Late Hinds Community College alumnus Louis Gene Strickland (1947) of Brandon received numerous recognitions for his service to Hinds Community College during his lifetime. Now, the former Hinds athlete has a scholarship endowed in his name by family and friends.
The Louis Gene Strickland Memorial Endowed Scholarship gives special preference to Hinds students who are from Rankin County or who are interested in aviation. Strickland served Hinds as a member of the Hinds Community College Foundation Board, Hinds Alumni Association and the Rankin County Alumni Chapter. Strickland was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1986 and honored as the 1992 Hinds Community College Alumnus of the Year.
He later reflected on his time at Hinds with these sentiments: “I fell in love with the place. Hinds had a tremendous influence on my life. It was very unusual for anyone in my community to go to college … and I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to go to Hinds.”
One of seven children from a family in Yazoo County, Strickland graduated from high school at Hinds and returned as a college student on a football scholarship after having entered the U.S. Air Force at age 18.
During his time at Hinds, he was recognized as an All-State center. He treasured the profound impact that Hinds Community College coach Jobie Harris had on his life and considered him not only a teacher and coach but a father figure. He completed his degree and college football career as a student at Delta State University.
Strickland “was a devoted Christ follower who lived daily to glorify God,” said Stephanie Strickland Smith, one of his three daughters. “His leadership as a teacher in the classroom, coach on the football field, director in the workplace and elder in the church had life-changing impact on many in the community.
“This scholarship is endowed in memory of the 64 years lived by Louis Gene Strickland and in honor of the God he served who lives forever,” she said.
He began his professional career as a teacher and coach at Picayune High School. He spent nine years as the head football coach at Brandon High, and the high school football field is named for him. He concluded his coaching career by winning the Little Dixie Championship.
He devoted the next 24 years of his career counseling, teaching and directing rehabilitation programs for the blind in Mississippi. He was instrumental in establishing the Addie McBryde Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Jackson where he served as director from 1972 until his 1990 retirement. The Center was recognized worldwide as a model for educating and equipping the blind to live productive lives.
Strickland had a lifelong love of aviation and enjoyed piloting his Cessna and listening to live ATC transmissions on his radio in the evenings. His greatest fulfillment, however, came from helping other people – whether sharing vegetables from his garden or through his service with the Brandon Lions Club, Smith said.
He and his wife, Bonnie Jean, had three daughters – the late Sharon Cannon, Susan Crawford and Stephanie Smith.The deadline to apply for the Louis Gene Strickland Scholarship at Hinds CC is Feb. 15.
Scholarships are awarded on the basis of a student’s desire for achievement, involvement in extracurricular activities, financial need, grades and letters of recommendation.
For more information about establishing a scholarship at Hinds Community College, contact Jackie Granberry, 601.857.3630, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hinds Community College is celebrating its 100th year of Community Inspired Service in 2017. Hinds opened in September 1917 first as an agricultural high school and admitted college students for the first time in 1922, with the first class graduating in 1927. In 1982 Hinds Junior College and Utica Junior College merged, creating the Hinds Community College District. Today, as Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution with six locations. Hinds offers quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.