MC Faculty and Staff Come Together for New Academic Year
August 25, 2008Mississippi College's community is committed to a new theme "The Journey for Life: Walking with the Lord" to begin the 2008-2009 academic year.
Welcoming hundreds of faculty and staff on Friday, President Lee Royce unveiled the theme during remarks at a Swor Auditorium convocation.
The theme helps spotlight the Christian university's commitment to stimulate the development of MC faculty, staff and students to grow spiritually, intellectually, physically, emotionally and socially. "This is the first year we are doing this in a comprehensive way," Royce said.
The Baptist-affiliated university wants members of the MC family to follow the admonition in Proverbs 3:5-6 to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."
MC faculty and staff received brochures noting areas of community service and upcoming activities on the Clinton campus. They also were handed special coins highlighting the year's theme and displaying a tiny replica of the MC clock tower at Nelson Hall.
During his remarks, he encouraged members of the MC community to become better followers of Jesus Christ.
Royce, who is entering his seventh year as MC's president, is overseeing a school that's seen rapid growth. MC is expected to enroll a record 5,000 students this fall. Enrollment has climbed more than 35 percent above Fall 2002 levels soon after he arrived. There were 4,600 MC students enrolled a year ago.
During the convocation, MC also recognized student leaders, retired faculty members, alumni board members, trustees and others within the university family.
MC officials report there are 63 new staff members and 18 additions to the faculty. MC is home to more than 450 employees and maintains an annual budget exceeding $50 million.
Newcomers to the Clinton campus this fall include Tommye Henderson, former superintendent of Clinton public schools. The Clintonian recently joined the MC School of Education as a faculty member. Her daughter, Hollye, a Clinton High alum, is a sophomore and member of the Lady Choctaws soccer team. Henderson is former president of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents.
"We are glad to have all that experience," said Tom Williams, MC's educational leadership chairman.
Williams, Henderson and others are part of the team that seeks to double the student enrollment in MC's new educational leadership doctorate - from 15 now to 30 in spring 2009.
Other newcomers: cancer researcher Elizabeth Brandon, who worked at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, joins the biology faculty. The Delta State University graduate received her doctorate at the University of Alabama. Also new is professor Steven Price, a former Monmouth College (Ill.) professor who received his doctorate in British literature from Louisiana State University. He's the new director of the MC Writing Center.
Among those new to MC's staff: Joseph Odenwald, coordinator of student development in the office of residence life. A Ferriday, La. native, Odenwald earned a bachelor's degree at Louisiana College and is pursuing a master's in higher education at MC.
Another recent hire is Josh Brooks, the assistant men's basketball coach at his alma mater. He spent four years as a Choctaws player and was a student assistant from 1995-99.
Leaders at the 182-year-old Baptist institution anticipate the new team of faculty and staff will strengthen a school that's bursting at the seams with all its residence halls at capacity.
"MC has recruited a remarkably talented group of teachers and staff drawing them into those programs where we are experiencing the most significant growth," said Ron Howard, vice president for academic affairs.
Day classes for the fall semester begin Wednesday August 27. In addition to MC's main campus in Clinton and School of Law in downtown Jackson, the college operates branches at Madison and Brandon that serve working adults with evening classes.
PHOTO: Dr. Lee Royce, president of Mississippi College