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Recent College of Business alumnus gives back

September 03, 2009, Adam Casper

A Southern Illinois University College of Business alumnus recently made his feelings very clear toward his alma mater. Xavier Mims, a 2008 management graduate from Chicago, Illinois, decided as soon as he graduated that he wanted to begin giving back to the place that gave him so much. He knew from his own experiences that many students do all they can just to pay tuition and fees, and have trouble affording the necessities of being a college student. In fact, the decision was easy for Mims, who commented, “It is easy to notice that there are only so many scholarships to give, while tons of great students that truly deserve help, cannot get it.”

This is why, during his first trip back to campus, Mims approached Michael Haywood, director of minority programs; Tammy Cavarretta, College of Business development officer; and Dean Dennis Cradit about his idea to create a scholarship for new students. They all agreed that this was indeed something that could have an impact for new students, who may or may not have claimed eligibility for certain scholarships yet. In other words, Mims said, “Some freshmen work just as hard as seniors to accomplish great GPA’s, being leaders, volunteering, and I just wanted to create something that acknowledges them for their hard work.”

After the creation of Mims’ scholarship, he began a search process with Haywood to find the top two applicants. When the search was over, Mims and Haywood decided on two students who would receive brand new laptops to help enhance their academic capabilities. The recipients were Reesha Robinson of Sparta, Illinois, and Danta Shelton of Bloomington, Illinois.

The students were awarded at the 2009 College of Business Honor’s Day ceremony on April 5, and got to meet Mims for the very first time. The whole process was a special one because not only did two students who needed assistance get their help, but a recent College of Business graduate was the source of generosity, from one Saluki to another.

At the time, Mims was new to the “working world,” recently having been hired as an Executive District Manager for Aldi, Inc. However, that didn’t stop him from wanting to give back to the College of Business right away. Through endless resume revisions and mock interviews in the College of Business Placement Center, Mims was able to land a great starting position. This brings us to the message Mims wants to send out to other alumni thinking about giving back soon after graduation, “All alumni, even recent grads like me, can donate just a little to motivate, encourage, assist and acknowledge the next generation. I have student loans, credit card debt, and bills like everyone else after college, but a little help can truly go a long way!”

College of Business Dean, J. Dennis Cradit agrees, “Xavier Mims is an inspiring story of a student who benefitted from the generosity of others, and returned so soon to help other students in need. He sets a wonderful example of giving back, thereby completing the circle.”

The message is clear. No matter how long you’ve been away from the College of Business, it’s never too soon, or too late, to give back to students who may very well need help on their journey. A little help goes a long way, just ask Xavier Mims.