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
- Laura Claire Kebert of McComb, recipient of the Charles Sewell Award for the Outstanding
- 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
- 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
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.