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New cohort exemplifies academic excellence, leadership and exceptional character
Stamps Scholars are selected based on academic excellence, leadership experience and exceptional character. UM freshmen in the Class of 2026 cohort are (front, from left) Mary-del Jansen, Amber Amis and Ryleigh Johnson; (second row) Yasmine Ware, Olivia Bacon and Dymond Mitchell; (third row) Jasmine Sanders, Layla Ashley, Carolena Graham and McKenzie Cox; and (fourth row) Ethan Roberts, Hayden Walker and Andrew Nichols.

With plans to travel the world, research health disparities and grow a nonprofit organization, incoming freshman Dymond Mitchell is thankful to be named one of 13 new Stamps Scholars at the University of Mississippi.

“This is so much more than a scholarship to me,” Mitchell said. “It will allow me to study abroad and build my network. I’m also thankful that the program has helped me keep a promise I made to my parents to earn a full ride to college.”

The Stamps Scholars Program awards scholarships based on academic excellence, leadership experience and exceptional character. The program awarded 247 scholarships this year to students at 31 partner institutions across the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

The new class brings the number of Stamps Scholars at Ole Miss to 58, making the university the second-largest in the program.

At UM, each scholarship covers the full cost of attendance, along with a $12,000 stipend for enrichment activities such as study abroad, academic conferences and leadership training.

A sociology major, Mitchell is from Prosper, Texas. Her parents are originally from the Bahamas.

“My parents arrived in the U.S. when they were very young, and I wanted to honor them by finding a way to put myself through college,” she said. “This scholarship is helping me do that and work toward my goal of traveling to all seven continents.

“I want to gain a better world perspective, understand different cultures and develop a better sense of empathy for people while I study at the university.”

Mitchell is also working to bring a chapter of the nonprofit Legacy Impact to campus. The organization is building a technical school in Ghana that aims to reach victims of human trafficking.

She hopes to attend medical school after graduation and work on issues related to inadequate health care in the Bahamas.

Columbus native Carolena Graham, a civil engineering major, said that the scholarship will position her for success as a student.

“Financials have always been a barrier to my education and the impact I want to make on the world,” Graham said. “I have a plan, and all I need is a platform. Having been selected as a Stamps Scholar, my financial barriers have been lessened.

“I’m able to focus on the task at hand, which is doing what I love, serving others and being the best version of myself.”

The complete roster of freshmen UM Stamps Scholars is:

  • Amber Amis, an economics major from Clinton
  • Layla Ashley, a public policy leadership major from Chicago
  • Olivia Bacon, an English major from Atlanta
  • McKenzie Cox, a journalism major from Concord, North Carolina
  • Carolena Graham, a civil engineering major from Columbus
  • Mary Jansen, a mechanical engineering major from Brandon
  • Ryleigh Johnson, an international studies major from Olive Branch
  • Dymond Mitchell, a sociology major from Prosper, Texas
  • Andrew Nichols, a public policy leadership major from Monroe, North Carolina
  • Ethan Roberts, an engineering major from Paducah, Kentucky
  • Jasmine Sanders, a biochemistry major from Prosper, Texas
  • Hayden Walker, a public policy leadership and engineering major from Oxford
  • Yasmine Ware, an international studies major from Madison

Ashleen Williams, a fellow in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, serves as an academic mentor for the scholars. She said that this year’s class is poised to do great things.

“I hope that they will learn to ask big questions and seek answers to them, and to extend their ideas of what is possible,” Williams said.

Georgia native Roe Stamps and his late wife, Penny, launched the Stamps Scholarship in 2006. Though Penny Stamps died in 2018, her legacy continues through the Stamps Scholars community, which has grown into an international network of more than 2,600 scholars and alumni.

“The Stamps family and organization are true partners in helping identify students that want to think creatively and solve big problems,” said Katie Morrison, director of foundation relations and strategic partnerships at UM. “What we have been able to grow together – a supportive scholar community that enriches our whole campus culture – is a testament to what higher education should deliver.

“We appreciate their investment that has made the Ole Miss program the second-largest Stamps Scholars collective. Our students live out their dreams because of Roe and Penny Stamps’ vision and generosity.”

For more about this class of Stamps Scholars, visit To learn more about supporting scholarship programs at UM, contact Morrison at or 662-915-2135. To make a gift, click here.

By Erin Garrett/UM MarCom


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