Mississippi College

Laurie Lawson Feels Blessed Serving Others

February 14, 2013

Laurie Lawson discovered the perfect fit as a Mississippi College professor and leader of a social service agency in Clinton.

“Serving others comes natural to me. I feel so blessed to spend 30 years doing what I love,” Lawson said as millions of Americans celebrated Valentine’s Day. “I continue to live to serve and serve to live.”

Dr. Lawson wears several hats that keep her busy year-round. The Mississippian serves as director of MC’s social work program, is the leader of the Clinton Community Christian Corporation, and a full-time mom with four children. One of them, Dierdre, is a 2008 Mississippi College graduate, and another, Marshall, is a future alumnus at the Christian university.

Bringing to the table nearly 25 years in higher education and almost three decades of service in the social work field, Lawson is thrilled about the many positive things happening at the 4C’s. The non-profit group assists senior citizens, operates a thrift store and helps the Clinton community with food, clothing and housing repairs.

Supported by the United Way in metro Jackson and others, the agency was founded by an MC student, Clint Dona, in 1971. The 4C’s continue to embrace a close relationship with the Baptist-affiliated university, its students, faculty and staff.

Her seat in academia and role as the 4C’s executive director since 1990 is simply a dream come true.

“I’m afforded the opportunity to not only be involved in academia on a daily basis, but am also able to bring real life situations into the classroom through my continued practice at the 4C’s,” she said. Lawson shares her stories centered around lifting up families with her social work students.

At her office in Jennings Hall, Lawson witnesses the growth of her students as they move forward with their educational, professional and spiritual journeys. The Clinton-based agency on Northside Drive serves as a vital laboratory for students seeking to enter social work and other professions.

Lawson’s roots are clearly embedded with the blue and gold. She’s a 1983 graduate of Mississippi College’s social work program and that year was hired as the social worker at the 4C’s. The recipient of a master’s and doctorate at Tulane University, Lawson has directed the social work program at her alma mater in Clinton for the past year.

Gary Mayfield, dean of the Mississippi College School of Humanities and Social Sciences, is delighted to have her on board.

“As a 1983 graduate of our social work program, Laurie brings to our students, school and university an inspiring repertoire of years of loyal support of, and involvement with her alma mater,” Mayfield said. She’s a terrific example, he said, of what just one social worker can do to benefit the Clinton community, the state, and the world.

An award-winner for her service to the 4C’s from the New Horizon Church International and as Parent of the Year from the Hinds County School District, Lawson instead prefers to spotlight the MC students who’ve enriched the lives of many others along the way.

Recently, Lawson presented the annual Liz Payne Award to Mississippi College students Jennifer Pace and Jewel Guy, both of Flora, and Lisa Blanton of Pearl, for their outstanding service to the 4C’s. The award is named for a former board member of the organization in Clinton.

When Lawson gets away from her work, the former Jackson State University professor enjoys singing, playing the organ and spending time with her husband of 32 years, Donald, and their children. She’s never afraid to pass on solid advice to family members, students or anyone else willing to listen.

Laurie Lawson advises people to “ask God for guidance in all you do, and in life, do what comes natural for you, and everything else will fall into place.”

For more information on the 4C’s or volunteer opportunities, their office is located at 2001 West Northside Drive in Clinton. The agency can be reached at 601.924.9436.

Photo: Jewel Guy, Jennifer Pace, Lisa Blanton, and Dr. Laurie Lawson

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