Honoring former Wildcat and long-time PRCC Baseball fan Waldo Cleland

May 7, 2024

A Pearl River Community College Wildcat and avid Wildcat Baseball team fan is being honored posthumously with the Waldo Cleland Memorial Scholarship. In celebration of the new scholarship, The Cleland family threw out the first pitch of the April 17th game against East Central Community College. 

PRCC Baseball celebrated long-time fan Waldo Cleland with his son, Wiley, throwing the first pitch at the April 17th game. (left to right) PRCC Baseball Coach Michael Avalon, Wiley Cleland, Jordan Cleland, Kim Cleland, and Parker Ryan.

Established by the Cleland family and Mr. Tom and Mrs. Renee Porter, the Waldo Cleland Memorial Scholarship aims to support a student from Marion County interested in Wildlife Management, Conservation, or Environmental Studies. Priority will be given to applicants engaged in an archery program. 

“It is an honor to have this scholarship in memory of Mr. Waldo established within the Foundation,” said Executive Director of Development Foundation/Alumni Association Delana Harris. “The Cleland family have always been wonderful supporters of their community and PRCC. We hope to create a living legacy in Mr. Waldo’s honor by selecting a student that represents his love for archery, the outdoors, and Pearl River Community College.” 

A longtime resident of Marion County, Cleland attended PRCC after he graduated from Columbia Academy in 1983 with his future wife, Kim. After his time at The River, he pursued his dream of owning Waldo’s Sports Center for 19 years.  

“PRCC has always been a special place for my family,” said Kim Cleland, Waldo’s wife. “It holds special memories as Waldo and I commuted from Columbia to take summer courses in 1983 just after graduation from high school. Later, in 1996, I returned to obtain an Associate Degree in Nursing. 

Cleland was a passionate professional archer, winning four national titles (NFAA Field Championship in 1990, 1991, and 1992 as well as the President’s Award as top male archer in 1991) and a Shooter of the Year award (National Field Archery Association 1997 Champion of Champion.) Fueled by a vision to make archery accessible to every high schooler in Mississippi, Waldo spearheaded the Archery in Mississippi Schools program (AIMS) in 2003, generously supported by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife. He also served as the head coach of the Mississippi College archery team from 2014-2019 and was an assistant coach until his death.  

Man holds award plaque with trophies around him.
Waldo Cleland was an avid archer who won numerous awards.

His connection to PRCC did not end with his attendance. His son, Wiley, attended from 2017-2019 and was a member of the Baseball Team.  

“Waldo and I were absolutely thrilled when our son, Wiley, was afforded a scholarship to play baseball,” said Kim Cleland. “PRCC provides a great college experience and education while maintaining a family atmosphere across the campus.” 

He played for the Wildcats in the 2019 NJCAA Division II World Series in Enid, Oklahoma. Wiley earned first-team All-MACJC, first-team All-Region 23, and third-team NJCAA All-American.  

“My Dad loved baseball more than anything,” said Wiley Cleland. “He’d never miss a game here or on the road. He was die-hard for sure.” 

Cleland has great memories of his own time at The River, both on and off the field. 

“PRCC stood out with the family atmosphere on campus,” said Cleland. “If you need anything, you can ask anybody at any time, and they’re just willing to give you the shirt off their back.” 

Community members who want to donate to this scholarship can do so online, by phone, or by mail. Online donations are made at prcc.edu/alumni/donate, where you can select general scholarships and put “Waldo Cleland Memorial Scholarship” in the comment box.  

Phone donations can be made by calling the PRCC Development Foundation at 601-403-1183. Alternatively, checks can be mailed to PRCC Development Foundation at PO Box 5389 Poplarville, MS 39470. Please make sure to note Waldo Cleland Memorial Scholarship on the check. 

Anyone interested in starting a scholarship fund can start the process through an online form at prcc.edu/alumni/scholarship.  The scholarship can be named and have specific criteria for the eligibility of students for the award. Fully funding a scholarship requires a minimum of $10,000 that can be delivered over time or in a lump sum.  

Questions about the process can be directed to Harris at dharris@prcc.edu

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), Facebook (@PRCCMKTG), and TikTok (@prcc_wildcats).

Article by Laura O’Neill. First Pitch photo by River Roderick. Additional photos shared by the family.

Each community college president is asked to bring two (2) wrapped door prizes, minimum value of $50 each. We will have a station set up at the conference for you to drop off the door prizes.

Each community college is asked to provide name tags for their Board members, administration, and staff attending the conference.