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FeaturedApril 12, 2024

Men of Excellence: Shaping Future Leaders

During the fall of 2021, the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith welcomed the Men of Excellence student organization to campus. Since then, MOX has grown to include male students from various backgrounds and studies, all working toward a common goal: to be your best self.

The organization aims to assure, encourage, and motivate male students at UAFS and beyond. The men of MOX focus on mentoring, community building, and developing leadership skills to empower themselves and everyone they encounter.

“Young men aren’t taken seriously. This program is an opportunity for them not to become statistics, prepare them for the future, and prepare them for fatherhood, manhood, and society,” said Wesley Hooks, MOX sponsor and Director of Campus Center Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

Men of Excellence president Lucas Croney describes college as a blank slate. It’s a time for students to grow their ideas, find connections, and learn more about who they are and want to become. Throughout his time in MOX, Lucas says the group is always willing to give a hand – whether it’s to other men, campus organizations, or the greater Fort Smith community.

“Men of Excellence isn’t just Men of Excellence,” Lucas explained. “We’re all part of something else. You’re not just part of Men of Excellence; you are part of everything.”

Former MOX president Johnathan Brewer echoed Lucas and explored how MOX has served him and how he envisions it continuing to serve him beyond his time at UAFS.

“Since I joined MOX my freshman year, it has always been a strong support system from like-minded people from whom I could learn and gain wisdom,” Johnathan said.

Hooks talked about the importance of community, especially for the men of MOX. While all men can join, the organization is comprised mainly of men of color. Hooks said there aren’t enough people invested in caring for young men in general and urges that to change so these men “don’t become part of the system, but instead become men who can transcend beyond the system.”

However, changes in the perception of young men can’t start without a solid foundation in the classroom. Part of being your best self means academic success.

“These young men have an average 3.4 GPA, and this success is evident in who they are and what they represent,” Hooks said.

When joining MOX, members are given a tie and resume portfolio. After a semester of learning what it means to be part of MOX, the men are each given a suit jacket to complete the ensemble. With the items in hand and stellar grades, each man has tangible items to help them exude the confidence to succeed.

Outside the classroom, MOX strives to better UAFS and the community. You will surely find MOX members involved by planning their events or helping other organizations.

From hosting community panels and discussions to supporting the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all students, “MOX is a great addition to the campus life atmosphere,” Hooks said. He is encouraged by their ability to “stand up, take notice, and do things in a positive manner.”

Lucas explained that the people who make up and support MOX give the men the “seeds to grow.” By mentoring the young men of MOX, granting job interviews, or networking with them, each student leaves MOX confident in their future.

“The leadership tools they have learned will position them to have a successful career and life after they graduate from UAFS,” Hooks said. “We have members who aspire to be entrepreneurs and will be a great asset in the corporate world. … They are our future leaders.”

“I’ve gained some strong connections from various people and role models in the community who want to see everyone in the organization continue and grow to do amazing things even after graduation,” Johnathan said.

  • Tags:
  • Day of Giving
  • Men of Excellence

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Rachel Rodemann Putman

  • Director of Strategic Communications
  • 479-788-7132
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