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Co-Lin recently hosted the 83rd annual Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities (MAC) conference in Natchez, Mississippi.  The conference, “A River of Success,” focused on college completion topics and efforts that have been initiated in Mississippi in recent years. Over 120 higher educational professionals from public and private universities and colleges across Mississippi were in attendance.

The Mississippi Association of Colleges was established in 1921 with the goal of promoting goodwill among colleges and universities; to stimulate academic and professional cooperation among the membership; to consider common problems; and to pursue those matters of common interest to the membership.  All public and private two-year and four year institutions in Mississippi are members of MAC.  

The conference was held at the Natchez Convention Center. Keynote speakers included Senior Director of State Policy Jimmy Clarke, Samuel L. Jones, and Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum Historian Rick Cleveland. A reception was held at Monmouth Historic Inn with entertainment by the Co-Lin Jazz Band. At the conclusion of the conference, Co-Lin President Dr. Ronnie Nettles passed the gravel to incoming MAC President Dr. Mark E. Keenum, President of Mississippi State University. 

Diane Weaver Blankenhorn of Madison and Dr. James M. Ewing, Jr. of Gainesville, Georgia will be honored as Alumni of the Year at Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 22 during the Alumni Association’s awards luncheon and annual meeting set to begin at 11 a.m. in the cafeteria on the college’s Wesson campus.

Blankenhorn is a 1950 graduate of Co-Lin Agricultural High School, and a 1952 graduate of the college where she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and a head Colette. After Co-Lin, she received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Blakenhorn spent a lifetime as a volunteer in her community and in the Presbyterian Church, where she has served as an elder, church school teacher and librarian, moderator and president of both local and state-wide Presbyterian Women organizations, two-time chair of the Christian education and congregational care committees, and was a Christian education consultant for the national Presbyterian Church. She has also served on the board of directors for the Mississippi Boychoir for nine years, and served as chair for seven years. She is married to her Co-Lin sweetheart, David, and they have two sons, David G. Blankenhorn, III and wife, Raina, and J. Robert Blankenhorn and wife, Melinda, and five grandchildren.          

Ewing is a 1952 graduate of Co-Lin Agricultural High School and a 1954 graduate of the College. He grew up on the campus of Co-Lin as his father, Dr. James M. Ewing, Sr., served as president from 1932-1956. After Co-Lin, Ewing attended the University of Mississippi, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and the University of Southern Mississippi, where he received a Ph.D.

Ewing spent the early years of his career teaching high school English, followed by 30 years of teaching at the university level, serving as an English professor at Brenau University for two years, and the University of North Georgia for the last 28 years of his career.

He has been involved in numerous community organizations such as the Lions, Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, and has been a lifetime member of the United Methodist Church. He is a founder of the Theta Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity at the University of North Georgia, and was awarded the fraternity’s outstanding chapter advisor award in 1992. He was inducted into the Order of Constantine, Sigma Chi’s highest recognition of service to the fraternity. Ewing is a life member of the Alumni Association and was inducted into the Co-Lin Foundation Hall of Fame in 2007. He is married to the former Ellen Castleberry, and they have three children, David, Margaret Ellen, and Gary, and seven grandchildren.

Outstanding staff and instructors, Sports Hall of Fame members and Band and Colette honorees will also be honored at the luncheon. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased at morning registration in Rea Auditorium, the Ewing Fine Arts building, or at the cafeteria prior to the luncheon. For more information, contact the Co-Lin Alumni Office at 601.643.8498.

The Band and Colette chapter of the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Alumni Association will induct R. Shaw Furlow of Brookhaven into its Hall of Fame and will honor Tyler Bridge of Brookhaven as the Stanley Stewart Outstanding Young Alumni recipient during Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Oct 22.

Furlow is a 1971 graduate of Co-Lin where he was a member of the Co-Lin Show Band and was a member of the first group of Sojourners on campus. After Co-Lin, he attended Delta State University, where he was the first male drum major in the marching band and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education.

He served as director of bands at Co-Lin and as an instructor in the fine arts division for 16 years. He was director of the Sojourners for four years and was responsible for the revamping of the group from a show choir back to the rock band that it was when originally formed. While at Co-Lin, he served as president of the Mississippi Community and Junior Colleges Band Directors Association before his retirement in 2015.

He currently serves as band representative for Brookhaven Music and Sound and is active in the local music scene, both as a performer and promoter. He is the host and producer of the internet series “Music from the Shady Side,” and organizes Brookhaven’s annual music festival, Brookstock. He released an album of original songs in 2013 and produced the full-length movie, “Brookstock: The Documentary” in 2015. Furlow has directed plays with Brookhaven Little Theater, and writes a monthly arts column for the Wesson News. He has one son, Cole, who is also a musician and producer.

Bridge is a 1998 graduate of Co-Lin where he was a member of the jazz bands and guitar ensemble, and participated in various other music ensembles.

He has been actively involved in the local music scene since he was in elementary school. He has worked in radio as an announcer and producer for WBKN and WCHJ in Brookhaven. He is the owner of Brookhaven Music and Sound where he offers private lessons in guitar, violin, voice, piano, and other instruments to students of all ages. He also works with band programs in the area to provide affordable beginner band instruments for students.  He began a Kindermusic program at his store for pre-school children and holds a Rock Academy for school-age students during the summer.

Bridge has been instrumental in planning and performing in singer/songwriter events around the area including the Ole Brook Festival where he books all entertainment and manages the stage. He performs at churches, fundraisers, festivals, and events all around the state and has also assisted many local songwriters in writing lyrics and music for their own personal works.  He serves as associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Brookhaven and is a member of the Brookhaven Tourism Council. He and his wife, Kristi have one daughter, Lillie.

Furlow and Bridge will be honored at the Band and Colette Chapter’s annual meeting at 9:30 a.m. in the Taylor Chapel on the Wesson campus, and again at the Alumni Association’s awards luncheon at 11 a.m. in the Henley Cafeteria. For more information on Homecoming events and activities, visit or call (601) 643-8498. 

Co-Lin recently hosted the 2016 Lamplighters Conference on the college’s Wesson Campus. The annual conference is sponsored by the Mississippi Community College Academic Deans Association and hosted at a different community college each year. Lamplighters Conference works to recognize outstanding instructors in the MS Community College system, as each college nominates distinguished instructors to attend.

On the first day, more than 45 attendees arrived to a reception at Co-Lin featuring the Co-Lin jazz band, choir, and refreshments in Oswalt Library. Guests were later treated to dinner at Mitchell’s and “To Kill a Mockingbird” at Brookhaven Little Theater.

Conference activities for the following day were held at the Mississippi School of the Arts. After a welcome from MSA Executive Director Suzanne Hirsch and Co-Lin Vice President of Instructional Services Dr. Jane Hulon, guests enjoyed entertainment from the dance, vocal, and theatre departments at the art school. Miss Mississippi Laura Lee Lewis served as the special guest for the event. Lee dazzled conference goers with a vocal performance and spoke about the importance of her platform “Mentoring Matters.”

Lamplighters Conference concluded with an art show and a tour of MSA’s historic campus.

CUTLINE: Instructors selected to represent Co-Lin at the annual Lamplighters Conference were from left, Keith Stovall, Sociology/Psychology Instructor (Wesson Campus); Chris Brady, Art Instructor (Wesson Campus); Toby Graves, History Instructor (Simpson County Center) and Deren Konecky, English Instructor (Natchez Campus).

The Co-Lin Athletic Alumni Association will induct four members into the Sports Hall of Fame during Homecoming festivities Saturday, Oct. 22.

This year’s class includes David Britt of Brandon, Earl Coleman (deceased) of Pontotoc, Mindy Livaudais of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Steve Sasser of Bogue Chitto. The four will be inducted during the annual meeting of the Athletic Alumni Association at 9:00 a.m. in Rea Auditorium. Later, the group will be recognized during an alumni luncheon at 11:00 in the cafeteria and also during halftime of the ballgame.

Britt is a 1951 graduate of Co-Lin where he was a two-year letterman in basketball and led the Wolves to a state championship. After Co-Lin, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and served in Korea. He was selected for the Air Force All-Star traveling team. After his time in the military, he signed a basketball scholarship with Mississippi College, where he was a leading scorer and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.

He began his high school coaching career in 1961 at Raleigh High School coaching both boys and girls basketball teams. He went on to coach basketball and track at Pelahatchie High School, where he won numerous tournament and conference championships, including the Overall State Championship in girls basketball in 1969, and was named the Mississippi Association of Coaches Basketball Coach of the Year that year. He went on to coach boys and girls basketball at Brandon High School, where both teams were South Mississippi Class A Champions in 1972. He took over the girls basketball program at Pearl High School in 1977 until his retirement in 1987. In his 27 years as head coach, he holds the overall Mississippi High School record of winningest boys and girls coach with 535 wins and 224 losses, a 71% winning percentage.

Britt is married to Bobbie Russell Britt and they have two children, Russell of Norfolk, Virginia, and Bobbie of Brandon, and five grandchildren.

Coleman was a 1961 graduate of Co-Lin, where he lettered in football. After Co-Lin, he played football at Delta State University, where he was named an All-American. He worked for Allied Chemicals and First Mississippi Corporation before his retirement in 2003. He also specialized in obedience training for police dogs and received numerous awards for his work. Coleman is survived by one daughter, Kristy McKnight, and two grandchildren. He passed away in September.

Mindy Livaudais of New Orleans, Louisiana, is a 2002 graduate of Co-Lin, where she led the woman’s basketball team to a MACJC state championship and the NJCAA Region 23 championship her sophomore year. She was named MACJC First Team All-State, NJCAA All Region 23 and NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American her freshman year, and was MACJC and NJCAA Region 23 First Team All-State, and NJCAA All-Region and All-Tournament her sophomore year, averaging 15 points per game both years she played for the Lady Wolves. After Co-Lin, Livaudais signed with the University of Louisiana-Monroe where she was a leading scorer and received a bachelor’s degree in education. She works as the banquet manager at Compass Point Events in New Orleans. 

Sasser is a 1975 graduate of Co-Lin, where he lettered in baseball and was named MACJC First Team All-State. After Co-Lin, he played for William Carey University, where he was named All-Region in 1978 and received a bachelor’s degree. He was a teacher and coach at Parklane Academy for five years and worked in sales and healthcare for 14 years before returning to education. He worked for Lincoln County Public Schools from 1998-2011, and then returned to Parklane where he teaches history and coaches fast-pitch softball, leading the team to a state championship in 2015.

He is involved in the Miracle League and is a member of the Mississippi Association of Coaches and Mississippi Professional Educators, and serves as a deacon at Montgomery Baptist Church. He is married to Belinda Sasser, and they have two children, Heather Gault and Stephen Scott Sasser (’06), and two grandchildren.

Tickets to the alumni luncheon are $12 and may be purchased prior to the event at the Alumni Office, at morning registration at Rea Auditorium or at the door. Pre-game ceremonies begin at 2:30 at Stone Stadium. Kickoff for the Homecoming game against Southwest Mississippi Community College is at 3:00 p.m. For more information on Homecoming events, visit


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