Meridian Star

May 15, 2013

Scholarship serves to help others reach their goal

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

     As an alumnus of Meridian Community College, the Rev. George Pugh wanted to give back to his alma mater.

     The 68-year-old Pugh, who is now a pastor in Marion, said his connection to the College reached back to 1961 and 62 when it was then known as the 13th and 14th grades of Meridian High School. He left school, joined the military, returned to MCC and earned his associate degree in marketing.

     Life’s travels sent him east to Georgia to serve in the hospital industry; Pugh received his master’s degree in speech from Auburn University and later studied at Emory and entered the ministry. He returned home and landed a part-time job teaching at the College.

     So when he called the College and talked to Mark Chandler, MCC’s Hotel/Restaurant Management Technology Program coordinator, he explained how he wanted to help others.

     And it’s something he’s encouraging former MCCers to do as well.  “I like helping people out … guess that’s a part of being a minister,” Pugh said. He noted he would encourage others to consider contributions to scholarships –not only give back but also to lift others up.

     One such individual is MCC sophomore Rachel N. Wilson, who will be graduating this week from the Hotel/Restaurant Management Technology Program. She received a scholarship that Pugh funded.

     The 19-year-old Boligee, Ala., resident said she was offered a job in Florida but decided to get more experience in the restaurant industry. “Meridian Community College had the best hotel and restaurant management program around.”

     She has gained the experience necessary to land her a full time job that’s waiting on her when she receives her degree – managing a seafood restaurant in Panama City, Fla.

     When asked what the program has taught her, Wilson has one answer: “everything.” She said the work seems like second-nature to her. “I prefer the restaurant side,” she said of her studies in the program. “I’ve done work in both, but I keep going back to the restaurant side.”

     “We’re very happy that Rev. Pugh wanted to give the scholarship,” said Chandler. He added that at times getting a scholarship makes the difference in whether student stays in school or not.

     Chandler added, “Rachel is very deserving. She’s one of the top-notch students in our program. She excels in every area of Hotel/Restaurant Management Technology.”