First female African-American ASB president to focus on unity
By Tirranny Nettles
Kimbrely Dandridge is preparing to take office as Associated Student Body president for 2012-13 at the University of Mississippi, and she is often reminded of her place in history as the university’s first female African-American ASB president.
But fulfilling her campaign promises and working to develop a stronger sense of campus unity are more important than history, said Dandridge, a junior journalism major and sociology minor from Como.
“Being first is cool, but those that will follow in my footsteps are more important,” she said. “I’m just really excited about being ASB president. It’s something I’ve worked really hard for, and I just happen to be the first.”
Dandridge plans to work with campus administrators to help provide more resources for students, such as free printing, clicker rentals from the library and a 24-hour convenience store in Martin and Stockard halls. She also plans to implement free graduate and professional school test preparation for all undergraduate students.
“My platform promotes unity,” Dandridge said. “As ASB president, I promise to always promote a unified campus and unified student body. I think my sense of oneness and unity will help our university progress. Ole Miss is growing more and more each day, and I am so proud of the progress this university has made and the progress we continue to make.”
Before her election last month, Dandridge had already been involved in a variety of campus activities, including the University of Mississippi Band, Freshman Focus, One Mississippi, UM Black Journalists Association, Black Student Union and Phi Mu Fraternity. She was a weather anchor for NewsWatch and served as a resident assistant and as ASB director of communications.
“It has been a pleasure working under Kimbrely in the Black Student Union Cabinet,” said Quadray Kohlhiem, BSU treasurer. “She is always open for ideas and is just a good all-around leader.”
Dandridge credits a couple of campus mentors with helping her succeed. Jacqueline Certion, a senior academic adviser, and Valerie Ross, assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs and volunteer services, have counseled Dandridge throughout her time at Ole Miss.
“I really look up to them because they inspire me so much to go above and beyond,” Dandridge said. “Their spirits and their passion for students really inspire me. They mentor me and challenge me to make this campus and the world a better place.”
“I have truly enjoyed working with Kim,” Ross said. “Kimbrely lights up a room. Her positive, enthusiastic approach makes her an absolute joy to work with. I am humbled that she sees me as a mentor. She is committed to doing good deeds with her life, and I admire her life philosophy and applaud her commitment to helping and serving others.”
“I have found Kimbrely to be a dedicated and enthusiastic student leader,” said Sparky Reardon, dean of students and assistant vice chancellor for student affairs. “I expect that she will serve the Ole Miss student body with concern for all students. I am excited about working with her.”
Many of Dandridge’s friends refer to her as “Mini Michelle Obama” because of her many campus and community involvements and her willingness to do anything for the greater good.
“Kim is one of the most generous and compassionate friends I have,” said Lauren Wright, a junior public policy leadership major from Tupelo. “She’s constantly looking for the good in people and is always there if I ever need anything.”
Dandridge is the daughter of Earnest and Deborah Dandridge. She has one brother, Brian, and one sister, Alana. In her spare time, Dandridge enjoys writing, playing her trombone and shoe shopping. After graduation, she hopes to attend Harvard Law and one day work for FedEx as a corporate attorney.
“As the new ASB president, I want to become the voice for our entire student body,” she said. “I want students to feel comfortable coming to me to voice their opinions. I want the student body to know that I am here for them.”