JCJC Honor Alumni 2015: Hill, McClellan and Strickland

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2015-10-27 16:00:42

ELLISVILLE-Three Jones County Junior College alumni were selected as this years, “Honor Alumni”: 2006 JCJC graduate, Chris Hill of Laurel and current Charlotte, North Carolina resident; 1964 JCJC graduate, Mike McClellan of Heidelberg and current Hattiesburg resident; JCJC 1956 graduate and instructor, Anne Forde Strickland of Ellisville.  The three were honored during a special banquet in their honor prior to Homecoming festivities on Saturday, October 10.  They were also recognized during half-time of the JCJC football game against East Central.
“The three great people we are recognizing are extraordinary people, with extraordinary lives. These graduates have distinguished themselves in their very diverse chosen professions.One has the mothering and nurturing instincts that changed the lives of thousands of people.  The other showed the greatest leadership that we’ve ever seen here at JCJC and the other is a bright and shining star and the face of JCJC. They are just outstanding people who’ve made a tremendous impact,” said JCJC President, Dr. Jesse Smith.  

Chris Hill is often remembered as the non-traditional student who led on and off the football field as Student Government Association President, Secretary of Phi Beta Lambda honor society and the student worker of the late, Dr. Paul Hollomon in the Computer Information Systems Technology department.  He served in the Marine Corps prior to becoming a Bobcat, earning a National Defense Service Medal, the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement medal and the Marine Corps Good Conduct medal. 

The JCJC Hall of Fame inductee and Phi Theta Kappa international honor society member blazed a trail after leaving Jones by continuing his football career with a scholarship at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina while also earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Networking. Hill is a Thurgood Marshall Scholar which helped further launch his career and several internships, including Corporate BMW, Intel Corporation, eBay, Inc., the Department of Defense and a National Science Foundation-GERT internship at Texas Tech University.  

After earning his master’s degree in Information Systems Management from Drexel University, Hill started working at Microsoft in North Carolina,in 2012 as a consultant for the Private Cloud division and is now managing several multi-million dollar projects. He is currently the Project Manager leading the Microsoft Surface project with the National Football League.  Hill also owns, Venture Scholarship Consulting, which assists high school and college students in locating, applying and securing scholarships, internships and fellowships. He personally helped endow his JCJC mentor and instructor, Dr. Paul Hollomon's memorial scholarship fund and Microsoft matched his gift. More recently, Hill has been working on several partnerships between JCJC and Microsoft to help local school districts, community-based organizations and local businesses in educational Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) initiatives through million dollar grants sponsored through the National Science Foundation.
“Not only is giving back the right thing to do for me but it’s a part of who I am.  It’s not for me, the things I attain or achieve, but the things I can give back, what other cause is there than Jones? I promise you, you will see more great things from me in the future,” said Chris Hill at the Honor Alumnus banquet.
Chris' family consists of, 11-year old daughter, Briana Hill, his older sisters, Victoria Buchanan, Dr. Shantwania Buchanan and Hope Buchanan, and his mother, Clementine Buchanan of Laurel.
Dr. Smith labeled Chris Hill as a “shining star in America” and Honor Alumnus, Mike McClellan a great leader.  McClellan first landed on the JCJC campus in 1962 as a standout football player and track star from Heidelberg. The 1963 football team he led as quarterback just missed claiming the South Division title, however McClellan's efforts earned him numerous post-season honors including “Most Valuable Back” in the League and he was named All-State, All-Region and JC Grid-Wire All-American as a quarterback. He continued his education at USM, where he held a long-standing record for the lowest percentage interceptions for over 100 passes and lettered in football and baseball. 
The 2013 Mississippi Community and Junior College Sports Hall of Fame recipient and JCJC Sports Hall of Famer taught and coached for eight years before working in pharmaceutical sales. Since its beginnings in 1977, McClellan has been working at Magnolia State Bank for 38 years, serving as a branch manager and president, in Heidelberg and Hattiesburg. In honor of McClellan's many contributions to the college and business community, Magnolia Bank established and endowed a scholarship in his name.

“I want to thank my boss, Thomas Brown who gets credit for some of the great success I’ve had here at JCJC.  He allowed me to come here and be on the Board of Trustees.  I’m honored to receive this recognition but it was Mr. Brown who allowed me the opportunity to do my civic duty and to do it the best that I could,” said McClellan. 
Some of McClellan's post-college contributions to JCJC include serving on the JCJC Board of Trustees for 25 years.  Six of his years on the Board of Trustees include being Chairman of the Board. During his tenure on the JCJC Board of Trustees, JCJC President, Dr. Ronald Whitehead nominated McClellan to also serve as the President of the State Board of Community & Junior Colleges.  McClellan was called on to speak before State Legislators each year and discuss funding for community colleges, among other responsibilities. When his son Scotty enrolled at Jones, McClellan helped re-start the golf program at JCJC.  Mike and his wife Margie have been married for 52 years with two children and four grandchildren. 
“Mike came out of the crowd and said this is what we need to do.  He’s an outstanding, humble leader. He has guts. He took a chance on this young man to be President of Jones. I appreciate him,” said Dr. Smith.
After graduating from JCJC in 1956, Honor Alumna, Anne Forde-Strickland earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Education and her Master's in Adult Education with a teacher certification in English from USM. She started working at JCJC in 1980 in the Related Studies Department helping students gain the confidence and skills they needed to succeed in earning a college degree.  She later began working in the Single Parent-Displaced Homemaker Program as federal funding became available to help students prepare academically and socially for college and work.   Dr. Smith said the program was a perfect fit for Anne because at the time, she was also a single parent. Strickland helped change the lives of so many people as a result.
“She still sees many of those ladies and they remember her and appreciate her.  Anne was not only an employee, but she was a friend and has remained so.  She is very deserving of this honor and I congratulate her on this special occasion,” said former JCJC President, Dr. Ronald Whitehead.

In all, Strickland spent 21 years teaching at JCJC and 10 years in area high schools.  Some of her honors and awards include being the 1989 South Mississippi Teacher of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Adult and Continuing Education department; Soroptimist International of America's 1994 recipient of the Women Helping Women Award; recognized as a Lamplighter for being an outstanding Community and Junior College instructor in 1994; being featured on WDAM-TV's Real Movers and Shakers-People Who Make a Difference Series in 1995; the 1996 recipient of the Women Helping Women Award by the City of Laurel; the 1997 South Mississippi Regional Representative for the Displaced Homemaker program; and Strickland served on the Board of Trustees for William Carey University from 2006-2009. 
“She would have clothes in her office for women in need…it was very much a calling for her.  She appreciated the faculty who helped students see the many opportunities before them.  She always said, ‘God has a plan and that was for her to come here and serve.  She really appreciates this award,” said her son John Forde.
Anne Forde-Strickland is a married to Dr. Randolph Strickland and together they have three children, are the grandparents of six and the great-grandparents of one.   


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