Marcus Moore thrives on telling people why he loves the University of Montevallo.

“I’m just really happy to be here,” he says, a smile spreading across his face. “I love being here. I love what it has to offer.”

The upbeat, 23-year-old senior communication studies major had an extra dose of enthusiasm on a sunny spring morning in May, after his last exam of the semester was completed. Even without the end-of-finals euphoria, however, Marcus’s penchant for putting into words his appreciation for the place he’s called home since 2012 is one reason the Irondale native excels at making the new students he leads on campus tours feel like they’re at home, too.

His work as a Montevallo Maven – an official campus tour guide – led to Marcus being named the 2018 UM Student Employee of the Year, an honor bestowed upon those who display exceptional work ethic and professionalism. He didn’t know about the award or that he was nominated for it by the UM Admissions Office until Manager of Student Employment Mark Bolton made the announcement at what Marcus thought was just another Maven pre-tour meeting.

“I was very thrilled and shocked at the same time,” Marcus says. “Ultimately, I’m very glad and grateful for it. It made me just appreciate working with the Admissions Office even more, knowing they appreciate me.”

He received a plaque and $500 check at a celebratory luncheon. But aside from the award and its perks, Marcus has gained something else from being a Maven: a clearer understanding of his talents and interests, along with the realization he could flourish in a different area of study.

“Being a Maven helped spark an interest in changing my major to communications studies last spring,” he says. “I feel like it has prepared me to do a lot of things as far as career interests. My dream job is to work for GQ magazine. I want a position where I can do something I like and make the most positive impact as possible.”

Marcus has been singing and performing since the fourth grade, so his initial college plans were a natural fit. He started out as a music major, interning at Montevallo First Baptist Church and leading worship. He received a scholarship to sing with the University of Montevallo Concert Choir.

His first time on an airplane was travelling overseas with the choir for the European Choir Tour, an experience both “beautiful and breathtaking” for him. “I felt very honored that I was able to go. The fact that I got to do something that I love doing with people that I love in such a foreign place was spectacular and something I will never forget. Being in choir is an experience I will forever be grateful for.”

After college, he plans to help with leading worship at his home church, the Church of the Highlands Grants Mill location. “I am a very spiritual person, I’m a Christian, and I love worshipping. It is my passion. Sharing that passion with other people brings me so much joy, that I can do it and represent Christ as I do it.”

As a proud Gold, Marcus has been a cast member of the Gold Side’s College Night shows and has held various cabinet positions. He plans to complete his senior seminar this fall and walk at graduation in May 2019 so he can be at Montevallo for the centennial celebration of College Night in February.

In addition to College Night and Montevallo Mavens, Marcus has served as a campus orientation leader and a drama leader at Baptist Christian Ministries. He’s preparing to start a campus organization in the fall called the Esquire Club, a faith-based character development club for young men at Montevallo. “I feel like it’s important to stick together as men on campus,” he says. “It’s important for us to learn how to work with people with different backgrounds, how to network, be professional and focus on building character. I think that can truly make a difference here on campus and beyond.”

Whether he goes on to work for GQ, works for his college alma mater or lands a position somewhere else, Marcus wants to collaborate with others, which he has done in a professional capacity since he became a student employee his sophomore year.

“Wherever I end up, I look forward to working with people. I love working with people,” he says. “I just want to thank God for this award and the opportunity to be at such a beautiful institution where I can learn so much about myself and pick up so much knowledge in general.”

Plenty of people at Montevallo will vouch for Marcus’s ability to lead with kindness, sincerity and compassion.

“Marcus has worked for the Admissions Office at the University of Montevallo as a student worker and campus tour guide for five years,” Director of Admissions Audrey Crawford says. “From giving impromptu campus tours on holidays to spending all summer in our office giving tours in the Alabama heat, he always goes above and beyond what is asked of him. Last year, our staff selected him to be our head tour guide, giving him some added responsibility. Marcus is one of those students who you will always remember as making a difference in the lives of prospective UM students. He truly is one of a kind.”

Admissions Counselor Haley Smith called Marcus an “amazing asset” to Montevallo. “He offers a premier college experience to our prospective students when giving a tour and is constantly praised by the families for his outstanding knowledge of our university. I couldn’t be more proud to have him as a student worker and a member of our team.”

If anything speaks most to his character and heart for others, it’s Marcus’s admission that if he ever became extremely wealthy, he would open an orphanage or a community school for children of lower income families who might not have stable home environments.

Marcus credits his parents with teaching him how to work hard and do his best. As a soon-to-be college graduate, he operates by a “life philosophy” that’s applicable to everyone: “Never trade your authenticity for approval, and stay true to who you are. I believe that everyone is made differently in unique ways to stand out to help other people. Never trade who you are for the approval of others.”