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Rebecca Ellzey Coca Cola ScholarSophomore Rebecca Ellzey of Roxie has been named a 2016 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars, and providing nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually. Each Gold Scholar receives a $1,500 scholarship and a special medallion.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society administers the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Program and recognizes Coca-Cola Community College scholars during All-State Community College Academic Team Recognition ceremonies held in 38 states. Student scholars also receive recognition locally during ceremonies held on campus and internationally for those who are able to attend Phi Theta Kappa’s Annual Convention.

Community college presidents or their designated nominators may submit no more than two nominations per campus for this award. An independent panel of judges considers outstanding academic rigor, grade point average, academic and leadership awards, and engagement in college and community service in the selection process.

“We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for their vote of confidence in community college students by investing in their futures,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, President and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa. “Their support is especially welcome during this challenging economic climate, as more and more community college students need additional resources to help them complete their degrees.”

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said J. Mark Davis, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals.”

Phi Theta Kappa, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, U.S. territorial possessions and eight sovereign nations. More than 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 134,000 students inducted annually.  

CUTLINE: Co-Lin sophomore Rebecca Ellzey (center) is congratulated on her selection as a Coca-Cola Gold Scholar by from left, Mary Warren, Phi Theta Kappa Co-Advisor; Dr. Ronnie Nettles, Co-Lin President; Tiffany Perryman, Phi Theta Kappa Co-Advisor; and Samantha Speeg, Phi Theta Kappa Co-Advisor.

Troy GreerTroy C. Greer of Mendenhall was inducted into the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Sports Hall of Fame on at a banquet on the Rankin Campus of Hinds Community College.

Greer was captain of the Wolves football team at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and made second team All-State in 1958. Prior to Co-Lin, he served for two years in the U.S. Marine Corp. After graduating from Co-Lin, he transferred to Delta State University where he played for two years and earned a bachelor’s degree. He received a master’s degree from Mississippi College. 

Greer served as head football coach and athletic director at Mendenhall and Magee High Schools, and led the Trojans to win the Little Dixie Conference Championship in 1971. He served as president of the Dixie Conference while at Mendenhall and coached in the Mississippi High School All Star Game in 1972. He was an alderman for the town of Mendenhall for 11 years and served on the Co-Lin board of trustees for eight years before his retirement in 1996.  Greer was inducted into the Co-Lin Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. He and his wife Mildred are parents to Kelly, Leslie Sue (deceased), and Troy Kyle (deceased), and have two grandchildren.

Other members of the Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame from Co-Lin are Carl Medley, Alton Ricks, Henry “Hook” Stone, M. K. Turk, Charlie Ward, Alton Greenlee, A.J. “Red” Mangum, Bob Ricketts, Gwyn Young, Bucky Waters, Albert “Sonny” Hill, and Cindy Hodges Williams.

CUTLINE: Co-Lin President Dr. Ronnie Nettles (left) presents Troy Greer with his MACJC Sports Hall of Fame medallion and statuette.

Toyota DonationToyota of Brookhaven recently donated two vehicles to Co-Lin’s Automotive Technology Program. Pictured are from left, Prentiss Smith, Toyota of Brookhaven General Manager; Blake Oberschmidt, Co-Lin Automotive Technology Instructor; Jerry Taylor, Toyota of Brookhaven Service Manager; and Roger Martin, Toyota of Brookhaven Used Car Manager.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the Co-Lin Foundation are pleased to announce the hiring of D.J. Preiss of Hattiesburg as executive director of the Foundation/Alumni Affairs.

Preiss has previously served as a development officer at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was responsible for research and cultivating major gift donors on behalf of the University. His other recent work experience includes two years as a sales manager for Howard Technology and seven years as coordinator of recruitment for the University of Southern Mississippi. He received a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a master’s degree in counseling and personnel services from Southern Miss.

“We are very pleased to have D.J. Preiss as the new director of the Foundation,” Co-Lin president, Dr. Ronnie Nettles said. “He brings with him proven fundraising experience in higher education and he has exciting ideas about how to further grow our Foundation at Co-Lin.” 

Preiss has been involved in his community as an active member of Pinebelt Young Professionals, the Hattiesburg Area Development Partnership, and as a member of Venture Church where he serves as a small group leader and assists in numerous production and technical roles. He is married to the former Nicole Kemp of Madison and has a seven-year-old daughter, Emily.

 “I’m incredibility grateful for the opportunity to become a part of the Co-Lin family and look forward to working diligently with the Foundation and Alumni Affairs team, the Foundation Board of Directors and Dr. Nettles to meet the mission of the college and its Foundation,” Preiss said. “I am eager to work with our donors and friends that provide much needed support for our students, faculty, and staff.

Preiss replaces David Campbell, who retired in December after 11 years at Co-Lin. The Co-Lin Foundation manages assets of more than $8 million and is operated by the executive director and a 23-member board of directors.


Lightsey Scholarships

Former instructors Jim and Martha Lightsey of Wesson recently made a significant gift to the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Foundation, establishing two new endowed scholarships and new student leadership and faculty development endowments at Co-Lin.

The newly established Jim and Martha Lightsey Immigrant Student Scholarship is designed to assist students born to immigrants who reside in Mississippi and are faced with financial hardship. A second endowed scholarship named after the Lightseys will be awarded to two students annually, one or both education majors. The Lightseys have also designated funds to support student leadership scholarships and faculty development scholarships for full-time teaching faculty members pursuing professional development opportunities.

The gift is one of the largest individual donations the Foundation has ever received. Co-Lin president Dr. Ronnie Nettles said the gift is especially meaningful coming from two former instructors.

“The Lightseys are former instructors who have dedicated their lives to helping students at Co-Lin,” Nettles said. “Their generosity is incredible, and our students and faculty will benefit from this gift for years to come.”

The Lightseys are no strangers to the Foundation. Since 1997, they have endowed three other Foundation scholarships, including the Robert K. Howard Memorial Scholarship, the Reverend Mary Stewart Scholarship, and the Bobby O’Quinn Memorial Scholarship.

Jim Lightsey joined the Co-Lin faculty in 1971 where he taught sociology and psychology courses until his retirement in 2001. Martha began teaching developmental studies courses at Co-Lin in 1984 and retired in 2002. Their goal in giving to the Foundation is to give back to Co-Lin and help students and faculty.

“This is very exciting for us,” Martha said. “We’re thankful to be able to help.”

Jim shares the sentiment. “We often see former students who tell us that their time at Co-Lin was two of the most rewarding years of their lives,” he said. “Having a part in helping students succeed at Co-Lin and in life is something we’re glad to be a part of.”


Jim and Martha Lightsey pictured with Co-Lin President Dr. Ronnie Nettles (center).


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