Jill Stevens named 2024 Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year

Published 4:11 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Jill Stevens was none the wiser when she arrived at the Oxford Conference Center for the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting Luncheon. She was there to eat some lunch and watch local business owners and citizens win awards.

But then she saw family members sitting at her table and was a little confused. However, she never expected to hear her name called for an award – but it was.

The 2023 Citizen of the Year winner LaVera Hodges congratulates Jill Stevens, the 2024 Citizen of the Year during the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting Luncheon. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

Stevens was awarded the 2024 Citizen of the Year for volunteering for Love Packs and other community and school nonprofits and organizations.

Email newsletter signup

“Her commitment to serving others is truly inspiring. She goes above and beyond to support the students of our district, particularly those who may be facing food insecurity. Her involvement in the Love Packs program, which ensures students have access to nutritional meals over the weekend, is just one example of her tireless efforts to make a positive impact in the lives of others,” stated a letter nominating Stevens for the award.

Stevens said she was humbled by the award.

“I have loved this city and the university since the day I stepped foot here in 1999 and it has loved me back so well,” Stevens said.

Since 1972, the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce has sought to recognize individuals who have made positive contributions to Oxford, Lafayette County and the University of Mississippi as Citizen of the Year.

Outgoing Chairman of the Board Jason Plunk said 2023-2024 was a record-breaking year for the chamber going from a budget last year of $475,000 to $557,000 for the upcoming fiscal year.

The chamber performed 59 ribbon-cutting ceremonies and grew from 715 members in May 2023 to currently having 780 members.

Chamber president and CEO Pam Swain thanked the Chamber sponsors of Wednesday’s lunch and Thursday’s Red Carpet Gala being held at Castle Hill. She talked about the Chamber rebranding, with a new logo, focusing more on the chamber’s social media sites and renovations to the Chamber of Commerce building.

Other awards given out at the luncheon were:

  • Ambassador of the Year: Collin Hill
  • Outstanding Service Award: Jean and Randy Abrams with Castle Hill
  • Inaugural Small Business of the Year Award: Michelle Rounsaville with My Michelle’s
  • Inaugural Large Business of the Year Award: Mayor Robyn Tannehill and the city of Oxford
  • Oxford/Lafayette County Business Icon Award: Neilson’s Department Store

During the meeting, Plunk passed the “gavel” to incoming 2024-2025 chairman Tony Deal.