February 14, 2017

Hinds CC Utica Campus Gala honors 10 supporters, raising funds for student scholarships

Hinds Community College’s Utica Campus will present the Vice President’s Scholarship Hall of Honors Gala on March 31 to honor eight individuals and a husband and wife team who have…
BY: Cathy Hayden

Photography: BRAD SMITH

Hinds Community College’s Utica Campus will present the Vice President’s Scholarship Hall of Honors Gala on March 31 to honor eight individuals and a husband and wife team who have contributed to the campus.

The honorees include Alonzo Bradley of Flower Mound, Texas, athletics; Willie Bradley of Edwards, alumni supporter; Dr. Afrachanna Butler of Clinton, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Rep. Greg Holloway of Hazlehurst, government/politics; Tracy James of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, arts and humanities; Dr. Jesse J. Killingsworth Sr. of Utica, education; Rev. Kenneth M. Thrasher of Hazlehurst, religion; George and Julia Walker of Utica, community supporters and Mary Shears Williams of Byram, business.

The gala begins with a reception at 6 p.m. on March 31 with a banquet to begin at 7 p.m. at Old Capitol Inn in Jackson.

Tickets to the gala are $100 each. Tickets purchased after March 3 are $125 each. The proceeds go to support student scholarships at the Utica Campus, which is a HBCU. For more information contact, Tracie Jefferson at 601.885.7002.

[tweetable alt=””]Hinds CC Utica Campus gala honors supporters, funds student scholarships.[/tweetable]

Alonzo Bradley, a native of Flower Mount, Texas, was a Utica Junior College standout from 1973-1975. He was inducted into the 2016 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.web_Alonzo Bradley

As a Utica Junior College student, Bradley caught the attention of many four-year programs. As a result of his success athletically and academically, Bradley garnered numerous awards including being twice named to the NJCAA All-America team and earning the Governor’s Merit Award of Excellence in 1975.
In spite of more prestigious programs seeking to sign the Utica star, Bradley decided to attend Texas Southern University, where he averaged 25.1 points and 8.1 rebounds a game over his two seasons and led the Tigers to back-to-back National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national tournament appearances.

As a senior, Bradley was a key component in leading TSU to the 1977 NAIA national championship and a 31-5 mark, winning MVP honors at the national tournament and earning the NAIA Player of the Year Award. He was then chosen by the Indiana Pacers as the 29th overall selection in the 1977 NBA draft, but was traded to the Houston Rockets, where he would spend three seasons before concluding his career at the end of the 1979-1980 season. Bradley appeared in 43 games as a rookie, averaging nearly 19 minutes and seven points per game. That season Bradley averaged seven points per game and dished out 54 total assists.

In his post-playing career, Bradley spent time as the head coach of the Galveston Storm of the Southwest Basketball League and later, Unisys Space Systems, where he has served as chairman of the board, as well as being president and vice president of the National Association of Security Dealers (NASD).

Bradley, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and computer science from Texas Southern, is also an inductee in the Utica Campus Sports Hall of Fame, Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Hall of Fame and Texas Southern University Tiger Athletics Hall of Fame.

Bradley works as a Sales Consultant for AT&T Corporation. He is a member of the National Management Association. He is married to Emma J. Bradley.

Bradley supports the Utica Campus because Hinds gives students in Utica and surrounding area a chance to be successful.

Willie Bradley is a native of Edwards. He attended Hinds AHS from 1968 to 1971 and Utica Junior College from 1977 to 1978.

web_Willie BradleyHe became a Friend of the College in 1976. While at Hinds, Bradley participated in a number of sports and was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame.

Bradley worked as a cement finisher for the BASF Corporation for 25 years before retiring. He is an active member of the Edwards Revival Center, serving as church trustee and participating on the church food service committee, preparing food for the community. He volunteers his time to support and promote events on the Utica Campus.

Bradley has been married to Earlean Bradley for 42 years. He has three children, Rhonda, Gabriel and JarKarta. He also has 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Bradley supports the Utica Campus because he wants to give back to the college that gave him support.

Dr. Afrachanna D. Butler is a 1996 graduate of Hinds AHS and has been a Friend of the College since that year. Butler graduated from Jackson State University (JSU), receiving both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. In 2000, she received her B.S. in biology, in 2002, a master’s in biology, and in 2009 a Ph.D. in environmental science.

web_Africhanna ButlerButler currently works as a research physical scientist for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). She also worked a detail as an acting branch chief at ERDC and served as an adjunct professor for local colleges and universities. She is a member of the International Humic Substances Society and First Mississippi Chapter of Blacks in Government.

Butler has received a number of awards, including the National Women of Color Career Achievement Award in 2008 for Research Leadership, the U.S. Army ERDC Achievement Medal for Civilian Service-Recognition for Exceptional Service in 2012, the U.S. Army ERDC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Technology Transfer, also in 2012.

She also received the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service-Recognition for leadership and service in community outreach efforts and STEM education and research in 2013 and Community Service Achievement Award-Presented at the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) Gala for outstanding service shown throughout the Government in 2016.

Butler is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.  She is also a member of the JSU National Alumni Association and one of its Affinity Groups, The Alumni J-Sette Organization, where she currently serves as an Executive Board Member.

Butler supports the Utica Campus because she appreciates the role the campus plays in helping deserving students get an education.

Rep. Gregory Holloway is a graduate of Hazlehurst High School. He earned a B.A. degree in political science from Alcorn State University, and a M.A. degree in Public Policy and Administration from Jackson State University. He is a Henry Toll Fellow for the class of 2004 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He was elected into the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2000.web_Greg Holloway

Prior to being elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives, he worked at Jackson State University. While there, he served as chairman of the Housing Disciplinary Committee, staff senator, program coordinator and head homecoming parade marshal.

Holloway is a member of various civic, professional organizations and committees. He was selected among Outstanding Young Men of America and has received numerous commendations, including Outstanding Support to Community Faith-Based programs presented to him by former State Attorney General Mike Moore. In 2004, the Council of State Governments selected him as one of the 40 top lawmakers in the country.

In 2005, he received the Jimmy Thornton Legislator of the Year Award. In 2010, he received an award for exemplary commitment and support at the American Society of Public Administrator Conference. In 2015 he received the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Award for outstanding contributions to Hinds County-Terry communities.

Holloway serves as vice chairman of the Universities and Colleges Committee in the Mississippi House of Representatives and is a member of the Agriculture, Municipalities, Public Property, Entergy and Rules committees. In 2016, he was appointed by the Speaker of the House to the board of directors as a legislative adviser for the Mississippi College Savings Board. Since his 2000 election, Holloway has been instrumental in authoring and co-authoring major legislation in the Mississippi Legislature. He has sponsored legislation naming Robert Johnson Blues Memorial Highway, Tommy Johnson Blues Memorial Highway, Dr. Walter Washington Memorial Parkway, Steven Garner Memorial Highway and many others.

He is also a member of the St. Peter Church of Christ Holiness U.S.A.

Holloway is married to the former April Singleton. They have two children, Gregory L. Holloway II and Joshalyn Holloway. He has three grandchildren, Christopher, Kyrann and Isys.

Holloway supports the Utica Campus because he appreciates its great legacy and countless number of successful graduates.

Tracy A. James, an Ohio native, is best known for her angelic voice and her ability to reach the masses with her gift of song.

web_Tracy JamesJames has worked as a voice music teacher and a Peer Assistant and Review consulting teacher on special assignments. She has also worked as a choir director for the Women’s and Pastoral Choirs of First Church of God. She is currently a vocal music teacher with Columbus City Schools in Columbus, Ohio.
James has taught voice on many levels for 33 ½ years. While attending Utica College, she was a member of the Music Educators National Conference, which is now the National Association for Music and Education. James is also choir director for the Columbus Girls’ Choir in Columbus, Ohio, The Kids Are Music Choir in Columbus, Ohio, Upward Bound at The Ohio State University and The Young Scholars at the Ohio State University.

James has received many accolades including Excellence in Teaching and Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges. She was also a Deans’ List Scholar, Presidential Scholar and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She holds an A.A. degree in music (voice) from Utica College, a B.A. degree in music (voice) from Tougaloo College and a M.A. degree in music education from the Ohio State University.

Tracy James has been married to Robert M. James for 19 years.

James supports the Utica Campus because Hinds gave her an amazing start into her professional career.

Dr. Jesse J. Killingsworth Sr. of Utica retired from Hinds Community College in 2013 as dean of Career-Technical Education after 35 years. He worked for Utica Junior College from 1972 to 1981 and Hinds from 1987 to 2013.

web_Jesse KillingsworthHe served as mayor of Utica from 2008 to 2009. He is Hinds’ 2010 Executive of the Year, IAAP, Utica Magnolia Chapter. Killingsworth served as adviser for the Student Government Association and the Veteran Club. He also served as president of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Dean and Directors of Vocational-Technical Education-State.

Killingsworth attended Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena from 1965-1969, receiving his B.S. in industrial arts education. He later attended the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, receiving both an M.S. degree in vocational education and ED. D in educational administration and supervision in higher education. Killingsworth served 34 years in the U.S. Armed Forces in the highest enlisted rank of sergeant major. He was also selected as Kappan of the year for Phi Delta Kappa International Utica Chapter #1101, in 2001 and 2008.

Killingsworth served on numerous boards, including Utica Area Habitat for Humanity, Friends of Utica, Phi Delta Kappa International-Utica Chapter, Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area and the Hinds County Mental Health Commission.

Killingsworth is married to the former Mary Ann Braxton. The couple has three children, Kenyetta, Jesse Jr. and Jessica. They have nine grandchildren.

Killingsworth supports the Utica Campus because it has a rich legacy as a Historically Black College (HBCU).

Kenneth M. Thrasher of Hazlehurst graduated from Hinds Community College Utica in 1997 with an A.A. degree in music education. In 2013 he completed a B.S. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies/ Religion and Humanities from Liberty University, graduating Cum Laude. He is the founder and currently Chief Operations Officer of Safe Place Daycare and Learning Center of Hazlehurst and senior pastor of Apostolic Worship Center Church of Jackson.

web_Kenneth ThrasherThrasher was recognized as one of Who’s Who Among Students in America’s Junior College and received awards including First Place Oratorical Contest Winner, Choral Choir Music Assistant Plaque and Annual Choir Appreciation Awards. In recent years, he was the first vice president of the Hazlehurst Branch of the NAACP. He has been awarded an Army Commendation Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Services Reserve Medal with M device and Certificate of Appreciation by Brigade Commander for outstanding logistical support of holiday morale events.

Other awards include a Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding ministry in support of the brigade, chaplain’s religious support program and installation and a Chaplain’s Coin for providing outstanding logistical and musical support of post wide religious events. He also earned the Battalion Commander’s Coin in appreciation of outstanding religious support during mobilization, deployment and redeployment.

He was awarded the Post Sergeant’s Major Coin for providing outstanding leadership during mobilization convoy commander’s lane training.

Thrasher currently serves as minister of music of the Copiah County Ministerial Alliance and as a mentor in the Copiah County Ministerial Alliance Youth Up Mentorship Program. He also serves as a mentor in the National Guard Youth Challenge Program.

Kenneth M. Thrasher is married to Dr. Nonya Cage Thrasher and has one daughter, Kyla Marie Thrasher.

Thrasher supports the Utica Campus because Hinds supported him when he was a student needing help.

George and Julia Walker of Utica have been Friends of the College since 1978. The Walkers share a passion for education and community service.web_George and Julia Walker

Judy (Julia) Hegwood Walker taught school aged children for many years. She worked as an elementary school teacher, a church school teacher, a bus driver and a minister of music for several Baptist churches. Julia served on Boards for Charleston Opera Company, Friends of Utica, Town of Utica Christmas Parade and the National Night Out Committee. She has a true passion for music and loves to teach others how to play piano and sing. Julia attended Charleston Southern University receiving a B.A. degree in 1976.

George Walker is best known as alderman for the Town of Utica. He taught and coached at Terry High School from 1970 to 1974. He also taught at Hanahan High School in Charleston, S.C., from 1974 to 1978. Walker worked as head football coach and vice principal and senior principal at Utica High School from 1989 to 1994. He also worked as vice principal at Raymond High School until his retirement.

George Walker served as volunteer assistant coach at Hinds AHS from 2010 to 2014. He is also a broad member for the Town of Utica, deacon at Utica Baptist Church and member of the Terry Lions Club.

The Walkers have been married 43 years. They are the parents of two children, Mandy and Jason and have one grandson, Roy.

The Walkers support the Utica campus because of the vital role it plays in the community.

Mary Shears Williams of Byram attended Hinds AHS from 1979 to 1982 and Hinds Community College’s Utica Campus from 1982 to 1984.web_Mary Shears Williams

She received academic awards and titles including Ms. Library, Ms. Tri- Hi-Y and Who’s Who Among College Music. She graduated with an A.A. degree in Applied Science in 1984 and obtained a B. A. in Business Administration from Belhaven University in 2003.
Williams currently works in contract management and administration. She is assistant vice president of Sales Management for Trustmark National Bank. From 1995 to 2000 she worked as a manual property rater for Allstate Insurance Company. In 1992 to 1995 she worked as an NAS Adjudicator under a federal employee program.

Williams accredits her professional diversity to her educational background. Her skills and titles include database administrator, customer service, sales and performance management, and human resources.

Williams is a mother of two daughters, Tanesha Clark Brown and Kyesha Clark Morgan.

Williams supports the Utica Campus because of its ability to empower students and prepare them for their futures.

Hinds Community College is celebrating its 100th year of Community Inspired Service in 2017. Hinds opened in September 1917 first as an agricultural high school and admitted college students for the first time in 1922, with the first class graduating in 1927. In 1982 Hinds Junior College and Utica Junior College merged, creating the Hinds Community College District. Today, as Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution with six locations. Hinds offers quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.