January 23, 2014
Ben Parva runs 50 to 75 miles a week, serves as captain of the Millsaps cross country team and leads the track and field team as distance captain – and that’s just the start of his involvement on campus.
Parva, a junior from Kingwood, Texas, plays viola in a chamber music ensemble, serves on the Greek Conduct board and the student Conduct Board , belongs to Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and makes time to attend the Wesley Connexion’s midweek gatherings for United Methodist students.
“Ben simply puts his heart into everything he does,” said Andy Till, Millsaps College cross country coach. “He has talent, a great work ethic and he really likes to win. I believe that Ben's leadership role with team mirrors his life. He is a passionate leader and he always has time for his teammates. Ben is really making the most of his time as a student and an athlete.”
A runner since junior high, Parva considers the 5,000-meter event his favorite among the cross country and track and field events in which he competes. One of the top runners in the Southern Athletic Association, Parva placed 14th in the 2013 SAA Cross Country Championships in Rome, Ga., earning SAA Honorable Mention.
“I selected Millsaps because not only is it a fantastic institution, but also because I realized that I wasn't ready to stop competing after high school,” Parva said. “Coach Till and Millsaps gave me the opportunity to continue pursuing my athletic passions and feeding my desire for competition.”
A classics major, Parva plans to attend medical school to become a cardio-thoracic surgeon or orthopedic surgeon. With everything on his plate, Parva takes it in stride.
“Through my commitment to the team and performing my best, I have learned to manage everything in which I am involved,” he said. “I prioritize my time to get my work done, and I understand when not to take on an activity so that I do not overextend myself.”
Coming from a large city that is a suburb of Houston, Parva enjoys the intimate setting of Millsaps and the relationships he’s been able to foster. “It’s so conducive to building community and family relationships. Being from a big city like Houston, it's nice to come here and experience a city where people are so interconnected,” he said. “This size advantage transfers and manifests itself on campus as well. I absolutely love the people I've met and have been truly blessed by the relationships I've been able to form with fellow students – both in and outside my major – faculty and staff, and people in the Jackson community.”