Stephen Donnell, 47, of Brandon went from having his own trucking business to becoming a nurse. He graduated from Hinds Community College on July 30 with an Associate Degree in Nursing and has a job lined up at the Veteran’s Administration in Jackson.
“I always wanted to be a nurse. I finally stopped life to take time to go to school,” he said.
His wife and three kids “were all for it. They’re glad it’s over with but they were supportive.”
He was among 304 Hinds Community College graduates at two ceremonies on Thursday July 30 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. Hinds Community College conferred 443 degrees and certificates. Some graduates received more than one credential.
Of the total number of graduates, 23 are graduating summa cum laude, which is a perfect 4.0 grade point average; 42 are graduating magna cum laude, which is a 3.60 to 3.99 grade point average and 73 are graduating cum laude, which is a 3.20 to 3.59 grade point average.
“Never before in the history of our world has education been more important than it is today. It provides an opportunity for possibly the first job, the beginning of a career,” said Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse. “For others, it may mean a new start for a better life, and for others the first step toward a baccalaureate degree. Education is real important today. In fact 80 percent of all the jobs that are going to be available in the future require at least a high school diploma and some degree of higher education, not necessarily a baccalaureate.”
Dr. Bryan Lantrip, a Yazoo City native, Jackson physician and medical director of the college’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program, spoke on “Life Lessons” for the nursing and allied health ceremony.
Lantrip said he grew up in a family that believed in hugging. He told graduates sometimes the human touch “can go a long way.”
“When seeking advice or treatment for health issues, patients are uncertain, anxious, even scared. Simple verbal reassurance can help alleviate many of these feelings, but the extra effort to place your hand onto a patient’s forearm or forehead can be more comforting in those times of uncertainty,” he said. “It can be a very powerful nonverbal way of saying, ‘I care’ or ‘I know you are frightened or worried.’ ”
He also said health care professionals should ask themselves, “What would you do if this patient were your Momma?”
“Remember that you are taking care of someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, spouse or whoever,” he said. “Remember that they are relying on you to provide them the best care, no matter who they are.”
Lantrip has been a staff radiologist with Lakeland Radiologists, PA since 2002 and has served as medical director of the sonography program at Hinds since 2012.
He earned a medical doctorate from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in May 1991 and holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the university in biological sciences and pharmacy. His certifications are with the American Board of Diagnostic Radiology and the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Rankin County schools Superintendent Dr. Lynn Weathersby, president of the Hinds Community College Board of Trustees, spoke to academic, career and technical graduates at 2 p.m.
Weathersby, a Florence native, is a four-term superintendent of the Rankin County School District and member of the Hinds Community College Board of Trustees since 2000.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, a master’s from Mississippi College and a doctorate from Mississippi State University. Previously, he earned an associate’s degree from Hinds Community College.
George Thrash, retired district locksmith and coordinator of janitorial services, was the grand marshal and mace bearer.
As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with more than 170 academic, career and technical programs. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolled nearly 12,000 credit students in fall 2014. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.