I’ve learned a lot about the history of the Utica Campus in covering events over the past several weeks. Two weeks ago, Founder’s Week was observed, with events taking place each day, reminding students and staff of the legacy of William H. Holtzclaw.
Holtzclaw founded the Utica Normal and Industrial Institute for the Training of Colored Young Men and Women in 1903, which would later become Utica Junior College, and currently Hinds Community College Utica Campus.
Monday, the groundbreaking of the agricultural greenhouse took place, with students and staff gathered around the site where the greenhouse will be built. Agriculture Instructor Justin Washington expressed his excitement about the Utica Campus "going back to the land" and growing fresh fruits and vegetables in the structure.
Tuesday, Ballet Magnificat of Jackson performed in the morning, the Wellness Center hosted a health fair in the afternoon, and Dr. Bobby Cooper, Utica Campus Music Department Director led Wednesday night Bible study for students and staff.
Wednesday’s events included the 113th Founder’s Day program in the morning and a performance by the Montage Dancers that evening. Alumnae Dr. Linda K. Laws, the keynote speaker, explained what the Utica Campus and Holtzclaw’s legacy meant to her.
Thursday was celebrated with an art demonstration by Jason Walker, an incredibly talented artist from right here in Utica. Walker gave students a lesson on how to apply heat to copper to make structures.
To end Founder’s Week 2016, the Utica Campus hosted the Vice President’s Scholarship and Hall of Honors Gala. This event sought to raise scholarship dollars for deserving Utica Campus students. There were 12 categories of honorees who have given continued support and contributions to the Utica campus. Among these honorees were Dr. Bobby G. Cooper, Mr. Delmar C. Stamps, Lt. Col. Paul and Dorthene Willis, Mr. and Mrs. James and Rebecca Drake, Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan, U.S. Attorney General Gregory K. Davis, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, Pastor Phillip A. Burks, Dr. Lacey M. Reynolds, Dr. George Barnes, and posthumous honorees, Mr. William H. Holtzclaw and Mr. Jimmy Harris.
Holtzclaw helped many students to lead successful lives and careers and left behind a legacy and history rich with fine arts and agricultural efforts. This was my first Founder’s Week on the Utica Campus, and it greatly exceeded my expectations of upholding and continuing that legacy.