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Jan Lemon Leads Mississippi College Psychology Department

Dr. Jan Lemon chairs the MC Department of Psychology and Counseling

Jan Lemon discovered her calling in life as she filled in as a counselor at her son’s private school in Flowood.

More than two decades ago, Lemon’s work at University Christian School, now Hartfield Academy, proved to be the perfect fit. So is her new assignment as Mississippi College’s Psychology & Counseling Department chair.

After serving 18 years as a Florence High senior counselor and six years as a counseling professor on the Clinton campus, Lemon began her new duties at Mississippi College on June 1.

The Mississippian hasn’t slowed down this summer. Sandwiched between recent out-of-state meetings and sessions with Lowrey Hall colleagues, the Florence resident mapped out some key goals. “We want to have the best counseling program in the Southeast.”

At the heart of the enterprise, Mississippi College’s doctorate in professional counseling, and other graduate programs are housed in Jackson’s Fondren district. MC offices in the artsy blue building above Rooster’s restaurant stay busy year-round.

MC’s doctorate in professional counseling attracts bi-lingual Hispanic educators as far away as Laredo, Texas near the Mexican border. Professors at the Christian university work with two feeder schools in the Lone Star State’s Rio Grande River region. Located nearly 760 miles away from the Clinton campus, Texas doctoral students are “very pleased with our program.”

MC leaders are delighted with Lemon’s leadership style and what it means to advance a vibrant department on the Clinton campus, in Jackson, and in Texas. Jan earned her master’s at MC in counseling education in 1995 and a doctorate in the field at Mississippi State University in 2010. She joined the MC faculty as a counseling professor in August 2011. In 2004, she received her doctorate in Christian counseling at Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary in Shreveport.

“Dr. Jan Lemon is a thorough counseling professional,” says Ron Howard, vice president for academic affairs. “Her commitment to Christian-caring makes her an ideal fit to lead the Psychology and Counseling Department at Mississippi College.”

Lemon brings practical experience, academic training and superb management skills to “benefit both the department and its students immensely for years to come,” Howard added.

MC School of Education Dean Cindy Melton made the appointment of the licensed professional counselor for several reasons. “Dr. Lemon comes to this position with a wealth of experiences and qualifications,” she said. “She’s an exciting teacher with high standards as well as a gifted leader. She is well-respected throughout campus and within the counseling community.”

Her passion for service combined with her integrity will result in wonderful things for the department, Melton said.

Mississippi College psychology and counseling graduates are preparing for a workplace that looks promising.

In the wake of several recent mass shootings across the USA, every day stresses and other concerns, the federal government seeks to help people facing mental health issues, Lemon said. “A lot of federal grants are out there.”

Lemon wants America’s second oldest Baptist college to meet employment needs on several fronts. Starting in Fall 2018, Mississippi College will offer a minor in Christian counseling.

She’s promoting internships for MC students. About 200 internships are available to graduate students in counseling, marriage & family studies and mental health.

Away from the classroom, she focuses on community service in metro Jackson. The 1985 Belhaven University graduate served on the Central Mississippi Salvation Army Board of Directors and remains active at First Baptist Church of Richland.

Lemon has been recognized by her peers. In 2015, she was nominated to be the School of Education’s Distinguished Professor of the Year at Mississippi College.