MERIDIAN — Special to The Star
Five individuals who have distinguished themselves in business and industry and public service careers will be added to Meridian Community College’s “Highest Flying Eagles Hall of Fame” Monday afternoon to kick off MCC’s homecoming week activities.
Dr. Kim Benton, Kathy Brookshire, Dustin Markham, Joe McCraney and Mark Porter will be inducted into the Hall to highlight the college’s annual alumni reception, which will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the Dulaney Room, Webb Hall.
Benton, Miss. chief deputy superintendent of schools, and Brookshire, executive director of the MCC Foundation, have amassed impressive careers in the field of public education. Markham, a local attorney, and McCraney are public servants as a Meridian city councilman, and Lauderdale County administrator, respectively, while Porter logged a highly successful career in the insurance industry.
“Monday will be a proud day for the college,” said Dr. Scott Elliott, MCC president. “It is always one of the highlights of the school year to recognize alumni who have brought honor to not only themselves, but to the college as well, through their community service and success in their various fields. All of these honorees represent what we hope can happen for any student associated with MCC – that they will go forth and do exceedingly well, professionally and personally.”
Monday’s inductees will join a list of similarly successful people who have been so honored in past years. They include (in no particular order) Dr. Bill Scaggs, MCC president emeritus; Tommy Dulaney, Lou Weddington Hart, Ralph E. Young, Jr., C.D. Smith, Mark McPhail, Wallace Strickland, Jacquelyn Hogan, Gerry Purvis, Tony Pompelia, Barbara Jones, Judge Veldore Young, Sheriff Billy Sollie, Terry Williams, Dr. Tommy McDonald, Joe Charles Sanders, Chief Phillip Martin, Ronnie Miller, Larry Love, Sen. Videt Carmichael, Frank Charles Winstead, Jamie Cater, B.B. Archer, Donnie Massey, Dr. Randy Nance, Dr. Ricardo Gillispie, Dr. Leigh White, Gary Wilkinson, Sylvia Autry, David Little, Ed Skipper, Rep. Norma Bourdeaux, Richard Kelly, Dr. Clarence Roberts, Leslie Usher, E.M. “Hoot” Gipson, Jack Shank, Gene Goldman, Eddie Holladay, Bud Thompson, Pam Tvarkunas, Dr. David Batarseh, Von Burt, Dr. Jennifer Avara-Lott, Syria Sturdivant, Joyce Frank, Roscoe Jones and Robert Sanford.
In addition to the Hall of Fame ceremonies, the college will also induct four persons into its “Talon Club,” consisting of persons who have logged 30 years of service to the institution. Those honorees are Tommy Dulaney, Ralph Young, Rita McClure and J.T. Brazil (posthumously). Dulaney and Young will be the first members of the MCC Board of Trustees to qualify for Talon Club status. Each new member receives a commemorative medallion.
“When I look every year at the number of photographs in the Dulaney Room of our Talon Club members,” Elliott said, “I just find it remarkable that so many people have devoted so many years of service to the college. I sincerely believe that kind of continuity of service has been one of the things that has caused MCC to excel throughout the years in meeting its mission.”
Also during Monday’s program, the college will conduct its annual “tolling of the bells” in remembering those former employees who has passed over the last year.
“The tolling of the bells is kind of a sad moment, but then again, it is well that we pause to remember those who have made contributions to the success of MCC over the years,” Elliott said. “They are a part of what we like to call the MCC family.”
Music for the event will be provided by MCC’s Dimensions Show Choir, under the direction of Twyla Hurst and Tammy Miles.