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Millsaps College Class of 2016 Celebrates Commencement

by Web on May 9, 2016

It was a beautiful, cloudless morning in the Bowl as 172 undergraduates and 38 graduate students received degrees during the 122nd Commencement at Millsaps College. See photos from Baccalaureate and Commencement.

Katie Lane Kirkland of Birmingham, Ala., recipient of the Millsaps Founders’ Medal, awarded to the graduating senior with the highest grade point average for their entire college course of study and a grade of excellent on comprehensive examinations, addressed the audience and reflected on the role Millsaps plays in shaping lives.

“As those of us graduating today end our time here at Millsaps, I invite all of you to think about one question: When you tell your story, what will you say about the village of Millsaps?” said Kirkland, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a B.A. in philosophy and religious studies and a cumulative GPA of 3.99.

Other graduates who received awards during commencement were:

  • Hannah Grace Saulters of Jackson, recipient of the Frank and Rachel Ann Laney Award, given for the best essay about the value of a Millsaps liberal arts education.
  • Sarah Catherine Peterman of Alexandria, La., recipient of the Outstanding Master of Accountancy Graduate.
  • Laura Claire Kebert of McComb, recipient of the Charles Sewell Award for the Outstanding M.B.A. Graduate.
  • Kandice Bailey of Lorman, recipient of the Don Fortenberry Award, which recognizes the graduating senior who has demonstrated the most notable, meritorious, diligent, and devoted service to the college with no expectation of recognition, reward, or public remembrance.
  • Dr. James Bowley of Jackson, professor of religious studies and chair of the religious studies department, was recognized with the 2016 Millsaps College Distinguished Professor Award.

The College conferred honorary doctorate degrees on two individuals for their accomplishments and service to their communities. Honorary degrees were awarded to:

  • The Rev. David A. McIntosh of Madison, a 1949 graduate of Millsaps College and the father of two Millsaps graduates. A graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University, McIntosh has a long history of service and pastoral leadership in the Methodist Church. While his career as a minister led him through eight different churches in the state, McIntosh is most well-known for his appointment at Jackson’s Christ United Methodist Church, the largest United Methodist Church in Mississippi, from 1972 to 1983, during which time he organized the church’s response to the devastating Easter Flood of 1979. As a result of his thoughtful management during this crisis, the Christ United Methodist Foundation was created to serve as resource for emergency aid. After his retirement in 1990, McIntosh served for the next 20 years as the minister of hospital care at Christ United Methodist Church.
  • Jerry W. Mitchell, an investigative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson whose work has helped put four Ku Klux Klansmen behind bars: Byron De La Beckwith, for the 1963 assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers; Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers, for ordering the fatal firebombing of NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer in 1966; Bobby Cherry, for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four girls; and Edgar Ray Killen, for helping organize the June 21, 1964, killings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Schwerner (popularized by the fictional movie about that case, Mississippi Burning). For his work, Mitchell has received more than 30 national awards. In 2006, the Pulitzer Prize Board named him a Pulitzer Prize finalist, praising him “for his relentless and masterly stories on the successful prosecution of a man accused of orchestrating the killing of three civil rights workers in 1964.” After winning the prestigious George Polk Award for a second time, Mitchell received a MacArthur “genius” grant—the second investigative reporter to ever receive the $500,000 award.