Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College held its college-wide commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 9, at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. More than 1,100 students participated in the ceremony, with thousands of family, friends and MGCCC supporters in attendance. This year, more than 2,295 individuals received 3,587 credentials and degrees, with more than 800 students graduating with Honors distinction.
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, president and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Bryce Alexander of Gautier decided to participate in the ceremony as a personal acknowledgement of his achievement. At 43, he said his circuitous route to a college education began after his sons completed high school. “The empty nest played a factor in getting me back in school,” he said. “I found that I had free time on my hands and wanted to stay busy. I was living in Ohio, and I just couldn’t find a program I was interested in taking. I moved down here, where my mother already lived, and found the Precision Manufacturing and Machining Technology program at the Jackson County Campus. It was exactly what I was looking for.”
Parris Watts, a graduate from the Perkinston Campus, wanted to walk at graduation as part of a family tradition. She is the 17th member of her family to attend MGCCC. “I participated in graduation because it means so much to my family. They wanted to see me cross the stage. Plus, it is an awesome experience being here with so many other happy graduates, all talking about their plans for the future. It is a big day for all of us.”
MGCCC also celebrates students in two other special ceremonies each year. On Wednesday, May 8, the college held a commencement ceremony for the Adult Education Program. Almost 170 graduates of the Adult Education and MIBEST programs participated. The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Rachel M. DeVaughan, assistant executive director of Work-Based Learning and Special Initiatives for the Mississippi Community College Board.
The annual Health Sciences Division Pinning Ceremony was held the morning of May 9.Graduates of the Associate Degree Nursing, Emergency Medical Science/EMT, Health Care Assistant, Medical Assisting Technology, Practical Nursing, Radiologic Technology and Surgical Technology programs participated in the pinning and candle-lighting ceremony. Angel Kibler-Middleton, Harrison County District Two supervisor, was the keynote speaker.