The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Foundation held its annual Scholarship Gala on May 20 at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi. The annual event raised more than a million dollars for MGCCC student scholarships.
“The annual gala is always a fun event with the goal of offering MGCCC students opportunities for success that they may not have without these scholarships,” said Dr. Mary S. Graham, MGCCC president. “It is our biggest fundraiser, and we are thrilled with how much was raised this year, thanks to our outstanding partners, sponsors, alumni and guests.”
At the gala, Joseph C. Canizaro was named recipient of the 2019 Hornsby Award. The Hornsby Award, named after MGCCC alumna Claire Sekul Hornsby, is given annually to a leader, trailblazer and outstanding supporter of the college.
Canizaro is president and CEO of Columbus Properties, a commercial real estate development company he founded in 1966. He is the former chairman of the board of First Bank and Trust, and serves as chairman of its parent corporation, First Trust Corporation. He also founded Corporate Capital, L.L.C., a venture capital company investing in traditional American businesses.
He is currently developing Tradition, the 4,800 acre master-planned community in Biloxi that includes The National Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute. Programs to combat diabetes are being developed in conjunction with the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, local and regional health care facilities, educational institutions, as well as local, state and federal agencies.
As part of his development at Tradition, Canizaro also donated the property for construction of the college’s Bryant Center. The Bryant Center is a 50,000 square foot, $12 million state-of-the-art nursing facility that has allowed MGCCC to double the size of its nursing programs and offer them at a centralized location.
Mr. Canizaro and his wife, Sue Ellen, a Gulf Coast alumna, are outstanding supporters of MGCCC programs, facilities and students. They have established endowed scholarships, provided multiple scholarships for both Band of Gold and Perkette Dance Team members, and each year, donate generously to the Foundation’s Annual Gala Scholarship Fund. Additionally, Mr. Canizaro has served on the MGCCC Foundation Board since 2015.
Funds raised during the gala provide scholarships through the MGCCC Foundation for students who need financial assistance.