. William Storey and Dr. Amy Forbes each played a crucial role in inspiring Andrew.

“Each professor had a unique approach that deeply influenced my research and teaching philosophy,” Andrew explained. “Their enthusiasm and engagement with students created a supportive and stimulating environment.”

In addition to his on-campus activities, Andrew traveled and learned through a study abroad experience in Vietnam and Cambodia. The trip, led by Dr. McElvaine, deepened Andrew’s understanding of global history and cultural dynamics.

“Studying abroad was a transformative experience,” Andrew noted. “It opened my eyes to different cultures and histories, enriching my academic and personal growth.”

After graduation, Andrew continued his journey at Millsaps as an intern in the Office of Student Life. Working with Megan James, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students, he contributed to student orientation and fraternity and sorority life.

The Marion family in Yates Chapel at Millsaps College.

The Marion family in Yates Chapel at Millsaps College.

“Staying on at Millsaps allowed me to give back to the community that had given me so much,” he said.

Andrew then pursued a master’s degree in higher education administration at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a doctoral program in history at the University of Mississippi, which he completed in August 2023.

In the final year of his doctoral program, Andrew felt called to return to Millsaps. His wife, Kelly, expecting twins, and the opportunity to work full-time at Millsaps in the Office of Student Life came at a perfect time. He rejoined Millsaps five weeks before the birth of their twins, Paul and Martha. After a year in student life, he accepted a teaching role in the history department, allowing him to split his time between teaching and administrative work.

“Returning to Millsaps felt like coming home,” he said. “It was the perfect place to start this new chapter of our lives.”

Andrew finds immense joy in working with Millsaps students. He appreciates their thoughtfulness, dedication and empathy, and he is inspired through his interactions with them both inside and outside the classroom.

“The students at Millsaps are truly exceptional,” he shared. “Their passion for learning and commitment to making a difference inspires me every day.”

Returning to Millsaps has also allowed Andrew to collaborate with exceptional colleagues, some of whom were his mentors during his undergraduate years.

Millsaps now holds a new special, honorable place in Andrew’s heart.

Ricky James (L) stands with Andrew Marion (C) and Kelly Marion as the Marions hold their twins, Paul and Martha.

Ricky James (L) stands with Andrew Marion (C) and Kelly Marion as the Marions hold their twins, Paul and Martha.

The baptism of his twins, Paul and Martha, in the Yates Chapel was a poignant moment for him. Surrounded by close family and the Millsaps community, the ceremony was officiated by Rev. Ricky James. Several Millsaps graduates were at the baptism, including Andrew, his father, his brother Brooks and his brother’s fiancé Cherilyn Cabanero.

“Having our twins baptized at Millsaps was incredibly meaningful,” Andrew reflected. “The support and love from the Millsaps community have been invaluable as we start this new chapter as a family.”