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Hinds CC names Mark Chaney 2019 Alumnus of the Year

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Mark Chaney, Hinds CC Alumnus of the Year for 2019

Mark Chaney’s devotion to Hinds Community College started early and continues strong today.

Chaney, who has been named the 2019 Alumnus of the Year, is a native of Bovina in Warren County. He transferred to the University of Mississippi at the end of his second year without technically graduating from Hinds.

He was so determined to have a Hinds credential, however, that he transferred credits back so the record would reflect his Hinds degree. Although that’s common today, in 1950 it was unusual.

His devotion is especially remarkable for someone who didn’t have the best start at Hinds. He went out for football but damaged his knee and immediately ended any hopes of a football career.

“But they were so nice at Hinds to provide me an additional half scholarship by letting me clean up after classes. I was so lucky that the area they assigned me to clean up was the home [economics] department,” Chaney said. That job also made him popular in Shangri-La, the residence hall where he lived, because it meant extra food for him and his buddies.

Despite going home most weekends to help on the family farm, Chaney was involved in campus activities. He was vice president of his class. He spent two years in the International Relations Club sponsored by the legendary coach Jobie Harris, including serving as club president.

“That was one of the things I thoroughly enjoyed, being with him and being active in the club,” Chaney said. He was among delegates of the club who represented the college at a convention in Atlanta, an experience he still relishes.

After finishing an education degree from Ole Miss, Chaney taught and coached one year in Durant, Miss. Both of his parents, Mark and Maud Chaney, were educators so the field was a natural for him. But in trying to provide for his growing family, Chaney decided to go into a new line of work with oil and gas companies.

He was the district marketing manager for Citgo Oil Co. for 15 years, working mostly in Florida. “I kept asking to be transferred to Mississippi. My parents were getting older and needed help on the farm,” he said.

He landed in Columbus, Miss., for a few years before he decided he needed to return home for good. He got a job with Lion Oil Co. and moved his family back to Bovina.

Back home again, he entered public service. He was elected to the Warren County School Board, then to a term as a state representative, from 1972-1976, and then as chancery clerk of Warren County, serving from 1976-1984.

He later worked as an attendance counselor for the Vicksburg Warren School District, was a licensed real estate broker and a cattle farmer. But one constant throughout his years has been involvement in Hinds Community College.

As a state representative, he worked on legislation to help with establishing vocational-technical programs.

As chancery clerk, “I had the opportunity to help Hinds a lot, keeping up with county funds that went to Hinds. We were always able to keep those invested,” he said.

His greatest contribution to the college may have come when he was vice president of the Warren County School Board before the county and city school districts merged in 1987. In this role, Chaney was instrumental in helping to secure the land where the Hinds Vicksburg-Warren Campus now sits. He was among bidders for a piece of foreclosed land that was up for auction. The board authorized a certain amount, but a counter-bidder pushed the bids over that limit.

Representatives continued bidding, however, and got the land. “We topped it. We were over the amount that we were authorized to bid,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for the fact that we went above what we were authorized to do, none of this would be here.”

Since then, he has served terms as president of the Hinds Alumni Association, established a scholarship in his parents’ names and continued to attend many Hinds Community College events, including the annual 50+ lunch and the Clyde Donnell and Othel Mendrop Memorial Golf Tournament.

“Mr. Chaney still comes to campus to see the progress we are making for the Vicksburg-Warren community,” said Vice President Marvin Moak. “His passion for the community and his dedication for the campus are simply unbelievable. He has always worked to ensure the campus is serving the community needs.

“For the Chaney family, education at Hinds Community College, and the Vicksburg-Warren Campus he helped establish, are so important. Both his son, David, and daughter-in-law, Kay, dedicated their careers to teaching on it.”

Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse has known Chaney since he was in the Legislature.

“Mark Chaney has been, as long as I can remember, very supportive of Hinds. He is very deserving of this award,” Muse said. “He has exhibited that love for Hinds through his family and through a scholarship he has funded. When we started going to the Board of Supervisors asking them to levy the millage for the new George-Oakes Building in Vicksburg, he was right there in the middle of it, supporting it.”

In May, the auditorium in the Loviza Building on the Hinds Vicksburg-Warren Campus was named in his honor.

“Hinds has done a lot for me, and I like to return the favor,” he said. “You don’t do things for recognition. You try to do it for education, for something that would be worthwhile for the community,” Chaney said.

“I’m certainly blessed to be considered or that Hinds would bestow on me.”

Chaney will be honored at halftime during Hinds’ homecoming football game Oct. 3 when the school plays Coahoma Community College. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. An Alumni Recognition Dinner honoring him as Alumnus of the Year, the Alumni Service Award recipient and the 2019 Hinds Sports Hall of Fame inductees will begin at 5 p.m. at Mayo Fieldhouse.

Also featured at halftime will be the Homecoming Court, crowing of the queen and performances of the Hinds Community College Eagles band, Hi-Steppers and Alumni Hi-Steppers at Gene Murphy Field at Joe Renfroe Stadium in Raymond.

For tickets or more information, contact Libby Posey at 601-857-3350.

On Oct. 5, the Alumni Tennis Tournament will be held at the Cleon McKnight Tennis Center on the Raymond Campus. Play begins at 9 a.m. For information, contact Jacki Millet at 601-857-3564.

 

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