October 16, 2014

Hinds CC honors Mullins, Alumnus of the Year

Hinds Community College will honor Bob Mullins, the 2014 Alumnus of the Year, at the Alumni Dinner, held at 5 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 23 in Mayo Gymnasium on the Raymond…
BY: Cathy Hayden

Photography: BRAD SMITH

Hinds Community College will honor Bob Mullins, the 2014 Alumnus of the Year, at the Alumni Dinner, held at 5 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 23 in Mayo Gymnasium on the Raymond Campus. Also being honored at the Alumni Dinner is Ray Neilsen, the 2014 Alumni Service Award winner, and the 2014 Hinds Community College Sports Hall of Fame inductees.

As vice president for Economic Development at Hinds, Mullins spent a large portion of his time developing relationships, marketing the college and doing public relations.

“When I worked at Hinds, it wasn’t a job – it was a position. It was a position that I loved,” he says. Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse “wasn’t just my boss, he was my friend. I traveled with him to the state and nation’s capitals to promote the good things we were doing at the college. We worked together on making strong relationships within the community.”

Muse says Mullins had a large impact on the college and the community.

“Bob was one of the most talented and gifted vice presidents I have worked with,” Muse says. “He is creative and has tremendous energy as well as a unique ability to work with business and industry to help them develop a skilled workforce.”

Mullins first started at Hinds in 1967 as a student, then received a bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern Mississippi. Mullins was hired to teach by Walter Gibbes and was called to active duty training for the National Guard shortly after. When he returned from service, he finished his master’s degree at USM and picked up right where he left off, teaching at Hinds.

After two years of teaching architectural drawing, surveying, math and industrial psychology, Mullins began overseeing night school programs at the Jackson Campus-Academic/Technical Center.

He eventually moved back to the Raymond Campus as assistant dean of Vocational and Career-Technical programs, and then started taking care of industry training courses for the entire college district.

“We were able to do a lot of training and also make a profit,” he says. “We paid all our expenses plus contributed to the college. That’s when we began discussing a conference and training center.”

After several years of budgeting and finding the right funding, Eagle Ridge Conference Center was born.

Mullins also spearheaded a partnership with Bridgwater College in the United Kingdom, growing the roots of what has become one of the college’s most popular international study abroad options for students and faculty.

“Someone from the U.K. was visiting the states and saw the Hinds CC sign. They came to meet Dr. Muse, he referred them to me and the next thing you know, I’m getting a call from someone with a British accent asking when they can send their students to visit our college,” Mullins says. Jackie Granberry, vice president for Advancement and Student Success, remembers going on the first Bridgwater trip overseas with Mullins.

“I am overjoyed to see how the program has grown over the years, and I know it wouldn’t have happened without him,” she says. “He’s always been very visionary and a step ahead of his time.”

After 28 years as a college employee, Mullins accepted a position at Nissan North America, where he began as section manager for training and communications. He was the first employee the company hired at its Canton plant. By the time he retired in 2013, he had advanced to senior manager for training and was responsible for technical training for the entire North American district.

Although Mullins is technically retired, he owns and operates his own consulting business and provides services nationally and internationally. He also has a unique hobby of making stained glass, and has pieces in two Raymond churches and more than 60 churches across the state.

Mullins is married to Deborah Mullins. He has a daughter, a son-in-law and two grandchildren, all of Pelahatchie. The family enjoys spending their time at their Eagle Lake retreat.

“Although I don’t get to spend as much time with the college as I used to, Hinds is a special place to me still, because it helped create a lot of things that led to success in my life,” he says. “The things I learned there — the value of getting things done, making contacts and being fair and honest with people — that’s invaluable.”

For more information on Hinds Community College homecoming events, visit www.hindscc.edu.