Not your typical college guy

Matt doing charity work

Matt Bolton, a college junior majoring in Managerial Finance on the pre-med track, works hard to not only get his degree but also divides his time serving his university and the community. He does this through involvement with the Student Alumni Council, participating in intramurals, church involvement, and serving as the previous Philanthropy Chair for his fraternity. Most importantly, Bolton works to improve Mississippi’s illiteracy issues, a personal passion of his.  Bolton started the Coaching for Literacy chapter at the University of Mississippi in 2014. Coaching for Literacy is a national non-profit program that harnesses sports to raise awareness and funds for literacy in local communities. He knew that illiteracy was a major issue in his Mississippi community, but he also knew he could make a difference.

Matt Bolton

Matt Bolton

Bolton is admired by many and looked up to as a strong leader on campus. It’s interesting to look at a person like Bolton because you know that he has so much to do at all times but always puts himself last in order to help others. When I asked him what his goal for college was he explained,

“I want to look back at my college career and know that I was a part of Ole Miss in one small way. I didn’t want to just go to class and return home everyday. I wanted to do more! By doing my part and putting my time and energy into something I am passionate about, I have been a member of my college community.”

For students that have the same aspirations to serve and lead in their communities or universities, but are unsure how to get started, Bolton focuses on three important factors that have gotten him to where he is today:


While discussing Bolton’s experience with being busy with juggling school and his involvement he says, “This is something that is fun!” when referring to Coaching for Literacy. He expresses how important it is that students should choose something that they genuinely like. Motivation is a #majorKey that should be first in your decision to jump into something important when you already have a pretty busy life.

Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People

Bolton expresses how important his support system is in his life. Having friends come together for a common cause is awesome. Organizations such as Coaching for Literacy really are a team effort. When serving, it is important to understand that you can’t do everything on your own.

Get Structure

Bolton helps himself stay balanced by going back to his personal values. “Each morning I have a quiet time to stay on track,” Bolton says. Like most go-getter students, Bolton’s days are overflowing with back-to-back classes, meetings, running errands, and finishing homework, yet Bolton still makes it a point to get a workout in or hang out with close friends. Even though there is a lot going on, it’s important to stay structured to give yourself some off time.

This year the Coaching for Literacy chapter at Ole Miss helped to raise $13,103.00 for the local Mississippi community to help students fight illiteracy through tutoring programs and further assistance. It’s amazing what a person can accomplish when they focus on doing things they love regardless of how busy their schedule might be.

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Gabrielle Gonzaba

Gabrielle Gonzaba

Gabriella is pursuing a degree in secondary social studies at the University of Mississippi. After college, she plans on getting a master’s degree in higher education administration. Gabriella is involved in many extracurricular activities that divide her time. She is the founder and president of a nonprofit, Students for a Safe Ride, which offers a safe ride for University of Mississippi students during evening hours on the weekend. She is also heavily involved in student government and serves as the acting director of student organizations for the Associated Student Body.