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Mississippi College Leaders Salute Alumna of the Year Dr. Sharon Martin

Dr. Sharon Martin, Mississippi College's 2013 Alumna of the Year (photo by Chase Richardson)

Mississippi College leaders applaud the selection of Dr. Sharon Martin as the university’s 2013 Alumna of the Year.

A physician at the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield since 1996 and longtime MC supporter, Dr. Martin will join others receiving honors at the Christian university’s Alumni Awards Dinner on October 25. The Friday evening program at Anderson Hall on the Clinton campus begins at 6 p.m.

A Jackson resident, Dr. Martin completed a six-year term on the Mississippi College Board of Trustees in 2012.

During that time, the Yazoo City native faithfully supported university projects ranging from the renovation of the biology laboratory to making major contributions to the institution’s scholarship fund.

“As a parent who sent three sons through Mississippi College, Sharon Martin certainly knows MC from the inside and employs her first hand knowledge to make it a better place in so many ways,” said President Lee Royce. “We appreciate her many contributions to the work of Mississippi College.”

Others in the family at Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College are just as delighted with her selection for the prestigious award from the Alumni Association.

Dr. Martin “is and has been a faithful and loyal supporter of MC with her time, talent and financial resources,” said alumnus Bill Dye of Oxford. “Her beautiful smile and pleasant demeanor and disposition reflects so favorably on the institution where she received her undergraduate degree.”

One faculty member that stands out during her undergraduate days is Dr. John Legg, a Clinton resident who’s the retired chairman of the university’s chemistry department.

“He encouraged me at a particularly difficult time,” Dr. Martin said. “I wanted to go to medical school, but I did not come to MC with a strong science background, and I was considering dropping out of school.”

But a conversation with the distinguished chemistry professor caused her discouraging thoughts to evaporate. “He told me that I could do it, biology, chemistry, all of it, if I wanted to. I am sure he does not know how many times I have recalled that talk.”

A 1972 MC biology graduate, Martin earned her medical degree Magna Cum Laude from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1983. Her medical practice was at the Mississippi State Board of Health from 1985 through 1991. She served a psychiatry residency at UMC in Jackson from 1991 through 1996 before joining the Mississippi State Hospital in Rankin County.

She and her husband, Dr. Bobby Graham, are the proud parents of three sons, Aaron, Caleb, and Jacob Graham, all Mississippi College graduates and successful young professionals. Aaron Graham is a Harvard Law School graduate who works for a law firm in Jackson. Caleb is in his 4th year at UMC. Jacob is a UMC graduate.

It was not until 2003, Dr. Martin said, when her oldest son, Jacob, enrolled at Mississippi College that “I began to see how special this place and the faculty and staff are.”

The Mississippi College education her three sons received “was outstanding and served them well,” she said. “Watching them have such a fun, but challenging college experience in this environment really made Bobby and me thankful they ended up at Mississippi College.”

Dr. Martin remembers her interest in becoming a physician goes back to the time she was a second grader. Her father was the principal at her school, so she always knew where the first aid kit could be found – either the secretary’s office or Sharon’s “office” behind a tree on the playground. Growing up, Sharon wished she could take care of ill family members.

In Mississippi, Dr. Martin is working in a state with extraordinary healthcare needs. “Much of our state’s population does not understand how to care for themselves or a loved one with a mental or physical illness,” she said. “They need continuity in their care.”

Dr. Martin clearly made the right career choice. “I cannot imagine a field I could love any more than medicine.”

Her deep love for her alma mater, and keen understanding of both academics and the professional world of work have enhanced Mississippi College, says Ron Howard, vice president for academic affairs. During her six years on the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee, Dr. Martin worked hard, he said, to “strengthen our curriculum and serve our students in manifold and remarkable ways.”

For more information on the Alumni Awards dinner or other MC Homecoming events Oct. 24-26, contact Lori Bobo of the Alumni Affairs Office at 601.925.3252 or