Senior integrated marketing and communications major Cade Slaughter was named Mr. Ole Miss last week. Slaughter, a native of Hattiesburg, is the first member of his family to attend the university, though no one would tell you they were surprised he chose Ole Miss.
Slaughter’s father, though not an alumni university, raised him to be an Ole Miss football fan. When his father died during Slaughter’s senior year of high school, he knew that attending the university was something that he would have wanted.
“Once he passed away, it was like this is a hardship I’m going through, but in a way, he had always trained me for that next step and really instilled that love for Ole Miss in me, even though he didn’t go to school here,” Slaughter said.
Slaughter’s campaign for Mr. Ole Miss focused on the idea of the university being a home for its students. His campaign slogan was “This is Home,” and he wanted to emphasize the idea that the college experience and campus becomes a place that acts as a home away from home for many students, especially those in their first-year.
“Especially with my dad, it’s kind of an extension of what home had been for me for 18 years, coming from Hattiesburg and moving to Oxford,” Slaughter said. “But I think the cool idea of home is that it gets to look different for everybody.”
Around campus, Slaughter is known as a charismatic, engaging campus leader with a not-so-subtle affinity for Taylor Swift’s music; he even wrote an extensive album review of ‘Folklore’ for The Daily Mississippian. Slaughter describes himself as a people person and likes to be intentional in all of his interactions. He spends most of his free time playing tennis and being around his friends, but recently, he has taken up a new hobby.
“One thing people actually don’t know about me is that I’m an artist, which is kind of crazy,” Slaughter said. “Most people don’t associate me with that, but I spend a lot of time with myself and just watercoloring.”
Since the pandemic, Slaughter began painting more out of an abundance of free time and space that became available during quarantine.
“(I was) trying to keep up with a lot of friends who, quite literally, were spread across the country,” Slaughter said. “So I started watercoloring some comforting words and images of campus and other things and would mail them to people.”
The idea of the campus as “home” was important to Slaughter because so much of his college experience was based around family although he didn’t actually have any familial connection to the university. He said he wanted to emphasize to students that they have a unique opportunity to create a home for themselves at the university.
“This is really the first time in your life that your community and who you’re surrounded by is completely up to you,” Slaughter said. “You don’t have an authority or higher power dictating the way your life looks, and it’s a really cool idea that it’s completely up to you to decide what you’re home looks like.”