Julius Francis, senior social work major and basketball standout, is just one example of the accomplishments Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) students are making in the state and beyond.
Francis was recently named Student of the Year at the Mississippi Chapter of the National Association of Social Work Conference. He was selected from among nine other schools represented in the state of Mississippi for his outstanding performance as a social worker in training. Winners are selected based on their commitment to best social work practices and social work issues.
"Julius is a very humble and appreciative young man," said Lucille Lacy, assistant professor of Social Work. "Ever since I first met him he has exemplified the qualities of a social worker even without his degree. It's obvious that he's passionate about what he does."
According to Julius, majoring in social work was something his mother pushed him to do. He is the youngest of seven sisters and eight brothers. While growing up, his mother always told him no matter where you are, never forget about home. She taught him that life isn't about him, instead, it's about helping others.
"I am passionate about helping the kids back home," said Julius. "I do fundraisers here in the U.S. to help purchase food, water and lights for those in need back home. The kids are always so happy to see me when I return. And, that's what it is all about."
Julius relocated from Nigeria to the United States in 2006. At that time, he attended Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic School in Maryland. Upon graduating in 2009, he went on to play basketball at Winthrop University in South Carolina. After making his mark there, he transitioned to Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, Okla. In 2012, Julius made his final stop at Mississippi Valley State University to play basketball.
Julius is in his final year at MVSU. Upon graduating in May, Julius plans to continue pursuing his professional career in basketball while raising money for families in need back home.
"I feel very happy to represent Valley as the Student of the Year for Mississippi's National Association of Social Work," said Julius. "Even though I was caught by surprise, I wasn't too surprised because the social work department at MVSU really prepares students."
The Department of Social Work at Mississippi Valley State University began in 1972. The program is designed to meet the needs of human service agencies in Mississippi Delta and beyond. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the department is committed to providing support to local social service delivery systems through faculty and student involvement in community and professional activities.
To learn more about the Department of Social Work, please call 662-254-3365.