Rhodes Students Meet With Mayor About Their Experiences Attending College in Memphis

(l-r) Shane Watson, Morgan Hanna, Mayor Wharton, Alex Dileo, Gayle Hughes, Mary Catherine Reeves

Four Rhodes student leaders are among area college students who recently participated in the “Students Connect with Mayor” event held at The University of Memphis on Feb. 13. They are Alex Dileo ’16, Gayle Hughes ’13, Mary Catherine Reeves ’13, and Shane Watson ’14.

The students discussed with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton various topics such as what they love most about attending college in Memphis and what would make them stay in Memphis after graduation. The mayor responded by sharing resources the city plans to make available such as an electronic database where students can network and share their various events to promote more community involvement. He also discussed the importance of working with companies to create more internships for college students.

Wharton also addressed issues regarding public safety, the improvement of the K-12 education system, and the availability of jobs—three factors students said they consider when deciding whether or not to stay in Memphis after graduation.

The four Rhodes students selected to attend the “Students Connect with Mayor” event all have expressed interest in working with the city leaders of Memphis to increase talent retention. Rhodes senior Morgan Hanna also was in attendance in her role as an Urban Fellow at City Hall.

“This experience was dynamic in that it was the first of its kind to directly engage college students and Mayor Wharton in an intimate conversation on matters most important to students’ academic/social advancement and overall connection and adaptation to Memphis,” says Hanna.

Wharton expressed the need for continued discourse among the undergraduate and graduate institutions in the city. Networking and the exchange of ideas regarding talent acquisition for the city will be promoted on the Colleges of Memphis website.