Standing tall, walking with purpose, and a little red in his beard, blond headed Conner Smith is a Clintonian and Choctaw. Smith’s family has resided in Clinton since his parents attended Mississippi College. “I’ve been here my whole life, ever since my parents graduated from MC,” Smith said. Smith grew up going to Lions Club Park, to the movie theater, or spending time playing wreck league at Traceway. He did not attend Clinton Public Schools, rather he was homeschooled and then transitioned to MC.
Smith enjoys the small town feel that Clinton gives to its residents. Clinton is home to just over 25,000 residents, yet still has a small community. “Most of my life, Clinton has been a pretty small town where I have known a lot of great people. I am always going to see someone I know at Kroger or Walmart. I have always loved that about Clinton,” said Smith.
Growing up in Clinton, Smith and his six brothers and sisters were never far from the Brick Streets. During his lifetime, he has seen many shops open and close, the history of the town come alive, and had a chance to spend many nights as an MC student there. As he has grown the Brick Streets have become his favorite part of Clinton. “The emphasis lately in bringing life to the downtown area has made it a great place to take a late night walk, grab a cup of coffee, or just hang out with friends,” he added.
Not only has he been close to the Brick Streets, he is also very close to his family of seven kids of which he is the oldest. Smith has a younger brother who has special needs and that has brought his family very close together. “Each person in my family has shaped and molded me into the person that I am today and life wouldn’t be quite as sweet or enjoyable without them,” Smith said, “my parents have raised us to work hard and Glorify God in everything we do.” Family is one of the most important thing to Smith as he has grown up in Clinton and now spends his days at Mississippi College. When choosing where to attend college Smith saw that MC was close to his home and his heart, “I really liked how close it was to home and the how well tailored they are in preparing students to enter medical school. It also has sentimental value as both my parents and grandparents attended MC,” Smith said, “My grandmother actually lived in Jennings Hall back when it was a girls dorm!” Smith has always had a close connection to MC.
Many friendships have come from his time at Mississippi College, whether that be from the Biology department, his church, or from locals he has met along the way. “Conner is a really solid guy,” said Kelsey DeVazier, a former classmate in the biology department. The two met their freshman year and remained friends despite DeVazier’s move to the Communications department.
Though he is studying Biological Sciences, (pre-med), he hopes to go to medical school to serve in primary care, he also has a heart for Christian missions work. Smith grew up attending First Baptist Jackson, but now is the worship leader at Wildwood Baptist Church here in town. “I have gotten the chance to travel and do mission work in Africa, Peru, Mexico, French Caribbean, and many other states here. It blows my mind to get opportunities to work across all differences and see people come to know the joy I have found in Christ. I hope to be able to incorporate this passion into my medical practice one day,” he added. His love for mission work is here in Clinton and also throughout the world.
Smith has many desires and passions within him, but one passion that has overtaken him for the passed several years is his passion to translate the Bible into an unreached people groups language. An unreached people group is, is a group of people that have never been reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “There are so many challenges, barriers and possible risks at hand. But I do feel like being able to see that desire come to fruition would be the most fulfilling moment in my life and that any risks faced would be far surpassed by the joy of seeing an entire people group have the opportunity to know Christ Jesus,” Smith said joyfully. Smith has many passions that involve growing in community in Clinton and every place he walks.
Article written by TCC Intern Emily Greer.