Cole endows scholarship at MC

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 23, 2009

Brookhaven native Bonnie Cole said getting a college educationis the road to finding your dreams, and she has endowed ascholarship at Mississippi College in order to allow others topursue their goals as well.

“That’s how we get to develop ourselves and be able toaccomplish what we’d like to accomplish,” said Cole, 93.

Cole’s $25,000 endowment will fund a scholarship for studentsinterested in specific areas of study. The new scholarship willhelp pay the costs of MC students in the ministry or pursuingstudies in nursing or medicine.

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Cole’s nephew Frank Gunn, a retired pastor current trustee atMC, was the inspiration behind the scholarship at the Christianuniversity in Clinton.

“I was talking to one of my kindred, my nephew, he’s on theboard there in Clinton, and he suggested it,” said Cole, addingthat it is a relief on taxes as well.

Gunn, who was a pastor for 29 years at First Baptist Church inBiloxi, said he’s happy his aunt is willing to invest in furtheringthe education of future pastors and medical personnel.

“I’m thrilled she’s established this scholarship. This will beicing on the cake for Aunt Bonnie,” added Gunn, a 1957 MCgraduate.

Cole worked at the Bogue Chitto Post Office for 33 years, andspent an even longer period of researching genealogies. She hasalways valued family ties, as well as the rich heritage of her ownfamily. She is a descendant of Richard Curtis Jr., the firstBaptist preacher in Mississippi.

She said Curtis and Gunn are only part of the inspiration.

“I know plenty of people that are trying to be preachers anddoctors and nurses that struggled,” she said. “I had some in myfamily that did it, struggled to try to get their degree. ButChristian work, I’ve always been interested in that.”

Cole, an avid historian, has compiled books on all sevenDaughters of the American Revolution chapters in Mississippi. Shedonated 21 letters written by her family members during the CivilWar to the state archives in Jackson, and has given more than 100old books to libraries around Mississippi.

“I never had children but I got to do what I asked God to let medo,” she said, adding that part of that was taking care of herparents, who both lived to be more than 85 years old.

Jim Futral, a self-proclaimed Bonnie Cole admirer, said Cole “isone great lady” who has “carried on a high standard of serving theLord.”

Cole is linked to Mississippi College history in a number ofways. Both her nephew, Frank Gunn, and her niece, Delores ColeGrantham, are married to MC alumni, the former Sandra Sandifer(’57) and Larry Grantham (’60). Cole’s great great niece, BethAnneClark of Hattiesburg, was voted Miss MC in 2007-2008, and Miss MCin 1962 was “Dee” Cole Grantham, who is a member of theuniversity’s Hall of Fame. Additionally, she has a great niece andgreat nephew who are alumni and presently has a great great nephewin the sophomore class.