Not everyone’s boss makes it to their college graduation, but Lasonia Elliott of Jackson got to see hers on the front row at Hinds Community College on May 16.
Elliott, who is an administrative assistant for Jackson State University President Dr. William Bynum, said he is supportive of her continuing her education.
“He encouraged me,” Elliott said. “I almost started crying. It was so emotional.”
Bynum said he was happy to see Elliott graduate. “She put the graduation invitation on my desk. I wanted to be here for her,” Bynum said.
Elliott plans to continue her education at Jackson State University and earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Likewise, Jervon Harris of Brandon plans to continue her education at Jackson State University. She plans to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology. “I see there is a great need for psychologists,” Harris said.
Throughout five different ceremonies spanning three days, Hinds is awarding a total of 1,706 credentials to 1,254 graduates, with some graduates receiving more than one credential.
Of the spring graduates, 260 achieved cum laude, 3.2 to 3.59 grade point average; 197 achieved magna cum laude, 3.6 to 3.99 GPA and 126 achieved summa cum laude, 4.0 grade point average.
Everett Craft of Jackson received an honor cord for graduating cum laude. Everett, 54, is an employee at Mississippi Department of Transportation. He already earned one degree from Hinds and earned his second on May 16, this one in electromechanical technology. “I plan to retire and work somewhere else,” he said.
Dr. Theresa Hamilton, who is retiring as vice president, was the speaker for three ceremonies on Thursday, May 16.
“Your success is our success. We hope we have prepared you for your next step, whether it be a job or more education. We hope that this education and those whom you have met along the way have helped you to become a better person,” Hamilton said. “We hope we have helped you become a more concerned, tolerant and compassionate person. We hope we have helped you to become a leader who will measure your success not by what you gain, but by how much you will help others.”
Hamilton noted that every degree earned is a potential for more earnings and better life satisfaction.
“The Lumina Foundation reports that the difference in earnings for those who received an associate degree over those with a high school diploma is over a quarter of a million dollars, $12,000 a year, and it increases with each degree earned,” she said.
Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse told graduates and their families that “the power of education is that it drives our vision for a better life. And, while the graduates who sit upon this stage today represent a diverse set of circumstances, they are connected by their belief that a community college education is a step up to a broader opportunity to build a better life and to contribute to the communities we live in.”
As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolls about 12,000 students each fall semester. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.
Cathy Hayden is a 30-year career journalist with a bachelor's degree in journalism and English from the University of Mississippi and a master of theological studies from Spring Hill College in Mobile. Hayden, who covered education at The Clarion-Ledger for 17 years, came to Hinds Community College in January 2007.