Submitted by jbraswell on October 21, 2016 – 8:54am
POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College will honor two alumni and an organization with awards Saturday, Oct. 29, during homecoming.
John Pigott of Picayune will receive the Alumnus of the Year Award and alumnus John Clearman of Sumrall and the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District will receive Distinguished Service Awards.
The awards will be presented during the Alumni Luncheon in Olivia Bender Cafeteria in Poplarville.
Homecoming also includes the induction of new members into the PRCC Sports Hall of Fame. This year’s induction will recognize football standouts Jimmy Oliver of Columbia and Lou Martensen of Oklahoma City, Okla; former head football coach Tim Hatten of Crestview, Fla.; soccer star Breeana Fortenberry of Waveland, baseball All-American Kyle Lindsey of Purvis and golfer Coby Scarborough of Lake Ozark, Mo.
The PRCC Wildcats will kick off against Co-Lin at 2 p.m. at Dobie Holden Stadium. Queen Ellen Hall of Purvis will be crowned and her court presented at halftime.
Pigott’s ties to Pearl River started when he stepped on campus as a 17-year-old and continue today as vice president of the Mississippi Community College Board.
In the intervening years, he married PRCC graduate Dorothy McVaugh, sent two of their four children to “The River” and served on the Development Foundation board and as a Brownstone Center sponsor.
“John Pigott’s story as part of the Pearl River College family began years ago when he drove a bus from Picayune to Poplarville each day delivering students to campus,” said Ernie Lovell, Development Foundation executive director. “This helped him fund his education at PRJC. Since that time in the 1960s John has taken on many roles in service to his college.”
After graduating from Pearl River in 1970, Pigott earned a business degree from Mississippi State University. The Pigott Agency has grown to be one of the largest Allstate agencies in the state with seven employees and offices in Picayune and Poplarville. He also owns WRJW radio station in Picayune where he once was a part-time DJ and spent the night of Hurricane Camille in 1969.
“As a graduate of PRCC and MSU and a small business owner, I am well aware of the importance of the role played by the community college system in Mississippi,” Pigott said. “The Mississippi Community College system is the premier community college system in the country and provides a vital link to vocational careers, to work force training and to higher educational degrees. PRC provided me the opportunity to grow and mature as an individual. I will always be thankful for my ‘junior college’ experience.”
He and his wife have four children and seven grandchildren.
Clearman has been helping PRCC students get a college education for a dozen years through the John Clearman/BSU Scholarships.
“I enjoy giving and helping others,” he said. “I have also helped non-scholarship students with tuition as well as with the purchase of books and have provided students with funding for educational trips and local and international mission trips.”
Clearman established the scholarships in August 2004 through the Development Foundation.
“Each year he has dedicated more of his time, energy and financial support to our students and the college,” Lovell said. “Whether it be scholarships, athletics or the arts, John has taken the lead in helping these programs grow and bring great opportunities to our students.”
Clearman came to Pearl River after graduating from Sumrall High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from William Carey University. He operated his family’s 600-acre dairy farm, where as many as 150 cows were milked, until he diversified to beef cows, poultry, hay and soybeans. Clearman has also been a life insurance broker for 26 years.
The Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District provides scholarship assistance to 12 PRCC students annually.
“The District has provided $100,000.00 in scholarship support through the college foundation for students in our six-county service area,” Lovell said. “The District also serves as a lead sponsor of events directed by our foundation. We greatly appreciate the lead role that they take in promoting and advancing the mission of Pearl River Community College.”
SMPDD, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 1967 to serve as a liaison between local government and the various state, regional, and federal agencies involved in economic, community and human development.
Assisting 15 county and 38 municipal governments, SMPDD’s geographic service area encompasses South Mississippi. Since its beginning, SMPDD has continually evolved to meet the needs of local government by discovering opportunities and anticipating the trends that challenge the economic vitality, environmental integrity and overall quality of life enjoyed in South Mississippi.
Saturday, Oct. 29
• Sports Hall of Fame Induction – 8:45 a.m., Technology Building
• Alumni Luncheon – 11:30 a.m., Bender Cafeteria
• Homecoming court tea party for children – 12 p.m., Brownstone Center lobby
• Carnival – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. – football practice field near stadium
• Kickoff vs Co-Lin – 2 p.m., Dobie Holden Stadium
• Queen coronation – Halftime