Profile: Cedric Gathings
Cedric Gathings knows the importance of having a mentor, and he's built a career on putting his efforts where his beliefs are.
A strong advocate for helping others, he came from a working-class background. His dad spent long hours at a furniture factory, and Cedric and his seven brothers learned the value of roll-up-your-sleeves hard work in every endeavor.
He took those values with him as he continued his education, earning both a bachelor's and master's degree. And he carried them into his first job, teaching special education in the Mississippi Delta and finding other ways to make a difference in people's lives.
"Somebody cared for me," he says of his desire to serve. "Someone mentored me, advised me, and helped me get where I am today." Now, he's paying that forward at Mississippi State, where he makes a difference in students' lives daily, advising more than 20 fraternities and sororities, among other duties of his position.
The assistant director for the Colvard Student Union counsels students on challenging situations they face and serves as a mentor to many students struggling to make the best decisions, many living independently for the first time.
Looking out of his office window in the Union, Gathings can visualize himself and his seven brothers when he sees students walking across campus. He knows first-hand the importance of having someone to turn to for encouragement and for guidance when tough decisions need to be made.
In addition to serving on a number of committees and participating in a number of organizations, Gathings will often open his home so that students can share holidays or other special times with his family. It's part of being accessible to those who depend on him.
Whether it's through his professional role or his personal availability, he helps students realize that their MSU years are some of the most important moments in their lives.
"I constantly remind them that Mississippi State is a dressing room for their future," he said.
Spoken like a true mentor.
Next week … Jonelle Husain !