PEARL – A festive night of entertainment and fond memories Nov. 4 helped culminate the yearlong celebration of Hinds Community College’s Centennial.
Hosted by Gov. and Mrs. Phil Bryant, the event at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus showcased the best of the college’s talent and featured video clips of its evolution during its 100 Years of Community-Inspired Service.
Bryant, a 1975 Hinds graduate, shared his story of being a student at Hinds and being the first of his family to attend college, which he noted as a continuing part of the college’s mission for its students.
“We have the opportunity to help each and every one of them go to college,” he said. “What a remarkable opportunity it was for me in the 1970s. I owe Hinds so much that it’ll never be able to be returned. We cannot overemphasize how important this great community college has been to the state of Mississippi. Our graduates go all over the world. We find ourselves in remarkable places.”
Part of that story involved his meeting his wife, Deborah, on the Raymond Campus.
“While I was there, not only did I get a remarkable education, but I found a soulmate,” Bryant said, just before Deborah Bryant appeared on stage being serenaded by the Utica Campus Jubilee Singers with a rendition of “My Girl.”
Later, guests were treated to rousing performances by several student groups including the Hinds Hi-Steppers and the Hinds Jazz Band. A group of alumni performers sang the original composition “Dear Hinds,” composed especially for the Centennial by Hinds music instructor Tracy Crosby. The Montage Theatre of Dance performed a homage to popular songs and dances titled “Dancing through the Decades.”
The reception honored the achievements of the six presidents in the college’s 100 years of service, special emphasis on President George McLendon, President Dr. Robert Murrah Mayo and current President Dr. Clyde Muse, who is in his 40th year.
“The person who’s led this college for 40 years is probably the greatest that I’ve been around in my life,” said Larry Swales, president of the Hinds Community College Alumni Association and chancery clerk in Rankin County. “He gets the job done.”
During the program, Swales read a letter recognizing the college’s Centennial from U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, whose parents met at Hinds and for whom Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus is partially named.
Representing the student body during the program was Drew Shaw, a fourth-generation Hinds student attending the Raymond Campus.
“To say Hinds is a tradition in my family is an understatement,” Shaw said. “Not only have we all been students, but we have taken full advantage of all the opportunities that Hinds had to offer.”
Dr. Muse reflected on his own experiences as a community college student, at East Central Mississippi Community College, and on his 40 years leading Hinds. He thanked Jackie Granberry, executive director of the Hinds Community College Foundation – hired during Muse’s first year as president – for organizing a year’s worth of special events including the gala.
“I’ve enjoyed the last 40 years of being able to help individuals get an education and help them set some life goals and other things so important to people,” Muse said. “The Bible says if you want to be the greatest, be a servant. Hinds Community College offered me that opportunity to do this for about 40 years, and I thank you.”
A silent auction before the program included several custom-made and handcrafted items, a Chef’s Dinner for eight, a custom Christmas card design, a child’s playhouse, a fire pit, deer feeders and barbecue grills.
Invited guests included alumni, business partners, community leaders, employees and friends of the college. Proceeds from ticket sales went toward starting a Centennial Endowment for future needs of the college, including student scholarships.