POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College honored six outstanding alumni with induction into the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame at an April 17 gala.
Honored were entertainer Jimmy Buffett, the late Delos H. Burks of Picayune, James Ginn of Diamondhead, Francis Herrin of Hattiesburg, Howell Purvis of Purvis and Donnie Waits of Gulfport.
“We admire what you have achieved,” said PRCC President Dr. William Lewis. “You are some special people we are recognizing tonight.”
The Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame recognizes the successes of Pearl River alumni.
“If my grandfather was here tonight, I guess he would say ‘I did alright for a country boy.’,” said state Sen. Angela Burks Hill in accepting her grandfather’s award.
Burks graduated from PRCC in 1936, served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II and went on to distinguish himself in state government, including service in the state House of Representatives, and the Mississippi Air National Guard. He retired as a major general.
Ginn, a 1959 graduate, worked 42 years for Hancock Bank, retiring as executive vice president. Herrin also worked his entire career for one company - Shell Oil - after graduating from Pearl River in 1958.
Purvis, a 1955 graduate, served twice as a Naval Aviator and for 20 years as a U.S. Secret Service agent. He recalled learning about service to others and integrity from his instructors at Pearl River.
“These values were not only taught but lived out by the staff,” he said. “For all the things Pearl River College did for me, there exists a debt of gratitude that will never be repaid.”
Waits also graduated in 1955, heading into a 40-year career as an attorney while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He retired from the military as a lieutenant colonel and from the legal profession as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi.
Pearl River County Justice Court Judge James Hal Breland accepted the award for Buffett, who lived with the Breland family while attending Pearl River in 1965-66. Buffett also sent a video-taped acceptance.
Honorees at the 2014 Pearl River Community College Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame gala were, seated from left, Howell Purvis of Purvis and Donnie Waits of Gulfport; standing, Francis Herrin of Hattiesburg, James Ginn of Diamondhead, Sen. Angela Burks Hill, representing her late grandfather Delos H. Burks; James Hal Breland, representing entertainer Jimmy Buffett; and PRCC President Dr. William Lewis.