PEARL – Barbara Evans and Lattie Erving didn’t know each other before Friday, but already had a lifetime of work experience under their respective belts when they decided to pursue college degrees.
“I’d always wanted to go to culinary school, so I said why not?” said Evans, 64, of Vicksburg, dressed in her cap and gown accented with marks of honors. The self-described retired cook now has a credential to go with her years spent in the kitchen.
Erving, 62, Jackson, had retired years ago from factory work but always yearned for a chance to earn a college degree – something that seemed out of reach when she was growing up.
“I didn’t have an opportunity to go to college years ago,” Erving said. “I want to study social work with my degree.”
Both were among those who graduated from Hinds Community College over two days of ceremonies Friday and Sunday.
Students received 1,534 degrees and certificates, meaning some graduates received more than one credential. Of that number, almost 800 chose to participate in one of the three ceremonies on Friday at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus in Pearl or a Sunday ceremony at the Utica Campus.
Also earning a long-awaited degree was April Galjour, 55, of Jackson, who returned to school to pursue new skills in a changing economy.
“I was laid off the nonprofit I was working for, and I didn’t know anything about computers,” Galjour said. “Even small jobs nowadays, you have to keep up with that. I’m just delighted I was able to come back at my age.”
Speaking at the 11 a.m. ceremony was state Sen. Briggs Hopson III, of Vicksburg.
“You’re receiving a piece of paper that is your license to a successful career,” Hopson told graduates. “It will make you competitive in the marketplace. You’re ready to go out right now and begin your careers.
“I have many friends who’ve gotten their associate’s degree and gone on to do incredibly well in their professions. They make good livings, are able to care for their families, built careers and established a nest egg.”
Of all graduates, 97 achieved summa cum laude, a 4.0 grade point average; 165 achieved magna cum laude, 3.6 to 3.99 GPA and 255 achieved cum laude, 3.2 to 3.59.
“This is a time we as educators enjoy celebrating,” said Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse. He noted that student diplomas this year will include a gold seal commemorating the college’s 100th anniversary. Hinds opened in 1917 and is celebrating the Centennial with a host of activities throughout the calendar year.
[tweetable alt=””]Students return to school, thrive, graduate from Hinds CC[/tweetable]
Danny Barrett Jr. is a 19-year journalist with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. Barrett covered county government and business at The Vicksburg Post for 10 years and came to Hinds Community College in 2015.