Meridian Star

Local News

March 22, 2014

Young, Dulaney centers dedicated at MCC

JACKSON —     "Second chances" was the oft-repeated catch phrase heard at Friday's dedication program for two of Meridian Community College's newest additions: the Ralph E. Young Jr. Center for Adult Education and the Tommy E. Dulaney Center.

    The buildings are named for two longtime MCC Board of Trustees members and respected Meridian businessmen – both known for their commitment to offering second chances to others through education.

    "These gentlemen have served MCC longer as trustees than anyone in the 76-year history of this institution ... They haven't just served long, they have served well," said MCC President Dr. Scott Elliott.

    "Over the past 30 years, they have provided leadership and support that has witnessed this institution evolve from a municipal junior college, to a comprehensive community college having a regional impact in the East Mississippi/West Alabama area."

    The Dulaney Center provides the college and community a spacious multi-media-equipped facility used for a variety of purposes, including graduation exercises and conferences.

    The Young Center for Adult Education has a more defined purpose: adult basic education.

    "This building will perpetuate the mission of Meridian Community College, which is to improve the quality of life for our community and our region," said Barbara Jones, MCC's vice president of operations.

    "Started in the early 1960's, MCC's ABE/GED program has produced graduates who have become nurses, administrators, businessmen, ministers and, most of all, better parents who now help and encourage their own children to be better students," Jones said.

    Continuing in the "second chances" vein, Mayor Percy Bland praised the ABE/GED program for offering hope to those individuals who may sometimes feel like the underdog.

    "Our community is like every municipality in America in that some of our fellow citizens, for whatever reason, missed out on the opportunity to complete their high school education and obtain the literary skills that will qualify them for bigger and better employment opportunities, and to enjoy a higher standard of living," Bland said. "To have a state-of-the-art Adult Basic Education Center like this one in our community, representing significant progress on this important issue, this facility will be a place where all people can enjoy a second chance at a better life – educationally speaking and socially speaking."

    Eloise Richardson, state director of ABE/GED program, commended MCC for its longtime commitment to adult education.

    "Meridian Community College has been very instrumental in the state all these years in the Adult-Ed arena. For the last eight to 10 years, they have served between 600-800 adult students each year," Richardson said. "Those are students who, for whatever reason, couldn't or didn't graduate from high school and they had to leave. They came back (here) for their second chance."

    Elliott said the Ralph E. Young Jr. Center for Adult Education not only is a second chance facility, but also a third chance facility which offers programs such as GED preparation classes for free.

    "It's right here folks, and it's free. All we've got to do is get our people through these doors to take advantage of the great opportunity that we have here," he said.

    Young and Dulaney were presented plaques bearing photographs of their buildings to commemorate the occasion.

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