Co-Lin celebrates 100 years of excellence

Published 8:21 pm Saturday, August 29, 2015

From agricultural high school to a successful community college, Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson has a lot to show for its first century, an achievement it will celebrate this week.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College administration and Board of Trustees will host the 100th Anniversary Convocation of the school’s establishment on Thursday.

“It’s a pretty big milestone in the history of Copiah-Lincoln,” said Co-Lin Director of Public Information Natalie Davis.

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The convocation starts at 2 p.m. at Rea Auditorium in the Ewing Administration building on the Wesson campus and will include faculty, staff, students and special guests. Co-Lin alumnus and Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture Cindy Hyde-Smith will be the featured speaker. Other speakers will include former Co-Lin presidents Dr. Howell Garner and Dr. Billy Thames as well as Student Government President Greta Carley.

Co-Lin Choir will perform the alma mater, which Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles said most modern-day students have never heard. A reception will follow in the Oswalt Library and will feature an exhibit on the history of Co-Lin.

“I think that it is appropriate to reflect on our past to truly appreciate the growth of Co-Lin,” Nettles said. “We are proud of all that has been accomplished and the future of the college is bright.”

Copiah-Lincoln was established as an agricultural high school in 1915. Copiah-Lincoln Junior College was established in 1928 when college classes were added. The high school and junior college coexisted on the Wesson campus until the late ‘70s.

The opening of classes in 1915 occurred after the formation of a booster club in Wesson in 1914 with the purpose to increase awareness of the importance of education. Local Wesson leaders and representatives from Copiah and Lincoln counties agreed to open an agricultural high school in Wesson with the town putting up $8,000.

There were 125 students enrolled that first year with 40 living on campus, Nettles said. Boys worked on the farm, and girls worked in the dining hall. Mutton Hall is the only original building still on campus today.

“Copiah-Lincoln has always served students from rural communities,” Nettles said. “That was true 100 years ago, and it is true today.”

Parking will be available in the parking lot behind the BSU because of construction around the administration building.