Among his family members who are the first generation to attend college, Joshua Quinn Tucker of West Point, Mississippi, was the first son to obtain a college degree.
Make that two college degrees.
During the 2017 Commencement ceremony at the University of Mississippi, Tucker was handed a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management.
Two degrees may be enough for most students, but Tucker didn’t end his higher education journey there. This month, he is graduating with a terminal degree: a Juris Doctorate.
And in the fall of 2020? Tucker will be back to start a Ph.D. in education, with career plans aimed at helping other students pursue their dreams through higher education.
Tucker said he wouldn’t have achieved his academic successes without his family, scholarships, or university support.
“Despite neither of my parents earning a college degree, they stressed the need for an education,” he said. “On my mom’s side, I have three sisters, all of whom have a Mississippi college education.
“If it was not for the undergraduate scholarships and my current law school scholarships, the trajectory of my life would have been a lot different. Receiving scholarships for both law school and undergrad allowed me the opportunity to focus on my many academic, philanthropic and engagement goals without the financial stress.”
Although he’s completing his seventh academic year at Ole Miss, Tucker said he initially did not consider UM as one of his college options. All that changed when he attended the APEX Leadership Summit at Ole Miss in 2012.
“That was my first time experiencing Ole Miss,” he said. “At the conclusion of the summer session, I applied before leaving campus. Since then, I have fallen in love with Ole Miss and the Oxford community.”
It was his fondness for Ole Miss that convinced him to pursue a Juris Doctorate at the UM School of Law after he completed his undergraduate career. Throughout his time at the university, Tucker has served his school, his fellow students and his community by getting involved with a variety of organizations.
He was a senator with the Associated Student Body, vice president with the Luckyday Residential College Community Council and the Residence Hall Association; a scholar with the Luckyday Success program; and a member of the Student Bar Association, Dean’s Leadership Council, Public Interest Law Foundation and the Black Law Students Association.
Tucker’s academic and public service successes helped prepare him for a career after law school and were instrumental in getting potential law students to consider enrolling in the UM School of Law, said Bette K. Bradley, assistant dean for admissions and scholarships with the law school.
“I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Joshua better through his work on the Dean’s Leadership Council, which is a group of student ambassadors who interview and are selected to represent the law school at recruiting events and when prospective students come to visit our school,” Bradley said.
“I asked Joshua to travel to several recruiting events and serve on student panels because he does such a great job talking with prospective students,” she said. “He sets a wonderful example, and we are proud to have him as a member of our student body.”
Tucker will continue to be a member of UM’s student body this fall when he returns to begin working on his Ph.D. in education. His time as a student, his experience as a member of several student organizations and the six years he worked as a student employee in the Division of Student Affairs convinced him that his professional career should be in higher education. That way he can continue to collaborate with others, which he describes as “the cornerstone of success.”
“In the field of education, we are brought together as partners in the professional and personal development of students,” Tucker said. “After serving in multiple positions here on campus, I discovered that my passion for student success and higher education is dynamically fulfilling. I learned that I love helping students from all walks of life.”
Tucker’s exceptional college career would not have been possible without the many scholarships he was awarded. This support came from the Phelps Dunbar Law, Reuben Anderson Law, Bledsoe, Luckyday and Academic Excellence scholarships as well as a Mississippi HELP grant.
“The variety of extracurricular activities in which I have been involved has helped prepare me for my career,” Tucker said. “Like many students here at Ole Miss, I would not have been able to participate in these programs without the help of scholarship donors. For those of us who may not have the financial means, scholarships provide a way for us to fulfill our dreams.
“Now, even though I am running out of degrees to earn, I am looking forward to giving back to those who have given so much to me: Ole Miss.”
For more information on supporting scholarships and other programs at Ole Miss, visit https://give.olemiss.edu.
By Jonathan Scott