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  • Sincerely, Southern

Grandmother’s wish: Brandon Moore’s rise to Mr. Georgia Southern

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Javon Huynh, Multimedia Reporter

Last month, as the glittering gowns and sparkling tiaras of the Miss Georgia Southern Scholarship contestants dazzled the audience at the Nesmith-Lane Performing Arts Center, one unexpected figure stole the show.

Brandon Moore, the reigning Mr. Georgia Southern of 2022, commanded the stage with his uplifting and powerful speech, inspiring the crowd to rise to its feet with his final line.

“Now is YOUR time.”

He shined as bright as the jewels that adorned the Miss Georgia Southern crown.

As his reign comes to an end next month, Moore reflects on his successful journey as Mr. Georgia Southern: the challenges he faced, how his Grandmother’s last wish inspired him to succeed and life after graduation.

A native of Adrian, Georgia, Moore graduated with a psychology degree last year. He battled against outdated stereotypes and broke down barriers, challenging the notion that only well-known individuals on campus or those involved in Greek life could win his title.

While the Miss Georgia Southern Scholarship competition has been a longstanding tradition and will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year, the Mr. Georgia Southern title is a relative newcomer to the campus social scene, having only held 17 competitions to date.

However, the criteria for the crown are similar including spirit wear, lifestyle and fitness, talent and formal wear, all culminating with an on-stage question and answer segment.

Despite its short history, the Mr. Georgia Southern competition is a unique event that provides a platform for male students to showcase their talents and personalities; however, in recent years, it has been dominated by fraternity members. Moore, who is not affiliated with any Greek organization, brought a fresh face to the competition.

"You don’t have to be a big personality on campus to win,” said Moore. “I wanted to be an example to somebody that you could be the little guy.”

“I became a big personality after I won the competition!” he added.

Moore’s big personality may have come with the crown, but friends and colleagues have always known that Moore stood out.

Ny’Ryah Solomon who worked with him on the University Programming Board’s End of the Year Banquet last semester where Moore won Executive of the Semester and she won Member of the Semester.

“He knew how to make the bad days good ones and turn a cry into a smile,” she said, recalling his warm spirit.

With a scholarship prize of $1,000, the competition often attracts some of the university’s leading men to compete. Last year’s winner, Shahad Smith, was the social actions chair for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and chaplain for the NAACP, which was an inspiration to Moore.

“Just looking at him and all that he accomplished and his love for Christ and just how well he exuded that title really made me pursue it and made me want to be him,” Moore said.

As he recounted, Moore was inspired to compete after meeting Smith at a homecoming event in 2021.

“I said, ‘I’m next’, so on that stage, it was a testament of how we can speak things into existence,” Moore said.

In 2022, Moore stepped on the same stage as the new Mr. Georgia Southern at the Homecoming Doo-Dah, Dance, and Step Show. It truly was a full circle moment.

Last April, when Moore won the coveted title at the university's Russell Union Ballroom, his only thoughts on stage were his grandmother and God.

“Grandma, I did it,” said Moore.

Moore’s grandmother, Ruth Marion Moore, passed away in 2015. One of her dying wishes was that her grandson would go back to college and finish his degree. While it was a bittersweet moment that she could not be there to see one of his proudest moments, Moore dedicated his crown to her memory.

Since winning the title, Moore has become a recognizable face around Statesboro. He joked that he has not had to pay for his own breakfast since winning Mr. Georgia Southern, but for him, the experience is more than just recognition. Winning the competition has changed his life in more ways than one.

“Two years ago, if you had asked me if I would be a higher education professional, I would have told you absolutely not,” Moore said. “But being Mr. Georgia Southern and being able to succeed and impact lives made me realize that higher education is my destiny and my calling. That’s what I’ve discovered by winning.”

With his eyes set on pursuing his master’s degree in higher education administration and a doctorate in higher education leadership in the future, Moore has big plans for the next few years.

“One day, my goal is to make it to the president’s cabinet and even to be a college or university president,” he said.

Moore’s impact extends beyond the Mr. Georgia Southern competition. Karis Manning, who worked with him on the University Planning Board expresses deep gratitude and admiration for him.

“Brandon is a figure in my life that I’m super grateful for because he bought me out of my shell,” she said. “Without his push from the start of that process, I probably would’ve dropped UPB and still been slightly timid.”

As Moore’s own experiences have shown, the Mr. Georgia Southern competition can be a transformative experience that not only highlights the talents of Georgia Southern students but also helps to bring out the best in them.

The year’s competition will be held on April 6 in the Russell Union Ballroom. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in at least 12 or more credit hours and be physically attending classes at Georgia Southern University at the time of the competition, be in good academic standing with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA, attend all mandatory meetings and rehearsals and not turn 25 years old during the year of service.

Moore has a simple message for anyone considering entering this year’s competition: “Pursue it. It’s a great opportunity to get your name out there, to connect with people, and to make a difference. You never know who you may connect with by winning or participating that may open up the door for you down the road”.

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