MSU’s Tyler Packer receives national John Lewis Youth Leadership Award

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Studio portrait of Tyler Packer
Tyler Packer (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State alumnus Tyler I. Packer of State Line is being recognized with the National Association of Secretaries of State’s John Lewis Youth Leadership Award.

Packer, the third African American student to serve as MSU’s student body president, will be honored in Jackson Wednesday [Jan. 19] at 9:30 a.m. at the Secretary of State Michael Watson’s Capitol Office and at 10 a.m. in the State Senate. Anyone from MSU is welcome to attend.

Packer completed his term as SA president in March 2021 and, the following month, graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science/pre-law from MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

NASS created the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award in February 2021 to recognize gifted, civic-minded youth. As a tribute to one of the 13 original Freedom Riders and a long-serving U.S. Congressman, the award honors recipients’ demonstrated leadership abilities, passion for social justice and motivation to improve quality of life in their communities.

MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Hyatt recommended Packer to Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson. Hyatt praised Packer for his mentorship of other students, ability to build relationships among the many cultural groups on campus, and willingness to share his experiences as a Black man in the role of SA president.

“Tyler’s tenure was sidetracked by the COVID-19 crisis yet he persevered toward achieving his campaign goals, including a campus-wide diversity and inclusion effort ‘We Ring Together,’ which focused on educating students and building diverse coalitions,” Hyatt said. “He also participated in campus-wide dialogue around racial justice and discussions on how Mississippi State could be a beacon of reconciliation and peace for our students and the community.”

Hyatt said Packer’s leadership within the Student Association also played a pivotal role in Mississippi State being named a national “Voter Friendly Campus” for the second time. In particular, Packer ensured MSU students were prepared to participate in the 2020 election cycle by helping to organize dozens of voter registration campaigns, coordinating transportation to the polls, advocating for the return of a polling site to campus, and leading massive advertising campaigns to inform students about registration and where to vote.

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