May 9, 2023

Church leader returns to Hinds for a higher purpose

“Graduation means the world to me, especially with the accolades and opportunities I’ve received. This has given me confidence and the much needed belief in myself.”
BY: Rhonda Dunaway

At age 39, James Robinson of Jackson is doing what many people only daydream about – he’s taking a chance and investing in his own capabilities by getting a higher education. Experience has taught him that by investing in the sense of his own purpose, he will be successful.

Robinson will receive an associate degree Thursday in one of four graduation ceremonies at Hinds Community College on May 10, 11 and 13.

His next step is Mississippi College for a bachelor’s degree in psychology. “I plan to work at an in-patient rehab center to begin with,” he said.

Robinson is the type of man who is wise enough to diversify his economic impact and income. Besides being a barber, he is the founder of the lifestyle brand ‘Uniquely Gifted Humans,’ he is the owner of Just Rib-bon It, and he is also an associate minister at Jackson North Church of Christ. He has experience and a strong sense of purpose on his side as he follows a new calling to acquire a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

After 17 years of primarily being a barber, Robinson wanted to be of greater service to his community, but he doubted himself even as he began classes at Hinds. Soon, Robinson would learn that he is no imposter in the academic world. In fact, he’s quickly becoming a master at his subject.

“I realized that I had a lot more skills than I thought, and it’s only getting better,” he said. “Graduation means the world to me, especially with the accolades and opportunities I’ve received. This has given me confidence and the much needed belief in myself.”

Nontraditional students like Robinson typically have families or careers they must obligate time to. So not only do they need the confidence in themselves, they also need the support of their family and loved ones. And time becomes an even more valuable commodity.

“My family and friends were very supportive and gave me more help than I could ask for,” Robinson said. “The greatest obstacles I had to face on my journey to gaining my degree was managing my time and adjusting to being a student again.” He was taking 18 hours a semester, running his businesses, fulfilling his roles at church and managing time with a 2-year-old son and his wife of 17 years. His faith is a large part of his life and purpose, that is obvious, but most especially in his daily life.

“I overcame the stress of these things by continuous prayer, and by prioritizing my time and responsibilities better,” Robinson said. “The fact that I got encouragement from all of my instructors helped out, too.”

Robinson explained that his church family also played a big role in his purpose at Hinds. “My mentor, father figure and minister, Brother Charles Ray, gave me the direction to follow not only in school but in the Lord also. He has been instrumental to my growth as a Christian, a man, a husband and a father.”

Hinds Community College nursing and allied health students will graduate at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 10.

Academic and career-technical students whose last names begin with A-L graduate at 10 a.m. Thursday May 11 and students whose last names begin with M-Z graduate at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 11. All three ceremonies are at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus in Pearl.

Students who attend the Utica Campus will have a graduation ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Saturday May 13 at the Boyd Gym on the Utica Campus.

Hinds will award 1,526 degrees and certificates to 1,107 graduates. A number of graduates will receive more than one credential.

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