Meridian Community College adds inductees to 2023 Hall of Fame class

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 6:04 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Meridian Community College inducted 3 new members into its 2023 Hall of Fame Wednesday. Each year, MCC honors a group of servant-leaders who have distinguished themselves in their professions and their community service with the Highest Flying Eagles Hall of Fame award.

MCC’s Hall of Fame dates back to 2002 with over 90 inductees and Wednesday they added Randy Carroll, Pamela Harrison, and Deborah Stokes to its famed list.

Deborah Stokes retired from MCC in 2012 after 32 years as a nursing instructor. Stokes started at the now-closed Matty Hersee School of Nursing in 1975 where she became the first black nursing instructor in Meridian and one of the first in the state of Mississippi.

“As the first black nursing instructor in 1975 there were less than 1% of all the nurses in the United States were black so it was a challenge but it was one that I was willing to accept and move forward with and I’m glad I did. Just teaching nursing out of everything I did here, my students were greatly my heart. Every day that I came was to try to make excellent clinicians and excellent registered nurses,” said Stokes.

CEO of East Mississippi Electric Power Association, Randy Carroll was what he calls a “nontraditional student” at MCC. Carroll went straight into the workforce at EMEPA at 19 years old but at the age of 29, he decided to achieve a college education to advance at the company.

“By the time you have worked 40 hours already in the week and then you take 2 to 3 classes per week and then you do homework two to three times a week it’s a tiring experience. It takes a lot of dedication from a lot of people to get you through that. Some of those are the instructors who also dedicated their nights to teaching us. Those of us who wanted to be a part of a bigger team where we worked or places where we would work. They also dedicated their lives to teaching us and showing up on the job at night and made us successful,” said Carroll.

And honoree Pamela Harrison retired from MCC as Chief Financial Officer in June 2022 after 35 years. She said her admiration for MCC came from her fellow employees.

“By far the best thing about working here at MCC has been the people. You just have so many people you enjoy being with their all here working for the same thing their all striving for the student. Getting behind those who want a higher education is just the first priority for what we do out here. So, decisions that are made out here, the outlook on how we should change and what we should be doing is all based on what’s best for the student, and being a part of that was a lot of fun,” said Harrison.

MCC also inducted the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Michael Thompson, and Director of Public Information for the College Communications division, Kay Thomas into the college’s Talon Club. MCC said those selected for this recognition have given 30 or more years of service to the College. Both Thomas and Thompson are MCC graduates.