Cedric Gathings to serve as new MCC vice president for engagement
Instilled with the passion of working with community college students, Okolona native Cedric Gathings will officially begin his role as vice president for engagement at Meridian Community College on Aug. 12.
MCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner announced the appointment last week, noting he was excited for Gathings joining the College staff. “In addition to student services, Cedric will also have responsibilities related to diversity, community outreach, leadership development, and campus safety,” he said.
Gathings said coming to MCC will allow him to return to the arena of working with student success and student development.
As a veteran higher education administrator, Gathings comes to MCC from Mississippi State University’s Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President as director of strategic planning and implementation. He also served as the associate dean of instruction at East Mississippi Community College and was vice president for student affairs at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
While he was in West Virginia, his family experienced a loss in Mississippi, and he returned to his home state two years ago.
Gathings identifies with the community college student; he is a graduate of Northeast Mississippi Community College. “As a first-generation college student, there were a lot of things I didn’t know, didn’t understand. I see this as an opportunity to serve the community and to give back, be a good support system for those students who come and may have some anxiety or some reluctance of being here.”
He noted, “we all have a responsibility to recruit students and connect them to the appropriate campus resources because we want all students to feel welcome and receive the necessary tools to be successful. Throughout my experiences, I have seen the more engaged and connected students have a more fulfilling academic experience. And we want our students to be prepared for life beyond MCC.”
Providing opportunities for students is paramount for Gathings. “Everything centers around the student and the student’s experience.
“We have the opportunity to change students’ lives forever,” he said.
Gathings added, “I consider myself to be a servant leader with the understanding that sometimes you have to give up a little bit of who you are to help people see who they are.”
In addition to his associate’s degree from Northeast Mississippi Community College, Gathings holds a bachelor’s degree in social science and a master’s degree in sociology, both from Delta State University. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in higher education from Concordia University. He and his wife, Kimberly Taylor-Gathings, live in Columbus and have three children, CJ, 14, Chase, 12, and Cayleigh, 4.