Hinds Community College will recognize Foundation/Alumni honorees and induct five into the Hinds Sports Hall of Fame at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 19 as part of the annual Homecoming festivities.
Being honored are Jimmy Morton of Brandon, formerly of Raymond, Alumnus of the Year; Alexander Gandy of Utica, Young Alumnus of the Year; Jackie Granberry of Raymond, Alumni Service Award recipient and Foundation/Alumni Hall of Fame, and Adam Jenkins Jr. of Madison, Foundation/Alumni Hall of Fame.
Being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame are Celeste Bryant Bramlett of Madison, Jeff Henderson of McAlmont, Ark., James Michael Smith of Florence, Fred Taylor of Crystal Springs and Lee Toney of Mount Olive.
The recognition will be at Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus. Admission is free and the public is invited.
Hinds will play Itawamba Community College at 7 p.m. at Joe Renfroe Stadium. The Homecoming Court will be presented.
Jimmy Morton, Alumnus of the Year
Wingfield High School junior Jimmy Morton (1982) was so excited about making Hinds Community College his next step in life he came to the Raymond Campus a year too soon and sat down with new counselor Jackie Mangum while she carefully crafted a class schedule for him that wound up in the trash.
“I was so eager to get here I guess I came a year ahead of time,” he said, laughing.
That was just the beginning of his relationship with Hinds and Mangum, who later became Jackie Granberry and served as co-founder of the Hinds Connection student recruiting group.
A year later, Morton was awarded the R.E. Woolley Scholarship, started classes at Hinds, became a member of Hinds Connection and dove into a whirlwind of other activities. Over time, Morton became a staple at Hinds, emceeing numerous events over the years, serving as an Alumni officer, on the Hinds Community College Foundation Board of Directors and Hinds Board of Trustees, giving of his time and talents.
In 1995 Morton was named as the Alumni Service Award recipient. Now, he is the 2023 Alumnus of the Year.
“Very few people could represent Hinds as Alumnus of the Year as well as Jimmy Morton. From his years of public service and success as an entrepreneur, Mr. Morton embodies the mission of the college, helping others find their purpose, passion and profession,” said Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik. “Further, the work that he has done on behalf of the Foundation and now his leadership on the Board of Trustees evidence his servant’s heart. Maybe most importantly, his Christian character and gentle spirit embody the values and enduring legacy of Hinds Community College.”
After leaving Hinds, Morton went to Mississippi State University and soon after returned to Hinds County. His eclectic student life at Hinds led to an eclectic professional life. He has been a Hinds County Justice Court judge, an auctioneer and a restaurateur, at one point owning Chimneyville restaurant in Jackson. These days he lives near Brandon with his wife Lesley and has a farm in Leake County. He represents Rankin County on the Board of Trustees, serving as vice president, and serves on the Foundation Board of Directors.
“This institution has opened doors for me to do so many things. I can’t imagine who I would be today without it,” he said.
“There are a lot of things to invest your time in, and there are a lot of things to support. But few things mean more than being able to help somebody move from this place to where they want to go. Education is something we can give that matters.”
Alexander Gandy, Young Alumnus of the Year
Alexander Gandy (2013) was highly respected as a Hinds student and now he is also highly respected in his profession.
Gandy, 30, of Utica has been named the 2023 Young Alumnus of the Year. He received his associate degree in 2013 from Hinds and transferred to Mississippi College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. He attended Medical Sales College and is now a Surgical Consultant for Nerves and Bones Inc. to neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons.
“I always wanted to do something in the medical field, so I decided to take a risk on myself, and I entered Medical Sales College,” Gandy said.
Medical Sales College is a competitive school in Sarasota, Fla. While there Gandy was trained in Orthopedic Reconstruction /Trauma and was certified in Basic Operating Room Protocols and Advanced Anatomy. Today Gandy assists doctors during surgery as he consults with them on the highly advanced spinal and other orthopedic implants made by his employer, Nerves and Bones Inc.
Gandy said his experiences with Hinds Connection, 2011-2013, instilled in him the confidence he would need in the operating room. His outgoing personality and knowledge of the college made him a perfect fit to be a student recruiter and ambassador.
“It allowed me to meet people of higher status – such as governors, legislators and other famous people that have a relationship with Hinds,” Gandy said. “Having interactions with so many people like that gave me the confidence to do what I do today – talk to surgeons and assist them in the operating room.”
Gandy was brought up in the Hinds family. His mother, Loretta Gandy, instilled in him the importance of an education. She worked for the college his entire life, for over 30 years as an administrator on the Utica Campus.
Mark Stanton, former Director of Student Recreation, said he quickly noticed Gandy’s work ethic and his ability to put events together while juggling multiple tasks and on a tight deadline.
“As a student worker he did everything that you want a student worker to do – work hard, show up every day, and on time, learn on the job and have fun,” said Stanton, who is now Director of Facilities Usage. “He also did a phenomenal job as a part of Hinds Connection.”
Even after he transferred to Mississippi College, Gandy came back to volunteer at Hinds events and help out in any way he could.
“In all my years as a Hinds Connection sponsor, I can truly say Gandy was one of the most special members because of his personality, people skills and just overall goodness,” Vice President Emeritus Jackie Granberry.
Jackie Granberry, Alumni Service Award Recipient and Foundation/Alumni Hall of Fame
Vice President Emeritus Jackie Granberry had so many different jobs at Hinds in 42 years that it might tax her memory to name them all. And she only applied for one: the first one she got.
A Pearl High School graduate, Jackie Mangum was fresh out of the University of Southern Mississippi with a master’s degree when she landed a counseling job at Hinds in 1979. She retired twice, the first time in 2016 and the second time in January 2022 as Executive Director of the Hinds Community College Foundation, with stops in between as a recruiter and, eventually, Vice President of Advancement.
“I wore many hats at Hinds,” she said. “It was just an amazing time and I loved it,” she said. “The one thing that never really changed was working with the greatest people and also helping students. That’s what it’s all about.”
For her dedicated service to Hinds, she is not only the 2023 Alumni Service Award recipient, she has also been named to the Foundation/Alumni Hall of Fame, the first time a double honor has been bestowed.
“If I was asked to choose an all-star team to represent Hinds, our 2023 Alumni Service Award winner, Jackie Granberry, would be my first selection,” said Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik. “No one has given more selflessly and loved other more genuinely, on behalf of Hinds, than has she. In her many years of service to the college, Jackie raised funds, she raised friends and thankfully for all of us, she raised leaders from within the college community.”
President Emeritus Dr. Clyde Muse figured out pretty quickly he had made a good hire.
“She has a personality about her that is contagious. She also had boundless energy. She didn’t know when to quit working, and everything that I would assign her, she’d do a great job at it. So, she kept getting promotions and assignments of different kinds.”
One of Granberry’s favorite job duties was as a co-founder and sponsor of Hinds Connection, the student public relations and recruiting group. “The energy and enthusiasm for Hinds and the pride they showed in representing the college kept me energized,” she said.
The Foundation’s primary purpose has always been funding student scholarships. Granberry’s family has three scholarships, one in memory of her parents, her husband Kenny’s parents, and one in her own honor established and fully funded by the Foundation Board of Directors upon her retirement.
Granberry continues to stay connected to Hinds. “I loved being a part of Hinds because, even on the hard days, you are never alone. There was always a team there to support you,” she said.
Adam Jenkins, Foundation/Alumni Hall of Fame
Vice President Emeritus Adam Jenkins was a payroll clerk and cashier when he started working for a small historically black junior college in 1967. By the time he retired in 2002, he was a Vice President for Business Services at the largest community college in Mississippi.
He has continued to draw on his business acumen through several stints as a member of the Hinds Community College Foundation Board of Directors. Because of his outstanding dedication to both Utica Junior College and Hinds Community College, he has been named to the 2023 Foundation/Alumni Hall of Fame, joining long-time colleague Jackie Granberry.
“Adam’s commitment to our institution, its students, faculty and staff, and our Foundation are second to none,” said Foundation Executive Director Matt Jones. “We have been blessed to have someone with his knowledge and expertise continue to guide us as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors. I have been especially grateful for his presence.”
In 1982, the federal courts ordered a merger of the two junior colleges, Utica and Hinds, in the same county, just miles apart. Those were challenging days, especially for Utica and its employees.
“The problem was the unknown. Everybody was suspicious that the Utica Campus was going to be closed. Then it came out it wasn’t going to be closed,” Jenkins said. “We had two salary guides at that time – one for the Utica Campus and one for the Raymond Campus. So we did away with the one for the Utica Campus, and everybody there got an increase in pay.”
Now-Hinds President Emeritus Dr. Clyde Muse realized that Utica was on solid financial footing because of Jenkins’ oversight. Dr. Muse called in Jenkins to take a look at Hinds’ finances and help improve them.
“Everybody (at Raymond) was overspending their budgets. So, I told him that and, of course, I thought it was just a conversation between he and I,” Jenkins said. “He gets up at the next faculty convocation and says, ‘Mr. Jenkins tells me that everybody is overspending their budget.’ And my job was easy after that. Nobody wants to be accused of overspending their budget. After a few years, we had a nice fund balance.”
Jenkins moved from the Utica Campus to the Administration Building on the Raymond Campus – a step he called “really challenging” – and was eventually promoted to Vice President for Business Services. In 2011, the building where Jenkins and his staff grappled with the financial “headaches” – his word – was renamed Adam Jenkins Jr. Hall.
He and his wife Margaree established a scholarship. “You’d be surprised at the number of students that scholarship helps. They would not have been able to attend college if they had not received that scholarship. “It’s just gives joy to be able to contribute to those students. A real joy.”See a typo? Report it here.