Family legacy and support propels graduating senior Austin Pope’s educational success

By earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Alcorn State University during the 2019 Fall Commencement, Kansas City, Missouri, native Austin Pope will be following in the footsteps of his family members who are Alcorn alumni.

Growing up, Pope knew that he was destined for college, but he wasn’t sure what institution of higher learning he wanted to attend. Thanks to his father, a Mississippi native, he was encouraged to look into enrolling at Alcorn.

“I knew I wanted to leave Missouri, so I began searching for colleges around the country,” said Pope. “My father is from the Mississippi Delta, and some of his siblings attended and graduated from Alcorn. After talking to my father, uncles, and aunts, I knew that Alcorn was the school for me.”

Pope's family has always provided him with a healthy support system. He spoke about how his parents always pushed him to strive for the best in life.

“My parents always stressed that they wanted me to become better than them. So I took their advice because I knew that to live the life I wanted to live, I would need a college education.”

Also lending their support was Pope’s twin sister. He said that she has been the driving force behind his motivation to persevere until the end.

“My sister has been a huge inspiration for keeping me motivated. Through all of my hardships in college, my sister was there to keep me on the right track. She has been very loving, and she listens to me without passing judgment.”

At Alcorn, Pope fell in love with everything the university had to offer. During his college experience, he discovered his passion for modeling when he joined the TREND Modeling Squad on campus. He said that joining the modeling organization is one of the best decisions he made as a student.

“I fell in love with modeling during my sophomore year in 2016. Joining this organization is one of the most cherished highlights of my college career. We are more than just a modeling organization; we are family. I would do anything for them.”

Having photo shoots is a favorite of Pope's, but his true love is walking the runway. For him, walking the runway is exhilarating, and it gives him elevated levels of excitement and confidence.

“I consider myself a print and runway model, but of the two, I love the runway the most. It’s something about being on the runway that gives me this rush of excitement. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything.”

Being a model allows Pope to exude confidence in his performance while transferring vibrant energy to the crowd. His newfound passion also gives him the chance to lead and show new models the ins and outs of the modeling profession.

“Modeling gives me a chance to transfer my energy to others. I love coaching because I want to help others hone their modeling skills. I was once in their shoes, and others helped me figure things out when I was new and had no idea what to do. Now that I know more, I can help others with their modeling dreams.”

Alcorn is where Pope grew into a well-rounded young man, and he is grateful to the university for preparing him for a world beyond the "shades of giant trees."

“Alcorn turned me into a better individual. When it comes to speaking skills, leadership abilities, and knowledge about life, this university has given me the tools and confidence to achieve anything.”

After Pope graduates, he will begin a career in business as a manager trainee with Enterprise.