MC Opens 184th Academic Year in August
July 27, 2009
Football fans should circle their calendars in blue and gold for the Backyard Brawl on Sept. 5. That's when the Mississippi College Choctaws clash with the Millsaps Majors in their annual pigskin rivalry. Let the games begin!
It's one of several key dates ahead as MC prepares to launch its 184th academic year. The nation's second oldest Baptist college, MC begins the 2009 football season with hopes of winning an American Southwest Conference championship. Well over 150 MC players are expected to suit up when gridiron season begins.
The Brawl matching the two college rivals in the capital city area will also promote a Jackson no-kill animal shelter. The 7 p.m. dogfight at Robinson-Hale Stadium opens the door for the Choctaws to avenge last year's stunning 42-6 defeat on the Millsaps campus.
Choctaws star quarterback Adam Shaffer, a former Jackson Academy standout, is back in action this fall after an injury sidelined him much of the 2008 season.
The Brawl that will raise awareness and generate donations to Community Action Rescue & Adoption, a financially struggling shelter at 960 North Flag Chapel Road. It costs $1,000 per day to operate the shelter that only receives private funds.
MC returns for a second home game Sept. 12 against the Patriots of the University of the Cumberlands. The game against the NAIA team from Kentucky kicks off at 1:30 p.m. on the Clinton campus. There are six home games on the Clinton campus this season so faculty and staff will have numerous opportunities to see the team led by Coach Norman Joseph. MC finished with a 5-5 record in 2008.
Other home games: a Sept 26 battle with Hardin-Simmons at 6 p.m., an Oct. 17 contest at 1 p.m. against Mary Hardin-Baylor; a Homecoming game on Oct. 31 versus the Howard Payne Yellowjackets with a 4 p.m. kickoff; and a Nov. 14 finale against Texas Lutheran with a 1 p.m. start.
The new MC academic year really heats up in late August. Move-in day for hundreds of MC students will be Saturday August 22. Students, family members and friends plus MC staffers will be lending a hand to make for a smooth process from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. A convocation for MC family and friends will be at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church Clinton with Hal Kitchens to deliver remarks.
Move-in will be a busy day for Joe Odenwald, the coordinator of student development. His job is to stand in front of campus and check people in, he said. A couple of hundred MC students will serve as volunteers to help. As a result, MC parents really won't have to haul a thing as students move in.
A big event on Odenwald's calendar in 2009-2010 is Family Weekend Oct 16-18. MC football against Mary Hardin Baylor on Saturday Oct. 17 takes center stage There will be a student talent show the evening of Oct. 16. An MC Parents Club reception featuring scoops of ice cream plus gatherings of MC social tribes will be part of it, too.
"It's a lot of fun. It will be a very rewarding weekend," Odenwald said. "That's when the fall weather gets good." There were more than 400 participants attending MC Family Weekend events last year.
During the rest of the year, MC staffers stay on the go as they help run 13 intramural sports - from hockey to frisbee golf.
Mississippi College President Lee Royce begins his eighth year at the leader of the Christian university. He will be in the spotlight as MC hosts the annual conference of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities in early October.
Royce is president of the group's board of directors. Phil Sutphin, president of East Central Community College, is the organization's incoming president. Last year's 75th annual conference was held at Delta State University. Similar conferences were at Jackson State University and Ole Miss in recent years.
Administrators from the state's public and private universities and colleges will join a list of top-notch speakers coming to the Clinton campus. The group seeks to promote goodwill among the institutions statewide and boost partnerships. Speakers for the Oct. 4-6 sessions will include: Belle Wheelan, president of the Commission on Colleges for the Georgia-based Southern Association of Colleges. Wheelan is the former president of 64,000-student Northern Virginia Community College and is a former Virginia secretary of education.
Based near Atlanta, SACS is the agency that oversees accreditation for 13,000 schools and school systems nationwide. School leaders will also gather informally for a reception at the Providence Hill Farm, home of MC's equestrian team. A golf outing is also in the works.
MC officials are working on a host of other events for 2009-2010 including the annual spring scholarship banquet on the Clinton campus. A number of prominent speakers are coming in the new year to address students and faculty at the MC School of Business and the MC School of Law in downtown Jackson.