MCC nursing students receive Anderson scholarships

Celebration marks 31st anniversary

Thankful for opportunities, Meridian Community College student Jimesha Walker said, “I will continue to shoot for the stars.”

Walker was one of seven MCC third semester Associate Degree Nursing Program students who received Anderson Regional Health System Scholarships that were presented at an awards ceremony held in the health care facility.

The students were applauded by MCC nursing faculty and administration as well as by Anderson officials and family and friends at this 31st annual presentation. The scholarship recipients are outstanding nursing students who receive the honor based on academic ability, nursing excellence, the recommendation of MCC faculty, an application and a written essay on why they chose to nurse as a career.

In offering thanks to Anderson officials, Dr. Lara Collum, MCC dean of nursing, said, “these scholarships truly impact lives.” She added the recipients are excellent students, and the nursing program is proud of them.

Specifically, Walker, who was the recipient of the Jeff Anderson Scholarship, said she was thankful. “I am very, very grateful for this scholarship. It will help out a lot,” she added.

John Anderson, president and CEO of Anderson Regional Health Systems, said with roughly 70 percent of their employees who serve as nurses, “we have the luxury and benefit of Meridian Community College Nursing Program to recruit and pull nurses to this organization to take care of those who are ill and infirmed who cross our threshold every day.”

Nurses follow a calling and often show characteristics of being tenacious, compassionate and driven. “That’s special and unusual in this world,” said MCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner as he addressed the recipients and hospital officials.

Walker received the Dr. Jeff Anderson Scholarship. Dr. Jeff Anderson founded Anderson Infirmary in 1928. At that time, the hospital had room to accommodate 30 patients and was staffed by three physicians and a handful of nurses. Dr. Anderson’s vision for the future, and his commitment to providing quality medical care for the residents in East Central Mississippi and West Central Alabama are the foundation of what has now grown

to be Anderson Regional Health System, a 400-bed medical center with over 160 physicians representing more than 38 specialties. The scholarship was created in 2004 to honor Dr. Anderson.

Shydai Lewis was awarded the Dr. W. J. Anderson III Scholarship. Dr. Anderson was the son of Dr. William J. Anderson and the grandson of hospital founder Dr. Jeff Anderson. Dr. Anderson was a general surgeon from 1962 until his retirement in 1998. Dr. Anderson served as president and chairman of the board of directors at JARMC until his death in October 2002. This scholarship was created in 2003 to honor Dr. Anderson’s visionary leadership to the hospital.

Brandi Wyatt was the recipient of the Reuben S. Johnson Memorial Scholarship. Johnson began his 47-year service to Anderson Regional Medical Center in 1947. He was president and chairman of the board for 38 years. He was instrumental in the successful transformation of the hospital from a small infirmary to what became Anderson Regional Medical Center. Johnson also served as the internal management consultant from 1976 until his death in 1994. The scholarship was created in 2007 to honor Johnson’s many accomplishments.

Receiving the Dr. William J. Anderson Jr. Scholarship was Parker Rigby. Dr. Anderson was the son of Dr. Jeff Anderson, the founder of the hospital. Dr. Anderson served as a general surgeon at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center. The scholarship was created in 1988, a year after his passing, to honor the many accomplishments of Dr. Anderson.

Jacob Whitney is the recipient of the Dr. Jeff Hollingsworth Scholarship. Dr. Hollingsworth, the grandson of Dr. Jeff Anderson, was a cardiovascular surgeon in Jackson and was instrumental in getting the Cardiac Catheterization program started in Meridian. Dr. Hollingsworth passed away in 1986. This scholarship was established in 1988 to honor Dr. Hollingsworth.

Anna Holmes received the William J. Gunn, Esquire, Scholarship. Gunn began his service to the medical center in 1965 as secretary to the board of directors and general counsel for the hospital. In 1967, he became a member of the board of directors and continued his faithful service until his death in August 2001. The scholarship was created in 2002 to honor Mr. Gunn’s service to the hospital.

Brittany Boone was the recipient of the Anderson Board of Directors Scholarship. The board works behind the scenes to ensure that Dr. Jeff Anderson’s vision, to give quality health care to the people of our region, is carried out. Each member brings expertise in a different area that enhance the quality of care given to patients. These individuals work tirelessly and with very little recognition for their labor. The scholarship was created in 2012 to recognize the valuable contributions of each board member.

Photo: At the awards ceremony are, seated from left, Janice Anderson, John G. Anderson, Jan Farrington, Dr. Joe Anderson, Dr. John Clay, Dr. Thomas Huebner and Dr. Lara Collum. Back row from left are Jason Cain, Brittany Boone, Anna Holmes, Brandi Wyatt, Jacob Whitney, Shydai Lewis, Parker Rigby, Jimesha Walker and Wanda Cooper.

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