SC State University’s ‘Mr. Junior’ has lenses on the present and his future

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SC State University’s ‘Mr. Junior’ has lenses on the present and his future

SC State junior Chris Leach is from Rock Hill, South Carolina.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — When Chris Leach looks at the world around him, he wants to capture that reality permanently.

The South Carolina State University junior business major has his focus on a career in finance, but he ultimately hopes to use both his business acumen and his love for photography to open his own photo studio.

“I do a lot of lifestyle and music photography,” Leach said. “Lifestyle is like everyday life, and I get a lot of shoots going into the city. For music, I go to a lot of concerts and get behind the scenes.

“I feel like I have a vision, so everything I see with my eye, I just feel like it has to be shown. I try to paint my style as realistic as possible.”

The 21-year-old also parlays his photography into his work as a student leader on campus. He is completing his term as SC State’s “Mr. Junior,” a traditional class leadership position at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The role means planning roundtable discussions and other events involving his peers.

“Because I’m a photographer, I like to do creative events where students can show off their creativity,” Leach said.

Being Mr. Junior also exchanging ideas with Mr. Juniors at other HBCUs.
“We try to collab — maybe do events together,” he said. “They tell us what they like to do, and we try to make it the best we can.”

Leach grew up in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he was introduced to the positive energy he found at SC State.

“There were a lot of alumni in the Rock Hill area, and a lot of people were mentioning SC State to me, so I had to go visit,” he said, adding that his first campus visit included a student cookout. “Everybody was positive, everybody was united, and that just felt like home. Everybody was open. They all spoke to me.

“Everyone was trying to make me feel like I was home and make me feel wanted here at school.”

And what would he say to a high school student looking for a university to call home?

“I would tell him he would love SC State,” Leach said. “He would not be bored. He’s going to get into a lot of things. He’s going to leave his comfort zone, but he’s still really going to feel comfortable here.”

SC State will return to full on-campus instruction next fall. It’s not too late to join Leach and other students. To apply for admission and/or schedule a campus tour, visit the university’s website at

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