From Law to Politics, Millsaps Builds a Strong Foundation

September 14, 2023

"Over the course of the past 10 years, Millsaps College has seen a rapid growth in students pursuing degrees in government and politics and using their skills to begin careers in a broad range of pursuits ranging from law school to political campaigns. With the addition of the new Pathways program and a specific path […]"

Over the course of the past 10 years, Millsaps College has seen a rapid growth in students pursuing degrees in government and politics and using their skills to begin careers in a broad range of pursuits ranging from law school to political campaigns. With the addition of the new Pathways program and a specific path in law, politics, and social leadership, the college anticipates even more growth in this important area. From a sitting governor to federal judges to campaign interns, there are plenty of examples for students who choose this path to look for inspiration and connection.

This fall, two Millsaps graduates are vying for the top position in their state. Hunter Lundy ’76 is running as an independent candidate for governor of Louisiana. After his graduation from Millsaps, where he played football, Lundy earned his law degree and returned to Louisiana and established himself as one of the top trial lawyers in the country. Lundy is one of 16 candidates in the gubernatorial race, which will have its primary on October 14, 2023. If a candidate in that primary receives more than 50 percent of the vote, they are named the winner of the election; otherwise, the top two vote recipients will proceed to a general election on November 18.

“Attending Millsaps to pursue a degree required the ability to write efficiently, think creatively and retain what I had learned,” Lundy recalls. “I also learned, by being part of a football team with one of the winningest records in Millsaps history, the value of teamwork, leadership and consensus-building. Millsaps prepared me to be the most effective governor in Louisiana’s history.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves ’96 is running for a second term this fall. Reeves won the Republican primary with 74 percent of the vote and will face Democratic challenger Brandon Presley in the general election on November 7. Reeves earned his degree in economics and worked in the private sector before being elected as state treasurer in 2003. He served two terms as treasurer and two terms as lieutenant governor before being elected the 65th governor of the state in 2019.

“My time at Millsaps helped shape my personal growth and my professional future,” said Reeves. “I majored in economics, and further developed my interest in the financial industry. There are top-notch teachers at Millsaps and, regardless of your major, the faculty and staff there do an outstanding job at preparing students to take on a multitude of good careers after college.

“And, of course, it was at Millsaps that I met my wife and Mississippi’s First Lady, Elee. The bottom line is that I loved my time at Millsaps and am thankful for the positive impact it has had on my life.”

There are plenty of other Millsaps graduates who are currently active in the legal and political world. Some are holding elected office, and others are making an impact in other ways through policy and advocacy. A sampling of graduates and their work would include:

  • Fletcher Freeman ’21 has built on his undergraduate experience as the Mississippi chair of College Republicans and as a volunteer on numerous campaigns. Freeman now works as communications director in the office of State Auditor Shad White.
  • Jimmy Fondren ’19 completed law school in 2022 and is the current Republican candidate for Mississippi House District 111. He will be on the ballot in the general election on November 7, 2023.
  • Earvin Miers, ’19, completed internships as an undergraduate with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the office of U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. Since graduating, Miers has returned to Capitol Hill, where he now works as director of operations and scheduling for Rep. Thompson.
  • Bubba White ’18 worked on a congressional campaign in North Carolina and completed an internship with the Mississippi Development Authority. Today, he works as a legislative director in the office of U.S. Rep. David Rouzer of North Carolina.
  • Ken Newburger ’16 followed a path from Millsaps that took him to the Mississippi state legislature, where he served as chief of staff for Rep. Joel Bomgar and then to his current position as executive director of the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association.
  • Jessica Knight Henry ’04 is the deputy executive director and chief diversity and inclusion officer with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a role she took on after gaining experience in other positions with the Democratic National Committee, the League of Conservation Voters and the Congressional Black Caucus PAC.
  • LaKeysha Greer Isaac ’97 is a magistrate judge for the United States District Court, Southern District of Mississippi.
  • Michelle Easterling ’95 is a circuit judge in the 16th Circuit District in Mississippi.
  • Trey Ourso ’92 is a senior political strategist and partner at Ourso Beychok, a Louisiana-based political consulting and direct mail firm.
  • Hank Zuber ’89 has served in the Mississippi House of Representatives since 2000.
  • Brad Chism ’82 was the fifth Millsaps graduate to earn a Rhodes Scholarship. Today, Chism runs Chism Strategies, providing campaign surveys, marketing, phone banks, direct mail and digital services for candidates across the southeast United States.
  • John Jameson ’79 is president and founder of Winning Connections, a Washington, D.C.-based grassroots advocacy and voter contact firm.
  • James Graves ’75 is a federal judge on the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Hal Malchow ’73, a pioneer in the field of voter “microtargeting” who worked on multiple presidential campaigns, is a member of the Hall of Fame of the American Association of Political Consultants.

The names presented here are just a sampling of Millsaps alumni involved in the world of law, government and politics, and do not represent the full scope of accomplishments of Millsaps graduates in these fields. As the Pathways program takes root and students consider one of the six paths available, the college will continue to guide and support the next generation of leaders for the state and nation.