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Education

Graduation speaker: Hinds CC Utica Campus ‘laid the foundation’

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Lia Smith

In the fourth and final spring 2023 graduation ceremony on May 13, Hinds Community College honored students at the Utica Campus and celebrated the “Golden” Hinds Agricultural High School Class of 1973.

The graduating class of 114 students gathered at the iconic bell tower, the only original remaining structure of the former Utica Institute, for a special ceremony before processing to J.D. Boyd Gym for graduation.

hinds bell ringing ceremony

Graduates who participated in a special bell ringing ceremony were, from left, Shymaya Dixon of Utica, Jaylan Blount of Jackson and Ezekiel Harris of Canton. They graduated from Hinds Community College on May 13 at a Utica Campus ceremony. (Brad Smith/Hinds Community College)

Also recognized were 71 members of the Class of 1973 who wore gold robes with maroon sashes.

Offering the invocation and benediction was Omarion Luss of Clinton. A guard on the Men’s Basketball team his freshman year, he was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa and was among students who received an inaugural Walter Washington Achievement Award. He plans to transfer to Mississippi State University.

Omarion Luss

Omarion Luss of Clinton, left, offered the invocation and benediction for the May 13 ceremony at Hinds Community College’s Utica Campus. (Brad Smith/Hinds Community College)

The graduation speaker was Lia Smith of Columbia. She played forward on the Women’s Basketball Team for two years and was named a National Junior College Athletic Association All-Academic Second Team Member. She plans to major in Electrical Engineering at Jackson State University.

“This college has laid the foundation for the careers we have chosen to pursue,” Smith said. “It has not only filled our minds with knowledge but gave us a chance for the hands-on experience that is not always given at every college. This campus may be smaller than average, but it is filled with people who push us to become our best as well as students who strive to become their best.”

Three other ceremonies were held May 10 and 11. In all, Hinds awarded 1,526 degrees and certificates to 1,107 graduates. A number of graduates received more than one credential.

In total, 239 students graduated cum laude with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59; 190 graduated magna cum laude with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.99 and 82 graduated summa cum laude with a grade point average of 4.0.

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