MC

Mississippi College

Dr. Ben Carson Inspires Crowd at Mississippi College Scholarship Dinner

April 24, 2014

Americans should take responsibility to slash the federal government’s massive debts, turn around the nation’s failing schools and discover healthcare solutions.

That was the bold message Dr. Ben Carson delivered Tuesday evening as the keynote speaker at Mississippi College’s annual Spring scholarship dinner.

Mixing his deep Christian faith with his dedicated commitment to cure society’s ills, the retired neurosurgeon inspired his audience on Earth Day to get involved and make a difference.

“The only thing that will save us is courage,” says Carson, a best-selling author who conquered poverty in urban America and poor grades as a youngster to become a national success story. “People will have to stand up for what they believe in.”

Born to a mom with a third grade education yet never allowed herself to become a victim, Dr. Carson preached the values of hard work, relentless determination and unlimited hope. “I have hope for our country,” he told more than 700 guests crowding Anderson Hall for his first visit to the Baptist-affiliated university. “We have enough wise, intelligent people to turn the tide.”

Mentioned in conservative Republican circles as a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016, the author of “The Gifted Hands” wowed his audience on the Clinton campus.

“He is fearless about defending his beliefs,” Gov. Phil Bryant said as dinner guests began heading home. Should Dr. Carson decide to run for the White House, “he will be a very strong candidate.”

Others applauding his speech included Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice William Waller Jr. “It’s refreshing – his call to restore the values that made this country great.”

The banquet raised a record of $345,600 for Mississippi College student scholarships. It brings the total to more than $2 million since 2008. Other keynoters at MC have included former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2012 and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2013.

Before addressing guests feasting on steak, salad and cheesecake, Dr. Carson fielded questions from hundreds of Mississippi College students in Swor Auditorium. The Detroit native signed copies of his books, took scores of photos and met several of the Mississippians he’s motivated to become achievers.

“The one thing that inspires me the most is his faith,” said Ron Tullos, 26, a 2009 MC graduate who will graduate in May from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. After reading “The Gifted Hands” and following Dr. Carson’s rise to prominence, the graduate of Jackson’s Callaway High decided to become a physician. “My neighborhood doesn’t produce doctors,” Tullos said moments before Dr. Carson spoke to reporters.

With Tullos soon bound for the University of Oklahoma hospital in Oklahoma City for the next seven years of residency, his Mississippi neighborhood will no doubt become proud of its newest physician.

Asked whether he would back him for president, Tullos didn’t hesitate. “I’d support Dr. Carson in whatever he did,” said the MC alumnus. “Dr. Carson is in tune with God.”

Others listened carefully to his words at the Mississippi College banquet because of Dr. Carson’s dramatic influence on their lives.

“I read Gifted Hands in the sixth grade,” said Jackson State University pre-med student Chuks Agusiegbe Jr., 20, a graduate of Murrah High in Jackson. The son of a nurse, he firmly believes one must overcome life’s challenges. “You have to be dedicated – no days off.”

Clinton resident Conner Smith, 18, who is homeschooled, will enroll as a Mississippi College student later this year. “Dr. Carson inspired me to become a doctor. I’ve watched his videos and read his books,” Conner said. “I’d vote for him if he ran for president.”

Dr. Carson is an emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine In Baltimore. He directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for 39 years before retiring in June 2013. He holds more than 60 honorary doctorates. In June 2008, Dr. Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

A contributor to FOX News, Dr. Carson serves as president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund that’s awarded $5.6 million to deserving students nationwide.

A well-known critic of the federal Affordable Care Act, Dr. Carson realizes his message isn’t for everybody. “I’m not politically correct,” he says as bitter debate rages between Republicans, Democrats and independents. But the talented doctor brings plenty of positives to the table. “If we learn to work together, it is amazing what we can do.”

Photo: Dr. Ben Carson meets Mississippi College graduate Ron Tullos of Jackson. Tullos, who is due to graduate from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in May 2014, says Dr. Carson inspired him to become a physician.