Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College alumni inducted into Hall of Fame

Mississippi Gulf Coast Alumni Hall of Fame recipients are Chett Harrison, Perkinston Campus; Leonard Papania, Jefferson Davis Campus; and Kevin Holland, Jackson County Campus.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Alumni Hall of Fame recipients are Chett Harrison, Perkinston Campus; Leonard Papania, Jefferson Davis Campus; and Kevin Holland, Jackson County Campus. MGCCC

Earlier this year, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College inducted alumni into its Hall of Fame.

Below are the inductees.

The Alumni Hall of Fame award was established in 1970 to honor alumni who have exhibited exceptional merit and achievement resulting in fame and recognition for themselves and the college.

Kevin Holland

Kevin Holland, Jackson County Campus — Holland, of Ocean Springs, has been the chief executive officer of Singing River Health System since 2014.

A native of Pascagoula, Holland attended the Jackson County Campus from 1989-1991. After attending MGCCC, he transferred to Mississippi State University and graduated from there in 1993 with a bachelor of arts in economics.

He did his post-graduate work at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he earned both a master of business administration and a master of science and health administration. He completed his administrative residency at Eastern Health System in Birmingham.

He and his wife, Beth, have two sons, both currently students at Ocean Springs High School. He is actively involved in the Jackson County community, including St. Paul United Methodist Church, where he teaches Sunday school and youth.

Leonard Papania

Leonard Papania, Jefferson Davis campus — A Gulfport native, Papania is the chief of police in Gulfport, a position he has held for the past three years.

He joined the force full time in 1994. During his tenure with the Gulfport Police Department, he has worked as a reserve officer and patrol officer.

He served as part of a street-crimes unit and in the narcotics division. He was a task force member with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the DEA, and he later served in internal affairs.

He attended Gulfport High School and, after graduating, he went to MGCCC’s Jefferson Davis Campus off and on from 1984 to 1987 before transferring to The University of Southern Mississippi to complete his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Papania and his wife, Angela, have been married since 1990. They have four children — James, Nicholas, Bennet and Rosie.

Chett Harrison

Chett Harrison, Perkinston campus — A native of Wiggins, Harrison is the vice president and general manager of the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Biloxi.

He attended the Perkinston Campus from 1985-1988. After leaving MGCCC, he received his bachelor’s degree in advertising and a minor in marketing from The University of Southern Mississippi.

He graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi in 1990. Harrison, now a resident of Gulfport, is married to wife, Kim, whom he met on a cruise out of New Orleans. The couple has two children: son Presley, 15, and daughter Jessica, 13.

2016 Bulldog Hall of Honor Recipient

The Bulldog Hall of Honor award was established in 2008 to recognize and honor individuals who have gone over and beyond in promotion and participation in and around athletic events at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Wilma Proffitt Valentine

Wilma Proffitt Valentine of Biloxi began her time at the Harrison-Stone-Jackson Agricultural High School in September 1937 and graduated with honors in June 1941.

She was a Perkinston Junior College student from September 1941 to May 1943.

During her time in college at Perk, she was Super Duper Blue Devils Tumbling Team captain (1942-1943) and she lettered in tennis (1942) and was tennis doubles captain (1943). She was secretary to the president and assistant registrar from November 1944 to December 1945. While in high school and in college, she was a drum majorette for the Perkinston Junior College band (1938-1943).

2016 Spirit of Gulf Coast Honoree

The Spirit of Gulf Coast award was established in 2008 to recognize and honor individuals who have made significant personal and/or financial contributions in support of Bulldog Athletics.

Glen East

Glen East of Gulfport is superintendent of the Gulfport School District, a position he has held since 2005.

A native of the city, East graduated from Gulfport High School in 1979. He received his bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College in 1983 and his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from The University of Southern Mississippi in 1985.

2016 Sam Owen Award Recipient

The Sam Owen Award was established and given in memory of the late Sam Owen, a 1927 Perkinston graduate. It is given each year to a person who has actively supported the college through dedication and service.

Charles Sullivan

Charles Sullivan was hired on Aug. 23, 1967 as a social studies instructor, beginning his long tenure with the college.

In 1992, President Barry Mellinger and the Board of Trustees approved Sullivan and then-Publicity Director Winfred Moncrief to handle the development of a college archives.

At the time, he thought it would take a couple of years to complete the archives, but this year, he has exclaimed that it is still not complete. In 1994, he began writing the history of the institution. The book, “Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College: A History 1911-2000,” required an estimated 20,000 hours across eight years to complete and arrived in Perkinston on Sept. 27, 2002. It is 608 pages and contains 1,230 illustrations and approximately 320,900 words.

Sullivan was named Spirit of Gulf Coast in 2002 for his exceptional support of MGCCC athletics. He retired from teaching in May 2006 to become full-time/part-time MGCCC archivist, a position he still holds. He was named professor emeritus in 2006.