Special to The Clinton Courier
The generational support Mississippi College has received from residents of Clinton and surrounding areas has helped fuel the pursuit of academic excellence, abounding creativity, and the distinct passion of its students to lead Christ-centered lives. Continual engagement with the community is an invaluable component of the Christian university’s culture, and MC faculty and staff always enjoy welcoming visitors to their beautiful campus.
As he said goodbye to MC’s December graduates – the last in the Class of 2021 – and looks ahead to the resumption of the spring semester on January 10, Dr. Blake Thompson, president of Mississippi College, said he is excited about the many opportunities local residents have to remain connected with the state’s oldest institution of higher learning throughout the coming year.
“I am incredibly proud of the relationship our university shares with the city of Clinton and the local community, and am deeply grateful for the support they have so generously given us,” Thompson said. “I encourage everyone to continue to be engaged with activities on our campus.”
“Together, with God’s help, we will continue to rise up and make this coming year one of the finest in Mississippi College’s rich history.”
The university has many events planned that will be open to the community this year.
In January, Founders Day will pay homage to MC’s rich history, refined during almost two centuries in Clinton. From its chartering in 1826 as Hampstead Academy through the lean years of wartime and the Great Depression to the more prosperous developments of the modern era, the second-oldest Baptist-affiliated academic institution has a rich history that’s well worth celebrating.
A full slate of athletic events is scheduled this spring, as the Choctaws basketball, baseball, softball, track, soccer, tennis and golf teams pursue their respective Gulf South Conference championships. Former Georgia and Miami head football coach Mark Richt, one of the most admired sports figures in America, will be the featured speaker during MC’s annual Dr. Don Phillips Athletics Dinner on February 8. The popular ACC Network analyst will share his inspirational story of faith and spiritual awakening that helped him recover from a near-fatal heart attack and come to terms with a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
MC’s Faith and Business Luncheon featuring Kathy Ireland, internationally known entrepreneur, author, and former fashion model, is scheduled for March 24. Ireland will discuss her path from the runway to founding kathy ireland Worldwide (kiWW), a globally successful brand marketing company. Sponsored by the School of Business, the luncheon highlighting women in business will benefit the Joanne Dambrino Scholarship Fund.
MC is the setting for a number of theatrical performances that will be open to the public. The Music Department’s newly-branded Lyric Stage @ MC pulls together the university’s opera and musical theatre productions under one exciting brand. Its inaugural offering will be a performance of Godspell, a fresh vision of Jesus’ life and parables by Broadway legend Stephen Schwarz, scheduled from March 31 to April 3.
In addition to its theatrical productions, the department has lined up a number of musical performances throughout the spring. MC’s Symphonic Winds will welcome orchestra lovers to its annual spring concert on March 1. Also, Clintonians are encouraged to be on the lookout for upcoming performances by the Choctaw Chorus, the MC Singers and the MC Jazz Band.
At long last, Reba McEntire, one of the most successful female recording artists in history, will headline the Spring 2022 Scholarship Banquet, the largest fundraising event at Mississippi College. The Country Music Hall of Fame member had initially been scheduled to take the dais for MC’s 2020 event, but the pandemic postponed those plans. McEntire will visit the Clinton campus on April 12 to help raise important scholarship funds for the Christian university.
The Mississippi College Dance Marathon, a fun-filled evening of continuous dancing that culminates MC students’ efforts to support Children’s of Mississippi patients, will heat up the dance floor on April 21. Participants will dance for six consecutive hours to honor the way hospitalized children fight every day. Now in its sixth year, the event has raised a combined $150,000 for Children’s of Mississippi.
MC will honor its 2022 graduates during our Spring Commencement Ceremonies May 5-7. But one of the signal events of the year for the university – and for the community – is scheduled to take place later in 2022: the dedication of the Gore Arts Complex.
Envisioned by internationally known artist Dr. Samuel M. Gore and posthumously named in his honor, the complex preserves many of the original Clinton Junior High School building’s architectural elements, while providing much-needed studio space for student artists studying a number of mediums. Filled with artwork produced by Gore’s former students as well as the master artist himself, the complex will be a fitting tribute to the man known as the “Founding Father” of the MC Art Department.