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Mister JSU DeAngelo Riddle models one of the suits he donated to Jackson State’s University’s Tiger Career Closet to help students in need of professional attire.

FOCUS ON EDUCATION — Today’s lesson: 1st impressions

Deborah Bynum, wife of Jackson State University president William Bynum, supports and is active in the Tiger Career Closet program

Deborah Bynum believes in the power of first impressions.

That’s why the wife of Jackson State University President William Bynum is a strong supporter of the JSU Tiger Career Closet, an initiative intended to help currently enrolled JSU students in need of professional attire.

She plans for the career closet to help Jackson State students positively represent themselves and their institution from now and years to come.

“The career closet is free for students because I hope that one day they will pay it forward just like someone paid it forward for them,” Bynum said.

Furthermore, she said, “Everyone came together for the good of the initiative and the good of the students. The closet is beautiful, and I am excited that this resource will be available to our students. I am so grateful to everyone who donated their time and energy to this project.”

At the ribbon-cutting last fall, students laced head to toe in 9-to–5 office garb ripped the runway during a fashion preview.

The ribbon-cutting event was brought to life as members of the university’s Insatiable Modeling Squad and Blue Ambassadors organization showcased outfits available in the career closet. From dresses and suits to shoes and accessories, the closet appears to have it all.

Student model Chareese Smith said: “I feel like the Tiger Career Closet is something that we honestly need here at Jackson State because when preparing for an interview a lot of students don’t know what to wear, and they lose confidence in themselves.”

The university’s first Mister JSU, DeAngelo Riddle, was also one of the student models for the event. He donated a suit to the initiative and even modeled in the show. Riddle said he really connected with the Tiger Career Closet and felt like it was something that would help mold future students into professionals.

“In my freshmen year I did not have any professional clothes,” Riddle said. “Three people on the campus, Dr. Laquayla Coleman, Mrs. Eltease Moore and Mr. Arron Richardson, helped me by giving me clothes. So, I wanted to make sure that I returned the favor.”

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Susan Powell also worked steadily with the Deborah Bynum and members of the Tiger Career Closet committee to garner donations and sponsorships.

“I have to commend the entire Division of Student Affairs,” said Powell.

“My team and I collected $350 in one day and still have more money and donations coming in for the closet.”

Powell emphasized the importance of students utilizing the career closet to their advantage because it was created strictly for them.

Students can receive one free professional outfit per academic year by scheduling an appointment. Following the scheduling of an appointment, students must be punctual, be willing to try on various pieces and be open to receive guidance and tips on professional fashion.

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