The Holmes Community College Alpha Lambda Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, housed on the Ridgeland Campus, inducted 27 new members into the honor society on March 6 in the D.P. "Pat" McGowan Workforce Training Center auditorium.
The ceremony began with a welcome by Payton Earley, president of Phi Theta Kappa, followed by an invocation and recognition of chapter officers and guests by Blair Booker, branch librarian and Phi Theta Kappa adviser. After a brief introduction, President of Mississippi State University Dr. Mark E. Keenum took the podium to give his remarks as keynote speaker.
Dr. Keenum became MSU's 19th president in 2009, following a distinguished public service career. Under his leadership, State has experienced record enrollment growth to more than 21,600 students, and the campus has expanded and improved enormously. One key project that Dr. Keenum has overseen has been The Mill at MSU - a $40-million, state-of-the-art conference and meeting complex housed in the historic John M. Stone Cotton Mill and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He has been a part of numerous other milestones for the university as it continues to grow.
Dr. Keenum began his career at MSU as a faculty member with the Extension Service and the Department of Agricultural Economics. He went on to serve as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran in Washington, D.C., and was under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture prior to returning home to Mississippi State. In 2016, Dr. Keenum also spoke in sessions at the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition Summit at the United Nations in New York City. During his speeches, he boasted of the collaboration between nearly 90 universities to create the Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH) consortium, a collection of university leaders dedicated to making food and nutrition security a priority.
"You all have an honor that I wish I'd had," Dr. Keenum told the new inductees. "Phi Theta Kappa is an honor that will follow you for the rest of your life and people will always take notice that you are a part of this honor society.
"Whatever your next step is, know that you've been well-prepared by your education here at Holmes Community College," Dr. Keenum said. "Never underestimate how important education is. Get the best and the most education you can possibly get. There's never been a time in our world where education has been as important as it is today. Also, work hard in your classes and earn the best grades you possibly can. Grades definitely matter, as it is a competitive world we live in.
"Finally, remember that all of us get to where we are in life with the help and assistance of other people. Remember to always treat other people with respect, to always have integrity, and to work hard. How you live your life will dictate your future. Make sure to treat everyone equally as a child of God, whether they are the CEO or the person picking up the trash. May God bless each and every one of you."
Following Dr. Keenum's address, Earley and Ashley Wicker, vice president of campus activities, shared the meaning behind the symbolic rituals of the induction ceremony and then joined Booker in officially installing the new chapter members.
Phi Theta Kappa is the international honors scholastic society for community colleges that recognizes intellectual achievement and promotes character, leadership and fellowship among community college students. Membership is by invitation to full-time students having a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher at Holmes Community College. Invitations are extended both the fall and spring semesters.
For more information on the Alpha Lambda Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, contact Blair Booker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN THE PHOTO: The Alpha Lambda Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Holmes Community College in Ridgeland inducted 27 new members into the honor society for two-year college students on March 6. Pictured are: (front, left to right) Phi Theta Kappa Adviser Blair Booker; Aundria Price of Oxford; Leslie Ann Fleming of Canton; MacKenzie Danaher of Madison; Elizabeth Palmer of Jackson; Vice President of Outreach Jaci Murphy of Gulfport; President Payton Earley of Pearl; Vice President of Campus Activities Ashley Wicker of Madison; Leilani Jones of Vicksburg; Teandra Averett of Jackson; Morgan Hannah of Clinton; Ridgeland Campus Vice President Dr. Don Burnham; (second row, left to right) De'Andria Green of Canton; Lacey White of Ridgeland; Tamyrria Meeks of Canton; Gabriel Bridgeman of Canton, Laura Ann Kelley of Madison; Ashley Bergeron of Madison; Monica Wilkins of Madison; Charles Switzer of Clinton; Jonathan Fuss of Brandon; (third row, left to right) Willard "Chip" Wells of Columbus; Davis Dunn of Pass Christian; Slade Allgood of Carthage; Michael Boyte of Brandon; D'Morris Walker of Jackson; Brian Flaherty of Brandon; Tyler Brown of Madison; Adam Richardson of Union; Thierno Bell of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Drew Kincaid of Brandon, and Cody Tompkins of Madison.