Joan Harris Pierce Endowment established at Northwest

The Joan Harris Pierce Endowed scholarship was established at Northwest Mississippi Community College in loving tribute to her life of service and distinction by her brothers and sisters Billy Harris, Nella Wicker, Barbara Wright, Doc Harris, Zada Malouf, Lola Robison, Wayne Harris and the late Jimmy Harris, all of whom attended Northwest. Pierce was born in 1937 to parents, Pete and Pauline Harris, in the small community of Pinedale which is located in Union County. In 1952 her family moved to Hernando. At eight years old, she became ill with scleroderma which resulted in a serious, on-going physical challenge for her. In spite of this serious condition, she had a “can-do” attitude that would not allow her to quit.  Her fight and determination to succeed motivated her to graduate from Hernando High School in 1956.  She then attended and graduated from Northwest followed by Delta State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1960. Pierce began her teaching career in Mississippi and continued teaching after moving to Jacksonville. In 1965, while in Jacksonville, she met her husband, Bob Pierce.  After several years in Jacksonville, she and Bob decided to move to his hometown in Levittown, Pennsylvania where he worked for U.S. Steel and she continued teaching. Pierce finished her teaching career while living in Levittown.  She devoted a total of 31 years to the field of education. In 1994, after retiring, Pierce and her husband returned to Hernando making it their home.  She loved her two Shih Tzu’s who were her constant companions.  She also spent her time being involved with her church and other community activities. Pierce passed away in October 2018. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband. Sybil Canon, retired associate vice president of Development and Special Projects speaks fondly of Joan and her family. “In 2004, this sweet family honored their parents by establishing The Pete and Pauline Harris Endowment. Over the years, they have remained interested in this scholarship and have continued to contribute. Now, with the passing of their beloved sister, they have returned to the college that all nine siblings attended to establish yet another endowment to honor Joan’s memory.  Joan was a brave and valiant educator, and we are honored to have this endowment,” Canon said. The scholarship will benefit a student who is pursuing a career in Education and maintains a 3.0 grade point average. For more information on the Foundation, contact Marla Kennedy, institutional advancement specialist, at 662.560.1105 or email

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Skipper Nursing Endowment established at Northwest

The Beverly Skipper Endowment was recently established by the Northwest Mississippi Community College Nursing Department under the leadership of Dr. Denise Bynum, director of Nursing Instruction, with funds that were raised from the annual “Shoot for the Heart” fundraiser. In 1967, Skipper graduated from W. A. Higgins High School, with a high school diploma and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) endorsement.  She and several other students had taken advantage of the local hospital’s LPN training program which they were able to complete during the school day over a two or three-year period. After high school, she attended Tuskegee University and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1971. She then attended the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western University and received a Master of Nursing Science degree in 1973. Skipper married Cornelius Skipper, whom she affectionately called “Neli” in 1973 and they had four children, Warren, married to Corey, Kimberly, David, and Brian. In fall 1973, she joined the nursing faculty at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as its youngest member, earning tenure with the rank of Assistant Professor. She was a supportive alumnus of Case Western Reserve University, and was a member of The Tuskegee University National Nursing Association. In addition, she was very active with the Tuskegee University National Alumni Association. After 11 years, she left UT and worked in the nursing in-service department at Baptist Memorial Hospital. After two years, she missed teaching and joined the Northwest Nursing Department. She loved her Northwest family and never regretted her decision to join the Northwest faculty. Skipper was active in her church, Metropolitan Baptist, serving with the Health Ministry. She was also a member of the Pastor’s Sunday School Class for many years and was very supportive of Neli’s involvement with the music ministry at church. She served the Girl Scouts as Cookie Chairman of her daughter’s troop for several years. She possessed a love of learning and encouraged her children to be lifelong learners.  She died in July 2018 at the age of 68. Her husband expressed gratitude for this tribute to his wife. “Few things would please Beverly more than knowing that her legacy will help future nursing students realize their hope of becoming nurses of the future,” Cornelius Skipper said. “Beverly was someone who was intelligent, compassionate, professional, and beautiful, someone who fit the Proverbs description of the very best kind of wife, mother, instructor, and person,” Bynum said. The Beverly Skipper Endowment will be awarded to students pursuing a career in Nursing. For more information on the Foundation, contact Marla Kennedy, institutional advancement specialist, at 662.560.1105 or email

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Board of Trustees officers re-elected for new term

Northwest Mississippi Community College President, Dr. Michael Heindl (left) congratulates newly re-elected board officers Dr. Adam Pugh (center), chairman, Lafayette County, and Cory Uselton (right), vice chairman, DeSoto County at the Jan. 10 meeting of the Board of Trustees. Not pictured is Dr. Daryl Scoggin, secretary, Tate County. The Board of Trustees, comprised of 22 members, is the governing body for the management and administration of the college. (Photo by Julie Bauer)

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Upcoming Reading Roundtable set for Jan. 29

Dr. Melissa Wright
The January meeting of Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Reading Roundtable, made possible with funds from Sycamore Bank, will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 2 p.m., in the R.C. Pugh Library on the Senatobia campus.Leading this month’s discussion of The Broken Girls by award-winning crime writer Simone St. James, will be Dr. Melissa Wright, director of Learning Resources at Northwest. Vermont, 1950: There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall, and local legend says the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears with their budding friendships blossoming, until one of them mysteriously disappears. Vermont, 2014: 20 years ago, journalist Fiona Sheridan's elder sister's body was found in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And although her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of the murder, Fiona can't stop revisiting the events, unable to shake the feeling that something was never right about the case. When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during renovations links the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past, and a voice that won't be silenced. The purpose of the program is to provide a forum to read and discuss a variety of books during the course of every semester. Meetings are held on the last Tuesday of each month. Participants must fill out a registration form, and those wishing to purchase a copy of the book being discussed may do so for $5. Personal or library copies may also be used. For more information or to register, contact Wright at (662) 562-3277 or e-mail    

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Kornegay Endowment recognized at Northwest

Dr. Michael Heindl (right), president of Northwest Mississippi Community College, and Sybil Canon (left), Northwest associate vice president of Development and Special Projects, presented a plaque of appreciation to J. Gary and Annette Kornegay of Batesville for establishing The J. Gary and Annette Kornegay Scholarship Endowment with the Northwest Foundation.  In presenting the plaque, Heindl expressed appreciation. "While we are extremely grateful for this new endowment that provides a permanent source of scholarship assistance for our students, we are also grateful to Gary for serving as Treasurer of the Foundation.  His wise counsel and leadership have been invaluable as the board works diligently to increase the endowment and to manage it in the best way possible. Gary and Annette are good friends to this college," Heindl said. (Photo submitted)  

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Ella Wilbourn Endowment established at Northwest

The Ella Wilbourn Endowment was established by the faculty and staff of The Natural Sciences Department at Northwest Mississippi Community College under the leadership of Robin Robison, director, and The Mathematics Department, under the leadership of Wayne Ferguson, director. Wilbourn died in 2016 at the age of 45.  She was engaged to Lamar Cobb, with whom she worked at Northwest. She left behind four daughters, Dikisha, Amber, Jacqueline, and Marquita.  These daughters fondly remember their mother as being totally devoted to them.  One daughter, recalls, “As a single parent, she provided for us, she loved us, and she gave us the very best she had to give. She had high hopes for us and urged each of us to dream big dreams.” Wilbourn was a member of the Housekeeping Staff, but she was much more than that to those who worked in the Science and Math Departments. Biology Instructor Melissa Greene wrote this to describe what Wilbourn was to all of them: “Ms. Ella was our friend.  She worked with us in the Burks Building, and we requested that she come with us to the new Math and Science building when we moved in because we wanted our friend with us every day.  Every day, she had a smile on her face.  She knew our families through stories and pictures, and we knew hers.  She was so excited to be getting married.  She would always come in and show me her new hairdo and her new nail polish, and we would talk about trips we wanted to take. She was kind and thoughtful, and she was a hard worker.  She worked an additional job to provide for her daughters.  She was so proud of them, and she wanted to take them on trips to see the world.  She prayed for my family, and she would ask me to pray for hers. She would always check in and let me know she had been praying.  Ms. Ella's death was a shock and so hard.  Those who knew her well have cried many times talking about our precious memories of her.  She was quite simply our kind, thoughtful friend.  All of us who worked with her every day truly love Ms. Ella.” Brian Hale was a student at Northwest, and he now works at Northwest as assistant Help Desk coordinator.  He said, “When I was a student, Ms. Ella would stop me in the hall and just have a conversation with me.  I didn’t know her, and she didn’t know me, but we became friends.  I left Northwest, and when I came back as an employee, Ms. Ella took the time to welcome me back.” Dr. Michael Heindl, president of Northwest understands that every person who works at Northwest has an important role to pay in the life of our students. “I wonder just how many students were encouraged by this grand lady, students who might have been having a terrible day, only to have Ms. Ella with that extraordinary smile of hers, take the time to speak to them, to get to know them, to let them know that somebody cared. We are grateful for the faculty in the Math and Science Departments who have honored her with a tribute that will be here as long as this college exists,” Heindl said. The scholarship will be awarded to students who are pursuing a mathematics and/or natural sciences career pathway. For more information on Foundation scholarships, contact Marla Kennedy, institutional advancement specialist at 662.560.1105 or email

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Edna Wright Miles Endowment established at Northwest

The Edna Mae Wright Miles Endowment was established at Northwest Mississippi Community College to honor this lady of distinction who served her Lord with gladness, who demonstrated all that is good and noble to her family, and who displayed compassion, knowledge and professionalism in her career as a nurse.  The scholarship was established by her daughter, Jacqueline Wright Reed and son-in-law, John Wesley Reed, and by her granddaughter, Kristi Lynnette Reed Pigott and her grandson-in-law, Pastor David Bryan Pigott.  She was affectionately known as “Ms. Edna.” A lifelong resident of Panola County, her parents were Army Veteran Andrew Barnes and Ethel Mae Payne Barnes.  Her mother died when she was an infant and her maternal grandmother cared for her until the age of eight, when her maternal grandfather, Tom Payne and his wife, Eugenia Payne, became her parents. Ms. Edna was reunited with her father when she was 15 and maintained a close relationship with him until his death. Her grandfather made sure she was in church and enjoyed a family dinner every Sunday after church, a tradition that has continued in the Barnes family members to this day. She became a Christian at the age of 12 at Walton Chapel Methodist Church. Ms. Edna met an Army Veteran named William Hudson Wright when she was 15 and he was 20.  Knowing that her grandfather would not give permission for the marriage because she had not finished school, they eloped and married on Christmas Day. After working in the cotton fields, selling Avon, and taking care of children without a gas or electric stove and no washer and dryer, she was hired to clean the office of Dr. and Mrs. Lunceford.  This kind couple offered to pay for Ms. Edna to attend a one-year LPN program at Mississippi Valley State College in Itta Bena.  This act of Christian love made MS. Edna’s nursing career possible. Ms. Edna was the first school nurse in the North Panola School District, and she ministered to children by teaching them good health practices and even showing up at basketball games in case someone was hurt. Because of a divorce, she became a single parent with five children, so she took a second job at North Panola Regional Hospital, working at the school from 7:00 to 3:00 and then at the hospital from 3:00 to 11:00. At the age of 50, Ms. Edna took classes at Northwest and then transferred to Itawamba where she graduated from their Associate Degree Nursing program and became a Registered Nurse.  She was hired as the Health Care Manager with the Batesville Job Corps and promoted health awareness at companies such as Fruit of the Loom While Ms. Edna’s daughters were focused and quite determined, the only son was a different story.  Her daughter, Jackie remembers that her brother, David, did not want to go to college but that her mother was determined that he would.  She recalls, “David didn’t take her seriously until one day, she asked him to ride to Memphis with her and the next thing he knew, she pulled into the Air Force Recruitment Office. David was shocked, but Ms. Edna was adamant and said, ‘I want you to go to college, but if you don’t, you can join the military like my father, like your father, and like your uncle, but you will not walk the streets.’ David is now Retired Senior Master Sargent William David Wright, having retired after 25 years of service to his country, and he credits his mama with making sure that his life was on the right path.” Ms. Edna’s second daughter, Ethel, left her factory job to follow in her mother’s footsteps. “If my mama can study hard and earn her GED and study harder and pass her nursing board exams, then so can I,” she said. And she did. She graduated from the Northwest Practical Nursing program in Oxford and has been in the nursing profession for 39 years. Another daughter, Jackie, graduated in 1974 from the Methodist Hospital School of Nursing, and she also received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing and became an OB-GYN Nurse Practitioner, all while serving in the US Air Force. Jackie retired in 1994. Although Ms. Edna never knew the love of her own mother, she instilled God’s love in each of her five children and they have been able to pass that love on to 55 branches of descendants. The last inpatient nursing job for Ms. Edna was at a nursing home in Batesville where she quickly learned the use of the computer and even taught others.  Her co-workers were absolutely adamant that they could not have learned those computer skills without Ms. Edna, and she was much older that they were. In 1993, Ms Edna married Deacon Robert Miles. Mr. Miles was a civil rights advocate who once marched with Dr. Martin Luther King and opened his home to house some of the brave marchers during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.  Ms. Edna had always been a very talented soloist and she continued to use those talents in the choir and in organizing young adults for ministry outreach opportunities.  They enjoyed traveling and they enjoyed three happy years together before God called Mr. Miles to heaven. Ms. Edna developed Parkinson’s Disease in her mid-70s. Unfortunately, there were several other debilitating health issues, and Jackie and her husband, John, graciously brought Ms. Edna to their home for the last 18 years of her life as a way to give back to her as she had given to each member of her family. She died in 2017 at the age of 86, leaving behind her five children, Patricia Ann Wright Lamar, Ethel Mae Wright (Lawrence) McKinney, Lorraine Wright (Terrance) Dykes, Jacqueline Wright (John Wesley) Reed, and William David Wright (Darla), along with 15 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great grandchildren One daughter, Lorraine, remembers, “In Ms. Edna’s house, you had to go to church and then came Sunday dinner and family time where we played family games and listened to Mama and Daddy tell us about the old times. We were poor, but we didn’t really know it,” she said. “She knew she was meant to do more and she didn’t want her children to think that the cotton field was all we had to look forward to in life.  She just knew God would work it out and send help somehow and through someone. And He did,” said oldest daughter Pat. Jackie remembers her mother traveling all the way to North Carolina to Seymour Johnston Air Force Base. “Having my mom travel so far to help me adjust to being a mom meant the world to me.  Years later, she would travel to Pensacola to see that granddaughter receive a high school diploma and later bachelor’s and master’s degrees,” Jackie said. “What a distinct honor to have a scholarship that bears the name of this remarkable lady!  How I wish every young person could hear the story of her extraordinary life of courage, determination, success, and service,” said Canon. The scholarship will be awarded to any serious-minded student with a financial need and whose goal is to complete the nursing program. For more information, contact Marla Kennedy, institutional advancement specialist at 662.560.1105 or email

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Northwest Spring 2019 registration dates set

Registration Dates Summary - Spring 2019 January 14, Monday: Day classes begin. Evening classes begin. Late registration begins. January 18, Friday: Last day to register. January 22, Tuesday: Online classes begin. See below for more information.

Registration for the 2019 spring semester at Northwest Mississippi Community College is just around the corner. Open registration for day classes for students who have not previously registered will be held on Thursday, Jan. 10 and Friday, Jan. 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On the Senatobia campus, registration will be held in the Haraway Center. Open registration for evening classes will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 9 from 4:30 - 7 p.m. on all three campuses. Day and evening classes begin on Monday, Jan. 14. Late registration will be held Jan. 14-18 from 8 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Students may register for Northwest eLearning’s online classes Wednesday, Jan. 9, 4:30 - 7 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 10 and Friday, Jan. 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Online classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 22. Late registration for online classes begins Monday, Jan. 14 and ends Friday, Jan. 18. Financial Aid staff will be available on the Senatobia campus and on the other campuses to assist students with financial aid concerns during registration. On the Senatobia campus, Financial Aid staff will be in Room 102B in the Haraway Center, during registration on Tuesday, Jan. 8 – Friday, Jan. 11, but will return to their office in Yalobusha Hall, Suite 103 on Monday, Jan. 14. Northwest will also offer a variety of classes on campus and online during the college’s two eight-week Spring 2019 Mini-Terms. The first session of on-campus Mini-Terms will begin on Jan. 14 and end on March 5, and online Mini-Terms will be held from Jan. 22 - March 15.  The second session of on-campus Mini-Terms will be held from March 18 to May 16, and the second session of online Mini-Terms will be held from March 18 - May 10. Open registration for Mini-Terms will be held on Thursday, Jan. 10 - Friday, Jan. 11 for the first Spring Mini-Term and Wednesday, March 6 - Friday, March 8 for the second Spring Mini-Term from 8 :30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Students may also register for either Mini-Term during regular Open Registration on Jan. 9-11. Registration for both sessions of eLearning Mini-Term classes is during evening school registration on Jan. 9 and day registration Jan. 10-11. Students may also register for second session eLearning Mini-Term classes March 6-8. The Spring 2019 Course schedule can be accessed on the Northwest website at Click on students and choose myNWCC. For more information call 662-562-3200.

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Northwest students get hands-on experience helping others

Students in Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology (HVAC) program recently got some hands-on experience while helping someone in need. When HVAC instructor Josh Buchanan was approached by Joe Cooper from Highland Baptist Church to help the church with a project, he and fellow instructor Chris Blount jumped at the chance. A local man, Washington Burdette, had lost his home in a fire. Highland Baptist Church was building him a new home and needed Buchanan and Blount to help install the heating and air system in the home. “We approached our industry partner Carrier Enterprise South Central in Memphis, and the company happily donated new equipment to us, so that we could install it and do the labor,” Buchanan said. Buchanan decided to turn the project into a learning experience for his students and was pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm his students showed for the project. For Buchanan it was not only teaching his students hands on, but teaching them a life lesson as well. “This is the real thing. There were no simulations at all. You can’t simulate this type of thing in the classroom. This is exactly what they would be doing if they worked in the residential or housing market,” Buchanan said. Buchanan also praised Carrier for their willingness to help. “They really stepped up for us. They are on our advisory council and are one of our industry partners. I was really proud of them and the help they gave us on this,” Buchanan said. The Northwest HVAC program currently has 13 sophomores and 22 freshmen, Buchanan said. He stated that the sophomore class did the actual install of the system, but some of the prep work was done by freshman students. “We went through the whole process, and it took longer than it normally did because we were teaching as we were going though it,” Buchanan said. Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology is a postsecondary instruc- tional program that prepares individuals to work in engineering departments or private firms installing, maintaining, and operating small or medium air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration systems. An Associate of Applied Science degree (60 hours) is awarded upon completion of the program. A two-year Technical Certificate program, which requires 45 semester credit hours, is also available. “It was an opportunity for our program to give back and a great learning experience for our students. Several students have come back to me and told me that they had gotten a lot of good experience from doing this,” Buchanan said. For more information on the program, contact Buchanan at 662-562-3387 or email him at   Pictured: Northwest Mississippi Community College Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology (HVAC) students recently installed a new system in the new home of Tate County resident Washington Burdette, center. Burdette’s home was destroyed by fire and is being rebuilt by Highland Baptist Church. Left to right are Chris Blount, instructor; Joe Cooper, Highland Baptist Church; Dalton Fillyaw of Water Valley, Moises Bravo of Senatobia, Demptravious Cox of Sardis, Javonta Jackson of Senatobia, Corneilous Rubbin of Byhalia, Washington Burdette, homeowner; Brian Wilkes of Courtland, Evan Doubleday of Batesville, Zach Woolfolk of Senatobia, Priest Jerry of Courtland, Tucker Burris of Senatobia, Laddarious Baker of Sardis, Bud Perry of Sarah, Ryan Wallace of Senatobia and Josh Buchanan, instructor. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)  

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Alexander endowment established at Northwest

The Charlotte Annice Alexander Endowment was established by her colleagues in the Department of Mathematics at Northwest Mississippi Community College as a tribute to her 39 years as a stellar educator in the field of mathematics. Alexander graduated from Senatobia High School, where she was an honor graduate and selected to the Hall of Fame. She was also a member of the band, Beta Club, Drama Club, newspaper staff, and yearbook staff. She attended what was then Northwest Mississippi Junior College on a mathematics scholarship. While at Northwest, she was a member of the Ranger Band and was selected as Outstanding Mathematics Student during her sophomore year. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education in Secondary Mathematics from the University of Mississippi where she was a member of Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society. Her first teaching position was with the East Tallahatchie School district in Charleston.  At Charleston High School, Alexander convinced her principal of the need for computer education beyond a business education emphasis. She developed and taught computer programming, a technological innovation that was fairly new at that time. Alexander’s initiative provided students in a rural area with exposure to computer programming, something that was not common at the time. Alexander continued to further her education, earning a Master of Education in Secondary Mathematics from Delta State University and a Master of Science in Mathematics from Ole Miss. She graduated with honors and is a life member of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. Encouraged by Anita Wilbourn, her former Northwest differential equations instructor, Alexander applied for a position at Northwest in 1989, which began her career in the Northwest Mathematics Division. A highlight of her career at Northwest was working as co-chair with Dr. Gwen Aldridge on Northwest’s first Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) as part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) requirement for reaccreditation. The Math Department led college-wide efforts to strengthen math learning. They coordinated, planned, and implemented a QEP that was so successful that faculty from Northwest were invited to display their documents for two consecutive years in the SACS resource room at the national SACS convention as a model for other colleges in the Southern region. Along with other members of the leadership team, Alexander presented at the 2007 SACS convention. She also led a round table discussion on TIPS for encouraging college-wide participation and marketing a QEP. Alexander served on the Northwest building committee that helped plan and design the addition to the Physical Science building, later named the Math and Science (MAS) Building. First occupied in 2009, the MAS Building houses state-of-the-art technology equipment and classrooms. Alexander was presented the President’s Award for community service in 2009, an honor reserved for one faculty member each year. In early 2010, the administration decided to separate the Mathematics Department from the Science Division to create a new Mathematics Division. Alexander became the first director of the Division of Mathematics at Northwest and served in that position until her retirement in June of 2018. Sybil Canon, associate vice president of Development and Special Projects at Northwest, is pleased that this scholarship has been established. “Charlotte has a God-given calling to encourage students who come into a mathematics classroom with a pre-conceived notion that they cannot succeed. She has provided encouragement and respect, and she has given them confidence to master a complex subject. Of course, not every student has mastered mathematics, but even those who did not master it, did not leave Charlotte’s class feeling defeated. Rather, they were resolved to try again. How wonderful it will be to have this endowment to honor this awesome teacher for generations to come,” Canon said. The scholarship will be awarded to students who have chosen mathematics as their career pathway. For more information on the Foundation, contact Marla Kennedy, institutional advancement specialist, at 662.560.1105 or email

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