The Mike and Celia Boren Endowed Scholarship has been established at Northwest Mississippi Community College to benefit students from Tunica County.
Mike Boren, a graduate of Northwest, was born in Blytheville, Arkansas – 18 miles from his future wife, who entered the world a year and a half earlier in Manila, Arkansas. He is the son of the late David and Mildred Boren. His mother was a nurse, and his father worked in the cotton warehousing business.
In 1964, his father was transferred to Drew, where the family remained until 1970, when his father was transferred again to Tunica. Entering his senior year of high school in a new town did not phase Boren, whose wife describes him as easygoing.
“It didn’t upset me,” he said. “I just saw an opportunity to meet other people.”
Upon graduating in 1971 from the Tunica Institute of Learning (TIL), later renamed Tunica Academy, he enrolled at Northwest. Boren has many fond memories of his time on the Senatobia campus, making new friends and earning a spot on the honor roll. However, he also recalls more sobering experiences from that time, such as listening to the draft on the radio as the Vietnam War raged on.
Boren graduated from Northwest in 1973, and went on to study at Delta State University, where he studied banking and finance. He graduated with his degree in 1975, and bagged groceries for a brief time while applying for jobs with various banks. He soon received a call from Tunica County Bank, now Citizens Bank & Trust, in Tunica asking him to come aboard. Of course, he couldn’t have known at the time that he would eventually retire from the bank after serving as its president.
Two years after beginning his career with the bank, he married his wife, Celia, in 1977. In June, the couple will celebrate 43 years of marriage. The couple met on a night out while Celia, a Kansas resident at the time, was in Tunica visiting her father, Cecil Blake.
Now retired after almost 18 years as the city clerk for the Town of Tunica, Celia continues to work several days each month at Citizens Bank & Trust in customer service. The Borens are active members of the First Baptist Church in Tunica, where Celia plays the organ. She also sings in a local singing group, the Starlight Singers. She recalls being a “band nerd” in school, playing mostly clarinet, and even fondly remembers getting to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade when she was in high school.
“That’s certainly a memory that stands out,” she said.
Her husband also has no trouble staying busy, enjoying duck hunting, crappie fishing, playing golf, practicing woodwork, and perhaps most of all, riding his Harley Davidson. The latter has become a passion for both, as the two very much enjoy embarking on motorcycle trips together.
“He’s fun to travel with,” she said. “He likes to stop at places and look at things. It’s not like you have to hurry up and get there.”
A spontaneous and adventurous couple, Boren said he and his wife have set out on trips without even knowing where they were heading, booking hotel rooms along the way. So far, their longest trip has been a 10-day jaunt to San Antonio, Texas. Now that both have more time on their hands, they hope to hit the road together more frequently.
Parents to two children, daughter Stacey and son Benjamin, the Borens also have three grandchildren, Blake, Taylor and Michael, and one great-grandchild, Ben.
As a proud alumnus of Northwest, Mike Boren has served on the Alumni Association board for more than 15 years, and also acted as its president. He is currently serving as past president and Tunica County representative. He also served as a member of the college’s Foundation Board of Directors.
The Mike and Celia Boren Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to a student from Tunica County, with each recipient required to maintain a 2.0 GPA while enrolled at Northwest. For more information on Foundation scholarships or to contribute to the Boren endowment, contact the Foundation Office at (662) 560-1103.