ATO honored as Mr. Ole Miss

19 October

Hattiesburg native and Oak Grove High graduate Steven Nelson will be presented as Mr. Ole Miss during today’s homecoming festivities at the University of Mississippi.

“I don’t think what’s happened has really hit me yet,” Nelson, 21, said. “I think it will finally sink in when I’m on the field.”

Nelson was elected Mr. Ole Miss in September, the title known to students and alumni as Colonel Reb.

He served as grand marshal of Friday’s homecoming parade with Miss Ole Miss, Carmen Rae Musgrove of Brandon. The two will be honored today during pre-game ceremonies in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Nelson won the coveted campus title at a Sept. 17 pep rally where his parents were present for the emotional moment.

“When I heard them call my name I just collapsed and started crying,” Nelson said. “Win or lose I would’ve had fun, but I wanted to win more than anything.”

Nelson, a 2006 Oak Grove graduate, said his campaign consisted of more than 100 friends passing out fliers on campus and in Oxford businesses and distributing 5,000 stickers to students.

“I wanted all that hard work to pay off,” he said. “It’s humbling to know the student body put their trust in me to represent Ole Miss.”

A senior biology major who’s minoring in chemistry and Spanish, Nelson is a volunteer with numerous civic organizations and a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, where he has served in numerous positions. He’s also a member of several honor and leadership societies and one-day plans to attend medical school.

“I’ve met so many people and learned so many things while here,” said Nelson, who has been named to the Chancellor’s Honor Roll and Dean’s List. “I chose Ole Miss because when I visited, I fell in love with the people. I wouldn’t change anything.”

Nelson’s mom and Ole Miss alumna, Pearl, said she’s proud of her son.

“I think it is a wonderful honor that speaks very highly of his personality, ethics and friendliness,” she said. “He’s got this wonderful smile that’s very warm and welcoming. I’m glad others see that.”

And so is older sibling Joseph Nelson, a Mississippi State graduate who said – despite college rivalry – he’s glad to be related to Colonel Reb.

“We give each other a hard time, especially around the Egg Bowl each year, but it’s all in good spirit,” he said. “Steven’s done a lot of hard work to get where he’s at. It just couldn’t have happened to a better person.”

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