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Chemistry Major from Zimbabwe Crowned Mr. Lander 2022

Kayden Douglas, left, president of Lander University’s Panhellenic Council, presents Nathan Mugande with his Mr. Lander 2022 award as he is crowned by Dennis Perry Jr., Mr. Lander 2020. Photo by Deb Crenshaw-Nygro

A popular physics effect, discovered by a Swiss mathematician and physicist, was the impetus for a talent presentation by Nathan Mugande, the newly crowned Mr. Lander 2022.

Mugande brought his love for science to the stage in a demonstration of Bernoulli’s principle, which helps explain how objects, heavier than air, can fly. The principle, important in understanding fluid dynamics, is named for Daniel Bernoulli and was published in 1738 in the book, “Hydrodynamics.”

“Science has been my talent for a long time; hence, what I would do in front of people wasn’t unexpected,” said Mugande, of Harare, Zimbabwe.

The sophomore chemistry major, who came to Lander through a scholarship from the Dr. Douglas and Mrs. Jean Mufuka Scholars program, said. “I used the popular physics effect, called Bernoulli’s principle, for my talent. I want to make science more accessible to people and to show them how interesting it can be.”

The experiment, which featured Mugande wearing a white lab coat, led to large puffs of air rings being dispersed across the dark stage, much to the delight of the audience.

The competition, sponsored by Lander’s Panhellenic Council, featured five other contestants, including senior political science major, Isaiah Howansky, of Westminster; Alan Corona, of Greenwood, a freshman biology major; Chandler Harris, a senior mass communications major, from Spartanburg; Cullen Barber, of Simpsonville, a sophomore elementary education major, and junior political science major, Nathan Seigler, of Lexington.

“It meant so much to us to be able to bring back the Mr. Lander Pageant,” said Kayden Douglas, president of Lander’s Panhellenic Council. “The pandemic prevented us from having the pageant last year, so it was great to be able to hold the competition again. It’s a way that we can raise money to benefit people in our community.”

Funds from the pageant will benefit local charities, she said.

Dennis Perry Jr., Mr. Lander 2020, presented Mugande with a golden crown. A sophomore from Barnwell, Perry is a music performance major. He wants to travel the world as a singer and return to South Carolina to conduct music and education workshops for young people. “It’s important for me to give back to the community and to help others achieve their goals.”

Other awards in the competition went to Seigler, who earned the People’s Choice award and was the first runner-up. Harris was named second runner-up.

Mugande said it is an honor to be a student at Lander. “Growing up in Zimbabwe, a scholarship like the Mufuka Scholarship, is something I could only dream of. It's an opportunity that has changed my life unimaginably. I had set specific goals for my life, and I had an idea of who I wanted to be, but Lander proved me wrong. Lander has shown me that I was making myself mediocre, and I can be twice as much as I ever imagined. At Lander, I have learned to pursue incredible things.”

A chemistry and biology tutor, Mugande is a Presidential Ambassador and an organic chemistry lab assistant. His academic achievements have earned him President’s List status at Lander. His goal is to attend medical school.

As Mr. Lander, Mugande would like to improve student life “by being a bridge” to connect faculty and students. He also wants to encourage students to be more involved in campus activities and begin a volunteer program with Self Regional Medical Center.

“I would like to be a role model through maintaining my grades, helping other students and continuing what I have been doing around campus,” he said.