PEARL – Herbert Strickland spent more than 23 years in law enforcement, much of it working with K-9 units as they protect and serve.

An unfinished academic resume’, however, plus responsibilities on the horizon with a daughter entering high school soon had him wanting a fresh start.

“Electrical Technology is something I’d been interested in just a little bit before coming to Hinds,” said Strickland, 49, of Utica, who had attended Mississippi State University for just one year after high school before starting a career that includes experience with the Hinds and Rankin sheriff’s departments and Madison police.

A friendship begun at church with Hinds Vicksburg-Warren Campus Vice President Marvin Moak, himself a former instructor in the college’s electrical program, has culminated in Strickland’s graduation among more than 1,300 others in ceremonies held Dec. 18 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus.

From left, Electronic Technology Instructor Craig Davis, Hinds P

From left, Electronic Technology Instructor Craig Davis, Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse, Herbert Strickland, Vicksburg-Warren Campus Vice President Marvin Moak. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Strickland earned his Associate of Applied Science from Hinds and plans to pursue a Bachelor of Applied Science in the field through a new partnership with MSU that allows for students enrolled in technical education programs to have all credits transfer seamlessly.

“If it weren’t for Marvin’s advice, there’s no telling what I would have taken and how I would have done,” Strickland said, adding he plans to one day return to Hinds and teach future students.

Hinds is awarding a total of 1,316 credentials to 958 graduates during the three ceremonies, with some graduates receiving more than one credential.

Of the fall graduates, 158 achieved cum laude, 3.2 to 3.59 grade point average; 95 achieved magna cum laude, 3.6 to 3.99 GPA and 124 achieved summa cum laude, 4.0 grade point average.

Also among them were siblings De’Harvey and Ke’Harvey Gary, of Vicksburg. Each earned a career certificate and plan to return to build upon their education.

De'Harvey Gary and Ke'Harvey Gary

From left, De’Harvey Gary and Ke’Harvey Gary (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“We just hope to get started going into the Welding Technology program soon,” Ke’Harvey said

The speaker for all three graduations was Phil Cockrell, Raymond Campus Engineering and Drafting Design Technology instructor who was selected as Hinds Community College’s HEADWAE honoree for 2020.

In his remarks, Cockrell told graduates to consider “why” they are on the path they have chosen. Quoting noted pastor and author Charles Swindoll, Cockrell noted that 10 percent of life is what happens and the other 90 percent is how you react to it.

“Challenges present an awesome opportunity to choose who you want to be by how you react to those challenges,” Cockrell said.

Grand marshal and mace bearer for all three ceremonies was Dr. Libby Mahaffey, district dean of health services and of and Nursing and Allied Health programs, who retired in 2019 after 37 years.

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