“Millsaps is about the connections we make in life,” said Megan James, “in stories, in art and allowing those connections to help us see the world in revealing ways.”
For James, those connections have helped weave together her career and the work she has done since earning her psychology degree at Millsaps College in 2004. The first connection came from her guidance counselor in Birmingham, AL.
“My high school college counselor, Karin Bell, was an alumna of Millsaps College,” recalled James. “She was the first person to raise my interest in touring campus. From the moment I first visited, it was clear Millsaps was a special place that would foster lasting friendships, authentic community and a desire to better oneself and the world.”
Another key connection for James came during a study abroad trip after her sophomore year. Living with a Costa Rican family as part of an immersive study program, James made connections that went beyond the challenges of language and location. Shared photos, meals and laughter revealed more commonalities than differences.
“Millsaps prepared me to take that risk and find the reward, that the world is so much smaller and beautiful than I ever knew,” James said. “But what also makes the Millsaps experience so special is the interaction we have across disciplines. Beyond psychology, I think often of classes with Amy Forbes teaching how to interpret current events in the light of greater historical trends, with Bob McElvaine helping to elucidate the often unheralded role of women in the major events of American history, or stepping into a church in Rome to discover a statue I first encountered in Kristen Golden Brown’s ‘Art in the Italian Renaissance’ (an art history course taught by a philosopher).”
James’ connection to Millsaps remained strong after graduation and after earning her master’s degree in higher education administration at North Carolina State. “I entered college intending to be pre-law, but left committed to the transforming work of higher education,” she said.
After a stint in student affairs at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, James returned to Millsaps where she worked in student life from 2007-2015 and ultimately served as assistant dean of students for campus life. She now works as an alumni engagement associate at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), located across from the Millsaps campus.
As a student, James was a member of Tri Delta fraternity and her ties to the organization have remained strong over the years, leading to her election as president of the Tri Delta Executive Board in the summer of 2020. Chosen by the more than 240,000 members of the organization, James will help lead the strategic oversight, operations and financial management of more than $450 million in assets.
The Millsaps thread also runs strong through James’s family. Her husband, The Rev. Ricky James, is a 2004 Millsaps graduate and a current trustee of the college.
From a Birmingham high school to the highest leadership position in a premier national organization, James still points to the importance of the connections found through Millsaps.
“Millsaps prepared me to understand the value of pursuing excellence, but always in service to others.”