1997 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Posey, Dearing, Johnson (38th), Rayborn, Smith, Burton

Senate Concurrent Resolution 573

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


WHEREAS, Dr. Billy B. Thames, President of Copiah-Lincoln Community College for the past 29 years, announced his retirement, effective June 30, 1997, to the college's board of trustees; and

WHEREAS, on January 20, 1968, Dr. Billy B. Thames came to work at Copiah-Lincoln Community College as president of the college, and would go on to serve longer than any of the previous three presidents; and

WHEREAS, progress is the word to best describe Dr. Billy Thames: upon becoming president, he would launch a building program, triple the student enrollment, launch new programs that were beneficial to the college district, expand new services to citizens of the district, composed of Adams, Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln and Simpson Counties, establish a second campus of Copiah-Lincoln Community College, the Natchez Campus serving more than 1500 students annually, with the $4.6 Million Natchez Campus combining the Vocational-Technical Program with the academic program on the same campus and a modern $2 Million Vo-Tech Building which opened on the Natchez Campus in 1988; Dr. Thames has been responsible for the expansion of the college's alumni association and the establishment of the college's foundation office with the addition of nearly 100 scholarships and an active fund-raising group; he has established the division of student services, expanded the vocational-technical division to include numerous new programs on both campuses, established the One Stop Career Center and the Learning Center which has been a model for other such facilities across the nation, expanded library facilities and services, and established math and reading labs; buildings have gone up all over the Wesson campus, including the Willie H. Smith Building, the W.S. Henley Student Union Building, the Maggie Flowers Ewing Fine Arts Building, the Noah Wallace Building, Lula Stevens Hall and Annex, the Frank Pitts Field House, Walter R. Sullivan Field, "Chuckin'" Charlie Ward Football Practice Field, Otho Messer Vocational-Technical Building, Dwight Harris Transportation Center, Dan Watson Physical Plant Building, J.S. Youngblood Building, R.E. "Bob" Anderson Vocational Building, Franklin Hall and Simpson Hall, and the James H. Striblin Associate Degree Nursing Building; renovated during his tenure was the J.M. Ewing Administration Building and Rea Auditorium, the Gertrude Mutton Building, Smith Hall, Memorial Building, Callender Hall, L. Russell Ellzey Hall, Lincoln County Hall, Copiah County Hall, Graydon L. Mullen Gymnasium, Jessie Sandifer Communications Building, Josie Ellis Hall and the J.J. Wesson Building; the construction of the first Co-Lin Golf Course of nine holes was built after Dr. Thames became president and this fall the new 18-hold Wolf Hollow Golf Course was completed; Co-Lin's football and basketball programs have been nationally-ranked and have participated in national tournaments, an intercollegiate program is offered in football, men's and women's basketball, women's softball, men's and women's tennis, track and golf, a new soccer field has been constructed recently and plans are to expand the field for softball; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Billy Thames was born in Monticello in Lawrence County, the son of the late James C. and Neva Bass Thames and one of four children; he is a 1952 graduate of Monticello High School, a 1954 graduate of Copiah-Lincoln Community College, where he was selected to the very first Hall of Fame, he is a 1958 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, after having served two years in the United States Army from 1954 to 1956, he received a master of science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1959 and a doctorate degree in 1974, he began his career with the Jackson Public Schools at Chastain Junior High School from 1959 to 1964 as a coach, teacher and counselor, as Principal at McAdams Attendance Center from 1964-1965 and as Director of Admissions at Belhaven College from 1965 to 1968; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Thames is currently among the five longest-serving presidents with over 25 years in the nation, a recognition presented at last year's American Community College Association's annual meeting; Dr. Thames began his 30th year as President of Co-Lin in January 1997 and he is the first alumnus chosen as president of the college; and

WHEREAS, throughout the years he has received other notable honors, including being recognized by Mississippi College in 1975-1976 for his Service to Humanity Award, selected as one of eight Most Distinguished Alumnus in the United States by Phi Theta Kappa in 1975, Copiah-Lincoln's first-ever Alumnus of the Year in 1970; recognized by Lawrence County for Betterment of Life in Lawrence County in 1975, in December 1996 he was honored with the Hope Award at a Dinner of Champions given by the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the prestigious Service Award presented by the Mississippi Humanities Council and was presented the Golden Deed Award by the Mississippi Association of School Administrators in 1995; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Billy Thames has been a civic leader in the state during his tenure as President of Copiah-Lincoln: he has served as President of the Wesson Lions Club three terms, as District Governor, District 30-I Lions Club, Chairman of Lions Council of Governors, District 30, Chairman of White Canes for Lions, President and Treasurer of Lions Sight Foundation; he is an active member of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County and the Copiah County Chambers of Commerce, is a past president of the Wesson Chamber of Commerce and current President of the Copiah County Chamber, he served as Chairman of the Mississippi Humanities Council, is a past chairman of the Copiah Competitive Leadership Project, is a member of the Governor's Task Force of Accreditation and the Executive Management Institute, and is a former member of the Private Industry Council; Dr. Thames is a former President of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges, where he has served on various committee chairmanships and committees throughout the years, is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Association of School Administrators and past chairman of the Millennium Workforce Group, and is a member of the Mississippi Community College Foundation; Dr. Thames is a member, deacon and trustee of Wesson Baptist Church, is superintendent of the Adult Sunday School Department, past member of the Education Commission of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, and a past member of the Baptist Record Advisory Committee; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Billy Thames is married to the former Anne Allen of Monticello; they are parents of three children, Mrs. Rachel Peeples, Rebecca Thames and William Thames and they are grandparents of one granddaughter, Ashley Anne Peeples; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Thames has brought great honor to his community college and his state through his legacy of progress:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend and congratulate Dr. Billy Thames on the occasion of his retirement after serving 30 years as President of Copiah-Lincoln Community College and for his educational and civic contributions to his students and his state, and wish him continued success in his future endeavors.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be presented to Dr. Billy Thames and his family and copies be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.