Thanks to April DBT's MVP Recipient, Gore Arts Complex Renovation Keeps Moving Forward
When the Mississippi College Family gathers for the dedication of the Gore Arts Complex – the highly anticipated studio space, auditorium, and gathering place for the Department of Art and the Clinton community on MC’s East Campus – Nathan Jarnagin will have plenty to celebrate.
In the face of nationwide Supply Chain delays and construction issues, the administrative assistant in MC’s Department of Art has played a critical role in keeping the ongoing renovation project flowing. Jarnagin has called upon his experience in construction and the five years he spent as a structural engineer in MC’s Physical Plant to make sure the correct supplies are available when needed most.
It’s a remarkable procurement-and-scheduling juggling act that has landed him Dr. Blake Thompson’s Most Valuable Person Award for April.
While surprising Jarnagin with the award outside his office in the Aven Fine Arts Building on April 16, MC’s president commended him for his important work assisting with the Gore Arts Complex renovation.
“This incredible project couldn’t be done without you,” Thompson told him. “It’s going to be the biggest art story in the state of Mississippi. Your colleagues are all appreciative of you. Many of them have complimented you and the work you do, and a number of them advocated for you for this award.”
Thompson and Lori Bobo, last month’s DBT’s MVP winner, presented Jarnagin with the honorary DBT’s MVP bobblehead, which is passed from one award recipient to the next each month, a T-shirt, a special parking place for a month, and a $50 gift card.
Dr. Randolph B. Miley, professor and chair of art, said from the day Jarnagin transferred to the Department of Art, he has been a popular figure among faculty, staff, and students.
“He left the Physical Plant to come here, and he never skipped a beat – he was one of us immediately,” Miley said. “We don’t do anything as a faculty without him. His time at the Physical Plant completely rounded his whole experience. His skills are incredible - his computer skills, accounting skills, and woodworking and building skills.
“That’s a real plus for an art department.”
Dr. Stephanie Dickson Busbea, professor and art education program coordinator, praised Jarnagin’s talent.
“He has so many skills and abilities,” Busbea said. “He goes above and beyond whatever is asked or required of him. He just always has a great attitude.
“He always has a smile.”
Jarnagin said he was surprised by the honor.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” said the Clinton resident, who is working toward a degree in communication from MC. “It’s an honor and a privilege and very special. I’m humbled, but very excited about being the MVP. It’s great.”
Jarnagin said Mississippi College is special to his family. His wife, Randi, serves as an administrative assistant in the Department of Psychology and coordinator of Student Support Services, while his son, JT McNamee, is an art education major and music minor at MC.
He takes pride in helping coordinate the renovation of the complex that the late Dr. Sam Gore envisioned for future generations of fine arts students at Mississippi College, but like any worthwhile project, it has presented some challenges.
“It’s just a tough time for construction,” he said. “There are things you have to be able to work through, primarily the shipping of building materials for the renovation to carry on. When certain materials aren’t available, you have to figure out whether there can be substitutions so the job can be done as quickly as possible.
“I’m fortunate to be at the right place at the right time to determine what the department’s wants and needs are regarding the renovation. It’s a privilege to be in a position to help make sure things are going the way they should.”