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Choctaw Football Standout, Legal Eagle, Real Estate Developer to Receive Award of Excellence at MC

C. Kent Adams, recipient of the 2023 Award of Excellence, said he supports Mississippi College because it is
C. Kent Adams, recipient of the 2023 Award of Excellence, said he supports Mississippi College because it is "a place where you can see Jesus, boldly and unapologetically, and where you can receive an excellent education."

C. Kent Adams earned the Aggie Heart Award as an offensive lineman at Texas A&M, obtained his juris doctor cum laude from the Southern Methodist University School of Law, became licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of Texas, and designed and developed “The Hills of Lone Star,” a 2,000-acre residential development in Anna, Texas.

But his life’s accomplishments originated on a dirt road one scorching summer day in rural Texas.

The son of James Moody Adams, a Mississippi College alum whose outstanding contributions to the Athletic Department led to the naming of the Moody Adams Field House on the Clinton campus, Kent was a highly sought-after football prospect with scholarship offers from a number of schools.

“I had decided to visit MC simply to honor my Dad,” he said. “At the time, I knew the Lord had placed a call on my life – to what, I did not know. I was working out on that hot, dusty road and praying that He would direct my path and that His will, not mine, would be fulfilled insofar as my college decision was concerned.

“That was when God placed MC heavily on my heart, really out of nowhere. I had other plans, but was determined to follow God’s leading. The Lord continued to speak to my heart, and during my visit to MC, it became abundantly clear that MC was where I belonged. It was a place where I could ‘be still and know that He is God’ and that it was the best place to hear Him and what He was calling me to.”

That decision led to a successful two-year stint as an MC student-athlete. Decades later, Adams renewed his commitment to his first institution of higher learning, lending his expertise in property management as a member of the Mississippi College Foundation Board. On Saturday, Oct. 21, he will receive the Award of Excellence from the National Alumni Association at MC.

The award honors men and women who have rendered distinguished service to Mississippi College. The honor is limited to those who, through a long period of years, have worked with marked intelligence and success to promote the highest interests of the University.

Adams and outstanding MC alumni selected for major Homecoming Awards in 2023 will be recognized during the Alumni Association Awards Brunch from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Anderson Hall on the second floor of the B.C. Rogers Student Center.

“While I feel undeserving of it, I am greatly proud and honored to receive this special award from MC,” Adams said. “What it means to me personally is that God most assuredly had a purpose for me at MC many years ago and that He emphatically is not finished with my purpose at MC yet.

“Regarding any personal award, my heartfelt response is humility, gratitude, and a fervent desire that God would be glorified – less of me and more of Him.”

Jim Turcotte, vice president and executive director of the Mississippi College Alumni Association, said Adams was the “perfect choice” for the MC Award of Excellence.

“He never lost his love for Mississippi College,” Turcotte said. “He picked right up after nearly 40 years and is serving MC faithfully. He made a strong impression on me as a freshman player on the MC football team, and today, I consider Kent to be one of my closest friends.”

Adams, who attended MC from fall 1977-spring 1979, refers to MC as a “Light on a hill.”

“What appeals to me the most about MC – then and now – is that it is a place where you can see Jesus, boldly and unapologetically, and where you can receive an excellent education,” he said. “It’s a place where a young person can grow spiritually and emotionally, and parents can be assured that their core values will be supported and encouraged in their child while at MC – not denigrated or undermined.

“Moreover, a student at MC is seen and loved. They are not lost in the crowd or treated merely as a number. My support for MC stems from my belief that advancing the cause of Christ and the kingdom of God is at the core of its educational mission, a unique and precious rarity in the world today. I believe that God can and will reach and change the world through the students, alumni, teachers, and administrators at MC.”

A two-year letterman on the Choctaw football team, Adams participated in a range of activities while pursuing a double major in chemistry and religion. Voted Class Favorite during his freshman and sophomore years, he was a beau for the Laguna Social Tribe, earned the MC Sportsmanship Award twice, and was a member of the 1978 Gulf South Conference championship track team. Active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Baptist Student Union on campus, tutoring at the Baptist Children’s Village remains among his fondest memories. One student in particular stands out.

“Working with and getting to know Sean Milner was one of the greatest joys and blessings of my life,” he said.

Milner, executive director of the Baptist Children’s Village ministry, was a “troubled” seventh-grade student living at the village when Adams got off the bus from MC and announced he would be Milner’s tutor.

“Kent was as kind and encouraging as he was physically enormous,” Milner said. “I immediately began making passing grades. His kindness and encouragement were far more important and inspiring than the studying skills he taught me.

“Kent invited me to engage with and spend time with his family. They would pick me up and take me to MC football games, where I watched Kent play. Kent would invite me to tag along while he went around campus. Kent even took me to a Christmas party he hosted with many of his friends. I cannot adequately explain or estimate the impact that had on me. However, I can say that I felt valuable and knew I wanted to be a Choctaw.”

Most important to Milner, Adams modeled what it meant to be a Christian.

“Kent had a strong and committed relationship with Christ,” he said. “Jesus was real to him, and I could see it in his words and deeds. If Kent could trust and follow Jesus, then so could I. Jesus was working in my life and my struggles.

“Incredible impact is how I often think of Kent. At the beginning of his college years, he engaged and invested in a kid who was struggling. Of course, I am so grateful, but the thing for which I am most grateful is that Kent brought me into his world. I was a part of his friends and his family. The impact of such a community cannot be measured.”

Milner went on to attend Mississippi College, meet his wife, Elizabeth, and obtain his juris doctor from the MC School of Law. His son has a master’s degree from MC, and his daughter teaches at the Christian University. After owning his own law firm for more than two decades, Milner now leads the Baptist Children’s Village.

“I have a life that crushes the statistics,” he said. “I will be forever grateful to my great big football-playing tutor, Kent Adams.”

Adams’ time at MC was filled with personal interactions that helped shape the lives of others.

“The Lord moved in some very special ways in my life and the lives of players, coaches, and training staff, and I was blessed to see it,” Adams said. “Some of my fondest memories include times with my roommate, Bob Bailey, and other teammates, coaches, and staff. I grew in Christ because of these relationships, and I will always cherish my time with my brothers at MC.

“Seeing teammates and even coaches commit their lives to Christ – some for the first time and others recommitting their lives to Jesus – were glorious, memorable times that I will never forget.”

One of his most impactful memories took place in the early hours of a morning after a long bus ride home from a close football loss, when one of his coaches asked Adams to share the hope of the Gospel with him.

“In the dungeon-like locker room under the old football stadium, he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior,” Adams said. “Amen.”

Although his life’s journey eventually took him away from Mississippi College, Adams said he has always felt a spiritual and emotional tie to the Christian University. Living in Texas, he would occasionally connect with some of his former MC classmates and visit campus whenever possible. It wasn’t until 2019 that he rekindled a closer relationship with the University.

“Jim Turcotte encouraged me to engage with President (Blake) Thompson and the MC Foundation to further the cause of Christ through involvement with MC,” he said. “I am now involved with the Foundation Board and make numerous visits to MC each year for meetings, but also at other times to simply be reminded of my many fond memories and the promise of MC’s future. I always feel God’s presence at MC in a powerful way.

“I have been an athlete, an engineer, a lawyer, and a real estate developer, as well as a husband, father, and grandfather. The life lessons that I learned, the love that I received from classmates, faculty, and staff, the instances of God’s love, power, and grace that I experienced, the warm, peaceful atmosphere that I enjoyed, the examples of Christlikeness that I saw played out before me, and the excellent education that I received prepared me personally and professionally for everything that has followed in my life. It has served as a stout foundation for everything that has followed.

“If a young person wants to change the world for Jesus, there is no better place to attend college today.”

Tickets to the Homecoming Brunch cost $25 apiece, and RSVP is required. Click here to register or for more information.