Northwest Mississippi Community College President, Dr. Gary Lee Spears, has announced that State Senator Steve Hale of Senatobia will serve as keynote speaker for the college’s three graduation ceremonies on Friday, May 16 at the Howard Coliseum on the Senatobia campus. Hale, a Northwest alumnus, is currently serving in State Senate District 10, which encompasses Tate and Panola counties.
Hale began his own educational journey at Northwest. He graduated with an associate degree in business administration in 1974 and a bachelor of science in business administration from Mississippi State University in 1976. Hale played baseball at both schools.
After graduation, he worked with his grandfather Emmette F. Hale, Sr. in their family’s business, Hale Lumber Company in Senatobia. He also owned his own construction company, J. Stephen Hale Construction, which focused on residential construction and development.
He was elected to the Senatobia Board of Aldermen in 1989 and served until 1993, when he was elected mayor. He served as mayor until 2001. Hale is the past executive director and deputy director of the Mississippi Development Authority, a past senior policy advisor for economic development under Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and a past director of business development for the Mississippi Department of Employment Security under Gov. Haley Barbour. He also served as an advisory board director at the Senatobia branch of First Tennessee National Bank, and a past director of the North Delta Planning and Development District and the Mississippi Municipal Association.
Hale was elected to the state senate in November 2011. He is a member of the following legislative committees: Economic Development (vice-chair); Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency; Education; Finance; Investigate State Offices; Judiciary, Division A and Universities and Colleges.
He and his wife, the former Cindy Rials of Senatobia, who is also a Northwest alumna, have been married for 38 years. The are the parents of Jennifer Hale Brunetti, a finance attorney and Jay Hale, an assistant district attorney for Panola County. They have three grandchildren, Aiden and Elizabeth Anne Brunetti and James Rials Hale. He is the son of Evelyn Savage Hale of Senatobia and the late Emmette F. Hale, Jr. Hale is a lifelong member of First Baptist Church of Senatobia and a retired Senatobia firefighter.
The Associate of Applied Sciences ceremony will be held at 8:30 a.m. The Career Certificate ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. The Associate of Arts ceremony will be held at 2 p.m.
To help expedite traffic to and from the ceremonies, Northwest Chief of Police Zabe Davis requests visitors use the Alumni Drive entrance to campus off Wilson Drive (Highway 4 bypass).
For more information on Northwest’s graduation, contact the Registrar’s office at 662-562-3219.