January was a good month to celebrate milestones for both me and Hinds Community College. Both Hinds and I are celebrating anniversaries. I’ve been at Hinds 10 years, as of Jan. 8. But the college is celebrating something much bigger and more important all throughout 2017 – our Centennial!
The college has been here educating people for 100 years. I have been here 1/10 of that time—a very minor player on a great big stage.
To get our Centennial celebration off on the right note, we started with the spring Convocation that all employees were invited to. The unofficial theme was “We Are Family,” and anyone who has worked at Hinds Community College for any length of time knows that is the case.
Earlier this week I took new Utica Campus Public Relations Coordinator Evelyn Stewart to Fountain Hall, gave her the tour and introduced her around. Jackie Jackson, who works in the Advancement office, got up and hugged her and said, “Welcome to the family.” That’s who we are: family. Evelyn, by the way, already knew about the Hinds family atmosphere because she is a graduate.
Before I came to Hinds 10 years ago, I was a newspaper reporter. I am still a news junkie. More and more, I see news stories documenting the struggles of folks all across the country who are trying to figure out how to make a living in small town or rural America. They love where they live and they don’t want to move.
There are no simple answers, but Hinds Community College and other colleges like ours are certainly part of the answer. We offer low-cost, close-to-home education options. We have academics for those who want to move on to a four-year college and get a bachelor’s degree or more. If all goes well, I will finish a master’s degree in theological studies in May. I took my prerequisites for the program at Hinds.
We have great career-technical programs for folks who want to learn a skill and get to work quickly. We have healthcare programs, industrial maintenance, landscape technology, truck driving, veterinary technology, graphic design, and the list goes on and on. We have great scholarship opportunities for those who can’t afford even our reasonable tuition. The deadline for a Hinds Community College Foundation Scholarship is Feb. 15.
For 100 years, Hinds Community College has been meeting people where they are and giving them the skills they need to meet their goals. We change peoples’ lives.
At our “We Are Family” Centennial Convocation on Jan. 3, we took a photo of many of the people who helped plan the event, led by Jackie Granberry and Colleen Hartfield. I was proud to be able to stand smack in the middle of that photo with a lot of other members of our family.
Happy 100th, Hinds Community College. Rock on. Here’s to 100 more years of Community Inspired Service.