New Mississippi College History Display Stirs Memories
July 24, 2014
Malcolm Culpepper is one of those guys who bleeds blue and gold no matter what the season.
Even his initials are a sure sign that this 1960 Mississippi College graduate stays on fire about his alma mater.
To show a little love, the Clinton resident donated his old MC freshman beanie to the university’s new history display that debuts this summer.
“I keep everything to remind me of the school,” Culpepper says. “I’ve known lots of people there.”
The history display is anchored by a series of splendid old photographs, and other interesting artifacts of Mississippi College life dating back to the 19th Century. Photos of the Navy’s V-12 program during the World War II era at MC are part of the collection. So are pictures of the first MC baseball team in 1904.
The collection will also showcase images of all-female Hillman College that merged with MC in the early 1940s. The display on Nelson Hall’s interior walls near the first floor lobby will be unveiled at the 2014 faculty/staff convocation on August 22.
Culpepper’s gift is part of the history project’s assortment of MC beanies dating from the 1930s through the early 1990s. In 1956, freshmen like the Okolona native were required to wear beanies for the first six weeks of the fall semester on the Clinton campus. They were also required to shave their heads during that era as well.
Those traditions have faded away, but not his love for Mississippi College.
From outstanding professors to MC’s Christian heritage and the friendly campus in Clinton, Culpepper offers plenty of reasons why he’s completely sold on the merits of a Mississippi College education. The 76-year-old Mississippian first got connected to MC when he visited his brother, Royce, at the Baptist-affiliated college in the 1950s.
A retired state employee who spent most of his 42-year career with the Department of Transportation and Department of Education, Culpepper went to work after earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration as an accounting major.
A member of MC’s 50 Year Club for alumni, Malcolm Culpepper is a big part of the MC family today. Two of his children, Missa Turman and Mac Culpepper, work on the staff at Mississippi College.
The director of telecommunications, Mac Culpepper explains some of his dad’s passion for all things MC, since he first walked through the front gates more than a half-century ago.
From the Mohawk haircuts to beating the drums during the week of Homecoming, Malcolm Culpepper and his brother, Royce, loved every minute of their college experience. “I laugh and tell people that Mississippi College had such an impact on him that his children’s initials are MC,” Mac Culpepper said. “He has developed a number of lifelong friends through his association with MC.”
It turned out, though, that Malcolm’s wife, the late Celia Culpepper, attended Millsaps College in nearby Jackson.
The MC Choctaws and Millsaps Majors were athletic rivals for decades. Despite their school differences, the couple married in 1958 and lived in the barracks behind First Baptist Church Clinton when he was finishing college. Malcolm’s collection of college memorabilia at home included his Millsaps beanie. He donated the purple beanie he wore when visiting his future wife at Millsaps to MC’s history display.
Photo: A 1960 Mississippi College graduate, Malcolm Culpepper of Clinton donated his old MC beanie to a new university history display that debuts Aug. 22 at Nelson Hall. His children, Missa Turman and Mac Culpepper, both MC staff members, join him for a photo outside the A.E. Wood Coliseum.