By Haley Renschler
The Oxford Eagle
A former Mr. Ole Miss is planning a medical career and mission work has been working to improve the community in a variety of ways.
Rob Barber is currently enrolled in his fifth year at Ole Miss and is continuously finding new ways to better the community by volunteering and working with different organizations. Being elected Mr. Ole Miss was “one of the greatest honors I’ve ever received,” he said.
The Hernando native was home-schooled until 10th grade before enrolling in the Southern Baptist Educational Center, a private school in Southaven.
Because he didn’t know a lot of people, he wanted to take advantage of new opportunities. Barber was elected vice president of the student council, and he was a member of a national honors society.
During his freshman year at Ole Miss, he became a member of the Freshman Council organization and pledged Delta Psi. He also worked with the student ambassadors and the Associated Student Body, a student government organization.
Barber declared public policy leadership as his major sophomore year and added pre-med his junior year. He plans to use the degree to go into pediatrics and help children internationally.
Barber, who has a strong faith, said: “If something is supposed to happen, with the help and will of the Lord, it will.”
He has been highly involved in Reformed University Fellowship, RUF, and worked on a ministry team for four years. He hopes to use his strong faith and knowledge of medicine to go abroad after his final year at Ole Miss to help children and families in third world countries.
During his sophomore year, he and his friend created “Rebel A-Thon,” a 12-hour dance marathon and fundraiser for a children’s hospital in Jackson. They raised $50,000 last year.
Barber was a member of the Columns Society, also known as student hosts and hostesses, that help out at chancellor and alumni events. He worked as an orientation leader mentoring freshman. During his junior year, he helped campaign for the previous Mr. Ole Miss, and he was nominated to run for this position his senior year. Barber won after a run-off with competitor, Luke Love.
Cole Putman was a member of Barber’s campaign team and currently works with Barber as co-director of Freshman Council.
“He is truly one of the best people I have ever met, and to me, he is a great picture of what it looks like to love and serve Ole Miss,” said Putman.
Barber had to fulfill several roles and duties as Mr. Ole Miss. He helped with several Greek life philanthropy events. He was a judge for Kappa Alpha Theta’s philanthropy dance event, Theta Encore, and helped Alpha Delta Pi raise money for the Ronald McDonald House in a pie-throwing event. Barber was also the master of ceremonies for “The Parade of Beauties.”
One of his most meaningful community service acts as Mr. Ole Miss is the trail built at Rivershill Park in Oxford. He and Miss Ole Miss, Emily Wikle, raised $10,000 and recruited volunteers to build an interactive literacy trail to help children, ages 3-4, learn to read.
The election for this year’s Mr. Ole Miss was held Sept. 15, 2015, and senior William Kneip, one of Barber’s good friends, was elected.
“He is very passionate, and truly loves this university,” said Barber.
Even though his duty as Mr. Ole Miss is over, Barber’s love to give back to the community will never be over. He and his friend, Reid Patterson, founded CURE at Ole Miss, which is working for CURE International.
CURE International is a non-profit organization that operates pediatric children’s hospitals in 30 countries worldwide. CURE Ole Miss’ goal is to raise money to help the children of these third world countries.
It is a faith based organization “where patients experience the life-changing message of God’s love for them, receiving surgical treatment,” according to CURE International.
Barber loves the organization because its mission statement relates to the Bible.
Barber hopes to travel abroad after his fifth year of college for six months. Then he will begin medical school in Jackson.
“I don’t know where I’ll be in the next five years, but I know that the Lord’s plan will take me where I need to be,” said Barber.