Leaders at Mississippi College and Hinds CC Strengthen Partnerships
Jacob Mahaffey dreams of becoming a lawyer to help Mississippi’s elderly and families. Eventually, he wants to own a spacious ranch or farm.
A Mississippi College junior, Mahaffey spent his first two years receiving a top-notch education on the Rankin campus of Hinds Community College. The Hinds experience prepared the Puckett resident for academic life at Mississippi’s biggest private university.
The 21-year-old Puckett High graduate reflects a growing pool of students thriving as Hinds Eagles before becoming MC Choctaws. It’s a partnership that began generations ago at the two colleges in Central Mississippi. Recently, MC President Blake Thompson met for lunch in Clinton with Hinds President Clyde Muse to help make the bonds even stronger and discuss other topics.
The Hinds president since 1978, Dr. Muse remains a Mississippi higher education icon. The Mississippian frequently visits the Capitol to press for more funding for Mississippi’s 15 two-year schools serving nearly 100,000 students.
The 44-year-old Dr. Thompson is a newcomer as MC’s top leader, a post he’s held since July 2018 with his inauguration on the Clinton campus set for March 29. The Rienzi native is familiar with reports showing Hinds is Mississippi College’s biggest feeder school.
As they enjoyed cheeseburgers at Obie’s restaurant and the fellowship time, the two college leaders hope to see more students making a seamless transition.
Jake Mahaffey is the type of Hinds grad that’s a terrific fit at America’s second oldest Baptist college.
A member of the Phi Theta Kappa alumni group, a flag football player in intramurals, and member of Crossroads Baptist Church in Pelahatchie, Jacob stays involved in activities away from Mississippi College classrooms.
A May 2018 Hinds CC graduate, he’s among 84 Hinds transfer students attending Mississippi College in Fall 2018. That’s up from 78 former Hinds students in Fall 2017. There were 56 Hinds transfers enrolled at MC in 2015.
The transition for Jacob from one college to the next went well.
“Hinds helped me greatly. I went to a very small high school in Puckett, Mississippi where I had a graduating class of 58, and we were considered a large class. Going straight to a four-year university would have been a culture shock for me, so I picked Hinds and I’m so glad I did.”
The Hinds chapter of Phi Theta Kappa along with honor programs on the Pearl campus were positives for Mahaffey. “It placed me around students who were motivated to do good academically which in turn motivated me to do the same.”
The political science major plans to hit the books in a couple of years at MC Law School in Jackson.
Taking a similar path is Chandler Abney, a Puckett High grad. His Hinds experience, says the Florence resident, “prepared me for Mississippi College. And the transition was very smooth.”
Every one of his Hinds credits transferred to Mississippi College. A 20-year-old public relations major, Abney is due to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree.
A few years ago, Hinds and MC school leaders signed a two plus two agreement. The partnership offers a more convenient way for Hinds students to pursue a bachelor’s degree at an accelerated pace at Mississippi College. It is geared towards working adults over age 25. The program allows students to earn degrees in business administration, communication and sociology during classes two evenings per week at Mississippi College.
Hinds isn’t the only two-year school with many alums taking MC classes. In 2016, there were 51 Holmes Community College transfers attending Mississippi College. The 2019 Choctaws football roster includes 27 Mississippi two-year college transfers. They include twins Derric and Detric Hawthorn, MC seniors who transferred from Jones County Junior College.