Young exiting; Bishop in as new SWMCC leader

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, February 10, 2011

SUMMIT – He’s stepping down at one school, but stepping up atanother.

Southwest Mississippi Community College President Dr. Oliver Youngwill retire from the institution on June 30, ending a 33-yearcareer at the community college in Summit where he’s served as thetop administrator since 2005. Vice President of Student Affairs Dr.Steve Bishop has been appointed his successor and will take overthe presidency on July 1.

Though Young is moving on from SWMCC, he’ll nevertheless bespending more time at school – Sunday school.

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“I would like to get involved a little more in my church work,”said Young, a member of First Baptist Church of Summit. “In thelast five years, our church has doubled in size. We probablyaverage four or five new members each Sunday.”

Young, 71, teaches a senior men’s class at FBC in Summit, and hewants to devote more time to the church’s senior ministry andhelping his “fantastic” pastor, Dr. Larry LeBlanc.

“My interest is just trying to be available to help and do a fewthings for the senior adults in our church. Most of the activitiesin a church are focused on young people, because that’s whereyou’re more apt to reach people and have them accept the Lord astheir savior,” he said.

Young said he’d also devote more time to gardening, golf andinvolvement in the athletic career of his 14-year-old son, aneight-grader at Parklane Academy.

Young’s career at SWMCC began in 1966. He taught biology andcoached men’s basketball for 15 years, appearing in two statetournaments. He left the college for 12 years and returned in 1993,getting back in the biology classroom and coaching women’sbasketball. He moved into administration in 2000 and succeeded32-year president Horace Holmes in 2005.

“It was a challenge following President Holmes. He was just likelegend,” Young said. “Working under him was a tremendous advantage.I learned a lot under President Holmes.”

Young is proud of SWMCC’s growth under his tenure.

The college installed new programs like process technology, massagetherapy and medical information technology, and renovated severalcampus facilities. One of the biggest additions was the $6 millionRegional Workforce Training Center, intended to help craft a highlyskilled workforce for economic development in Mississippi.

Construction on the center is expected to begin soon, and thecollege is working with schools in Louisiana and Texas to develop acurriculum for oil industry technology.

While Young helped get the training center started, its growth is atask that will fall to Bishop, who is set to become the school’seighth president.

“I’m looking forward to building on the excellence we have here atthe college,” said Bishop, 42. “My plans are to continue to havequality academic and technical programs for this college, andextra-curricular programs for our students.”

Bishop graduated SWMCC in 1988 and went on to earn a bachelor’sdegree from Southern Mississippi and a Master of Arts fromSoutheastern Louisiana University. He started working for SWMCC in1992 and earned his Ph.D. in higher education administration fromSouthern Mississippi in 1997.

He is married to Dr. Melanie Hammill Bishop, a pharmacist at King’sDaughters Medical Center. They have four children.