From Press, Staff Reports
SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College’s new student union was dedicated for its champion Oct. 6 as it was christened the F.R. Young Student Union.
Hundreds gathered on the sidewalk and street in front of the union to see EMCC President Dr. Fred Rickey “Rick” Young honored and the new lettering unveiled hours before EMCC’s Homecoming matchup against Holmes Community College.
Young is a native of Mathiston and resident of Eupora (Ticky Bend community). He was preceded at the podium by Scooba campus Vice President Dr. Andrea Mayfield, Mississippi Sen. Terry Brown of Columbus and EMCC board of trustees Chairman Dennis Morgan, who introduced Young to a round of applause.
Morgan said Young deserved to have his name on a marquee building to commemorate the progress made under his administration, a feeling shared unanimously by the EMCC board of trustees.
“He’s a winner and, if you want something done, Dr. Young will get it done. A union was the main thing lacking on campus, a place for students to meet and eat and fellowship,” Morgan said.
Career Highlight Brown echoed Morgan’s sentiments during his address at the dedication ceremony, but had fun ribbing the president for his formal moniker: “Who is F.R.? I’ll just keep calling you Rick.”
Young smiled broadly at the jokes and deferred much of the credit for the union’s construction to his board and others.
“This is a humbling experience, and one that will forever be the highlight of my career. Few people have a building named after them. Even fewer enjoy the honor while they’re alive,” Young said.
“A project such as this is not the work of one, but many. I thank my board of trustees, my EMCC Lion family, Pryor & Morrow Architects of Columbus, and the countless individuals who worked to make this much- needed building a reality.”
38 Years at EMCC Dr. Rick Young has been a member of the East Mississippi Community College team for 38 years, and EMCC’s president for eight of those years.
Actually, for Young, working for school systems goes back even further – he drove the school bus as a 17-year-old senior at Mathiston High School.
An alumnus of Wood Junior College, the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University, Dr. Young holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing, a master’s degree in technology education and a doctorate in educational leadership with a special emphasis in the administration of higher education.
In 1974, he accepted a position at EMCC and became vice president of the Golden Triangle campus in Mayhew in 1987. Under his leadership, the Golden Triangle campus posted a 454 percent enrollment increase between 1996 and 2003. Dr. Young was also instrumental in establishing the first Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence in the state. A model then and now, the EMCC workforce team leads the state’s 15 community colleges in delivery of workforce training.
Young is dedicated to knocking down the barriers that stand between people and opportunity – whether it’s creating better programs, offering classes in more locations, making education affordable, scheduling evening classes for students who are holding down jobs or improving the quality of EMCC’s facilities.
Improvements Seen He worked with public and private sector partners to establish EMCC’s Tuition Guarantee program, which debuted in Clay County in fall 2008. A few months later, the Tuition Guarantee program was available throughout EMCC’s six-county district, made up of Clay, Kemper, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Noxubee and Oktibbeha.
Young’s tenure has also seen a number of infrastructure and curriculum improvements. At the Golden Triangle campus, this includes the startup of many new programs, most recently an Associate Degree Nursing program. A new Student Union is in the planning stages for the Golden Triangle campus and, earlier in October, EMCC acquired the Columbus Country Club property.
At the Scooba campus, the new Sullivan-Windham Field opened in 2011. An addition to the Chapel in the Pines, the Buster and Jeanie Orr Center for Christian Activity, was completed in April 2011. And, at the heart of the Scooba campus, the new F.R. Young Student Union was dedicated Oct. 6, a fitting tribute to a dedicated educator.