JCJC announces Honor Alumni 2010
Written By: Teresa Martin and Rebecca Patrick
Email Address: email@example.com
Date Submitted: 2010-10-04 09:42:24
ELLISVILLE – Three very familiar faces will share the spotlight Saturday as the 2010 Honor Alumni at Jones County Junior College. Former JCJC presidents Terrell Tisdale and Ronald Whitehead, and former vice president of student affairs Tim Waldrup have been selected as this year’s Honor Alumni. They will be honored during Homecoming festivities Saturday, October 9.
“These gentlemen have collectively built Jones into what most graduates in the last 30 years remember Jones to be,” said JCJC president Dr. Jesse Smith. “I personally am a product of the student body under their leadership.”
With their combined years of service to Jones totaling more than 100, Tisdale, Whitehead and Waldrup left a lasting mark on the college.
“These gentlemen rebuilt the campus, revitalized our faculty and invigorated the student body,” explained Smith. “The college is deeply indebted to these men for their service and commitment. They are very deserving of this small token of our appreciation.”
Tisdale, a graduate of both Jones County Agricultural High School and JCJC, served in various administrative roles and was president of the college from 1970-1997. He began his long relationship with Jones as a student in 1951. During his high school and junior college days, Tisdale drove a bus and played trombone in the band.
“In 1955, we had a very successful football season and we got invited to the Junior Rose Bowl,” Tisdale recalled. “Many of us had never been very far from home so that was quite an experience for us. Although we lost the ballgame, we were all winners for having had the opportunity to go to California.”
After graduating from JCJC, Tisdale earned his undergraduate degree, master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Southern Mississippi. He returned to Jones as dean of men and worked in several capacities until he succeeded J. B. Young as president of the college in 1970.
Construction and renovation were predominant tasks facing Tisdale’s administration. During his tenure as president, all of the buildings on campus at the time were either newly built or renovated.
“Dr. Young had done a very good job as president, especially seeing us through the war years and bringing in facilities for the veterans,” said Tisdale, “but by the time I became president, the facilities needed improvements and that’s what I had to work on. Federal money became available and we were able to take that and build many new facilities.”
Tisdale’s wife, Martha, taught piano for many years and their son, James, grew up on campus and attended JCJC.
“It was a great place to raise a family,” Tisdale said.
After his retirement, Tisdale moved to Hattiesburg where he is an adjunct instructor at USM and William Carey University.
A native of Shannon, where he also attended high school, Whitehead graduated from Itawamba Junior College. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Mississippi State University. Whitehead obtained his doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi.
He taught high school mathematics in Texas, Florida and Mississippi before accepting Tisdale’s offer to join the JCJC faculty as dean of students in 1970. Whitehead also served as academic dean and dean of the college before being named JCJC president in 1997. He held that position until his retirement in 2006.
“I’m not a graduate of Jones, but I’m definitely what one would call a friend of the college,” Whitehead said. “It’s a very distinct honor to be chosen as an honor alumnus. There are some very distinguished folks who have been selected for this in the past, and to go in with Dr. Tisdale and Mr. Waldrup, men with whom I worked closely for many years, well that makes it even more special.”
Although he did not attend JCJC, Whitehead and his family have strong ties to the college. In addition to his service to the institution, Whitehead’s wife, Charlotte, taught mathematics at JCJC and their two children, Russell and Rebecca, grew up on the campus and graduated from JCJC.
“I agree with Dr. Tisdale,” Whitehead said. “(JCJC) was a great place to raise a family. That includes not only the college, but also the Ellisville community and our former church family at First United Methodist Church.”
During Whitehead’s years as president, he successfully worked with legislators and community leaders to get funding for the JCJC Advanced Technology Center named in his honor. Whitehead also had the task of leading the college through the recovery process immediately following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“We were able to feed, house and provide showers for upwards of 400 (electric power company workers) in the P.E. Building and the Howard Gymnasium,” Whitehead explained. “We also cooked a lot of food that the local grocery stores and our cafeteria had and fed many of our Jones employees and many community folks.”
Upon his retirement, Whitehead moved to Booneville.
Hired just one week after Whitehead, Waldrup served the college briefly as dean of men before becoming dean of students and eventually vice president of student affairs. A native of Louin, he graduated from Bay Springs High School and JCJC. Waldrup earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Delta State University. Waldrup said that being named one of this year’s honor alumni was quite a surprise for him.
“It was totally unexpected,” Waldrup said. “That’s one of the reasons it’s such an honor. There are lots of people out there more deserving. I’m elated and humbled.”
Having spent the majority of his tenure at JCJC overseeing student government and student activities, Waldrup often joked that he was, “the director of wildlife.” Under his leadership, student government became a very active part of the JCJC campus life.
“Student Services, like education itself, is always evolving,” Waldrup said. “Each year brings new students with new ideas about the universe, some want to fit in the universe and some want to change it, and an educational institutions needs both kinds.”
Waldrup worked very closely with both Tisdale and Whitehead. Both brought different styles and strengths to the office of president.
“Tisdale was a visionary. He knew where he wanted the college to be and he knew how to get it there,” Waldrup said. “Whitehead was a very intelligent leader who carried on the traditions that were an important part of Jones. I enjoyed working with them very much.”
For most of their 31 years on campus, Waldrup and his wife Patricia, who served as dean of women and cheerleader sponsor, lived in one of the women’s dormitories. Their daughter, Missie, graduated from Jones and now teaches English at the college.
Just prior to his retirement from the college, Waldrup was elected mayor of Ellisville, a position he has held for nearly ten years. As mayor, he continues to work very closely with the college on matters such as economic development and urban forestry.