STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - One student at Mississippi State University says he has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.
Donald "Field" Brown was named a Rhodes Scholar, one of only 32 in the entire country.
For Brown, reading literature was always second nature. "Growing up, I always loved reading," he said. "I read in high school. I loved literature growing up."
But it was one book that would change the course of his life. His father read "To Kill a Mockingbird," and Brown noticed the emotions it created.
"I realized then that books affect people, and more over, it affects societies and laws within those societies," Brown said. "That book was really a turning point when I realized I might want to study this on a formal level."
And that's exactly what he did. Brown is a senior English Literature and Philosophy double major at MSU and recently received the Rhodes Scholarship, the first time a MSU students has accomplished in over 100 years.
"I feel amazing," Brown said. "I haven't yet processed it because so many things are being thrown at me. It's just wild. I'm really thankful."
Brown is actively involved in MSU's Shackouls Honors College, and Dean Chris Snyder said he's grateful to have had the opportunity of mentoring Brown.
"Field is a young man with great foundation with his family and the community," Snyder said. "He is a young man with humility, and all of that balances out a tremendous intellect."
The scholarship will pay for Brown to attend University of Oxford in England for his graduate degree.
MSU President Mark Keenum said he wasn't surprised to hear Brown received the prestigious award.
"I could tell just by being around him in my class that he was an exceptionally bright, talented, inquisitive individual," Keenum said. "He's the type of person that searches for knowledge."
Browns said Oxford will be a little different from his hometown of Vicksburg, but he said even his parents are officially on board.
"It's pretty funny because my mom said she'd never fly oversees," Brown joked. "I talked to her yesterday, and she said she's getting a passport ready, so they're excited."
As he looks back, Brown said he credits MSU for molding him into the student he has become.
"I've never felt like I was a 'smart guy,'" Brown said. "I always felt like I was the average guy in the room. Learning from other students, learning from the professors and meeting with professors during office hours combined really make it what it is now. It's a big honor."