Co-Lin Natchez holds commencement ceremonies

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Hugs, cheers, tears and smiles all were evident Friday night for the 31st commencement of Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Natchez campus.

&uot;I can honestly say this is one of the nights I enjoy the most Š and the least,&uot; said Dr. Ronald E. Nettles, campus dean prior to graduation.

&uot;It is rewarding to see our graduates head out into the next step of their professional or academic careers knowing we had a part in their success so far,&uot; Nettles said. &uot;Yet, it is sad to see so many students we have come to respect and enjoy leave our school.&uot;

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A record number &045; 176 students &045; were eligible to graduate and more than 130 attended graduation ceremonies at the Natchez Convention Center.

Secretary of State Eric Clark, commencement speaker, told the graduates, &uot;We have a lot in our country today that is negative. We have a lot that will tear us down … that would tear our values down…&uot;

He said family and church are &uot;under attack,&uot; and urged the graduates &uot;to decide, if you haven’t already, that you’re going to be part of the solution; you’re not going to be part of the problem.&uot;

He reminded the graduates of what he called &uot;the five characterists of leadership.&uot; They are &uot;vision, courage, being one of the people that know other people, brass, and having a moral core.

&uot;Again, I challenge you to consider that the most important of those is the last one of which is having a strong, strong, gut level moral core. … Know that you want to be part of improving your community, rather than tearing it down.&uot;

An emotional James Allen, a Co-Lin Natchez Hall of Fame inductee, said in his speech, &uot;We realize we have met a great challenge in our lives, and have earned this graduation. … But we realize that as one challenge is met, we leave here tonight facing many more.

&uot;We will carry many things with us to the various universities that we will attend in the near future. But the most important tool we will carry for the rest of our lives is the caring sense of family that we can get only at Co-Lin Natchez.&uot;

Co-Lin President Dr. Howell C. Garner presented degrees and certificates, while Co-Lin Dean Dr. Paul Johnson conferred the degrees. Eugene Bates, chairman of the board of trustees, also attended.

In her closing prayer, Nila Green of Natchez, another Hall of Fame inductee, said, &uot;Father, through you we have all reached a milestone in our lives. Now, as we go out tonight in different directions striving to reach greater heights, we as that you will continue to keep us under your wings …&uot;