MCCers celebrate, honor colleagues

Dr. Leia Hill presents Dr. Tom Huebner with the John Johnson Award. The MCC Foundation and MCC Faculty Staff Association hosted its end-of-the-year celebration recognizing and honoring colleagues. Meridian Community College congratulated its own at the MCC Foundation and MCC Faculty Staff Association End of the Year celebration. 

This year's festivities featured a breakfast followed by awards recognition program in the McCain Theater and a talk by MCC President Dr. Tom Huebner.  

Among the notable highlights were the announcements of the winners of the T.J. Harris, Dr. Clarence W. Roberts "Teacher of the Year," John A. Johnson, Holladay Family Professional Development, and the MCCer of the Month awards.  

"The MCC Foundation is very excited to host this again … and this is our chance to show how much you mean to us," said Dr. Leia Hill, vice president for institutional advancement and executive director of the MCC Foundation, as she addressed the McCain Theater audience of faculty, staff, and administration.  

The Holladay Family Professional Development Award, with a $2,500 stipend, provides professional development opportunities for College faculty and staff. Chandler Chance, biology instructor; Kristy Dickerson, Associate Degree Nursing Program instructor; and Whitney Stevens, financial aid director, received these awards. 

The MCC Foundation's Enrichment through Travel Awards, which are $2,500 each, were given to recipients to enrich their lives and further MCC's mission through travel. Recipients were Dr. Constance Bradley, Dr. Melanie Janelle Jones, and Dr. Vanessa Norman, ADN program instructors. 

JaWanda Huggins, biology instructor, was named the T.J. Harris Award recipient. This recognition spotlights the work of an MCC team member who has contributed beyond their regular job description to the community and College. Huggins holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master of science degree in biology from Mississippi College. She is also an ordained minister and church administrator of the First Apostolic Church. 

Receiving the John A. Johnson awards were MCC President Dr. Tom Huebner, Stacey Carlisle, Valerie Bishop, and Deborah Nettles. Carlisle is an information technology technician; Bishop is the dean of Institutional Effectiveness; and Nettles is a career and retention advisor. The Johnson Award comes with a $500  honorarium each, and recipients are nominated for their demonstrated enthusiasm for the community college mission, college spirit, commitment to service and job, and interest and participation in community and campus activities. 

The Dr. Clarence W. Roberts Outstanding Teacher Award celebrates outstanding work, innovative techniques, and service to the College and community of faculty, and a $500 gift is presented to each recipient. Recipients were Christena Brown-Bradley, Respiratory Care Practitioner Program coordinator and instructor; Dr. Angela Paige Pennington, director of dental programs, Dental Hygiene Program coordinator and instructor; and Oriona Walker, adult basic education instructor. 

Dr. Pennington joined the MCC faculty in 2015 and holds a bachelor of arts degree from Converse College and a doctor of dental medicine from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Brown-Bradley, an alumna of MCC with degrees in associate in arts and associate of applied science, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from UMMC and has a master’s degree from Mississippi State University. She began teaching at MCC in 2016 and transitioned to becoming a program coordinator in 2018. Walker taught full-time in the Adult Education division for 19 years and worked as a part-time instructor before 2003. 

The MCCers of the Month recipients were also applauded. Caleb Benson, a biology instructor, was recognized for the honor for April; Courtney Pitts, college outreach and communications specialist, was named for May.  

In continuing the tradition of recognizing employees for years of service to the College, service pins were presented during the celebration, too.

Receiving their five-year pin were Shaquita Alfonso, Terry Boler, Tony Boutwell, Bethany Bratu, Brown-Bradley, Matthew Carpenter, Laureta Chislom, Mychael Clymer, Willie Ruth Davis, Marjorie Dean, Brandon Dewease, Kristy Dickerson, Christopher Edwards, Dionna Edwards, Katrina Garrett, Dr. Huebner, Dr. Samantha Lay, Desi Leeper, Annah McRae, Matthew Milner, Glenn Parker, Pitts, Baleigh Riddle, Andrea Rodriguez, Samantha Shelby, Lauren Stokes, Susan Swink, Ashley Tanksley, Allison Wilkins, and Jacob Young. 

Ten-year pin recipients included Gloria Adams, Richard Benefield, Stephanie Blount, Cyndy Bratu, Carlisle, Shannon Coleman, Albert Espey, Daniel Ethridge, Bethany Files, Chip Gayden, Krystal Holifield, Dr. Ida Holliday, Betty Johnson, Joseph Knight, Jocelyn McGilberry, Brandi Pickett, Marsha Price, Whitney Stevens, Amanda Thompson, Michelle Thompson, and Jacqueline Watts. 

MCCers who earned their 15-year pin were Stanley Bishop, Dr. Bradley, Chance, Tonya Crenshaw, William Davidson, Katie Johnson, Cynthia Kennedy, Dr. Laura Lewis, Rebecca Pierce, Michael Smith, and Dillon Sudduth. 

Stuart Brown, Dr. Angela Carraway, Lowell Martin, Lori McClain, Karen McPherson, Nettles, and Melissa Roberts were given their 25-year pins, and Ginger Crawford, Kay Thomas, and Michael Thompson received their 30-year pins.  

Members of the Eagle Leadership Convocation were recognized. ELC is an academic year-long professional development and leadership program designed to equip participants with the skills they need to excel in their roles. This year's cohort, Tony Boutwell, Mitch Brantley, Cyndy Bratu, An Howard Hill, Brandy Hill, Mandy Hurtt, Victoria Liddell, Whitney Stevens, Marlo Turner, and Kristi Williamson, met monthly to cover a range of leadership topics and network with lecturers and college cabinet members. Book reviews were also a part of their monthly tasks.

Members of next year’s ELC class were announced and they include Shaquita Hopson Alfonso, Laureta Chislom, Tim Cole, Jamila Brown Coleman, Eric Griffin, Christopher Haralson, Edwina Jeannette Howell, Angie Pickard, Erin Richardson and Terrell Taylor. 

Retirees Richard Benefield Brown, Ron Bullock, Beth Calderon, Evette Cooper, Diane Delk, Doug Jernigan, Lacy  Johnson, Cynthia Kennedy, Beverly Long, Beck Pierce, and Annie Whigham were also recognized. 

To learn more about the MCC Foundation, contact Dr. Leia Hill, vice president for institutional advancement, at or call 601.484.8612.