PRCC Honors Institute Medallion Ceremony: Celebrating the Next Generation of Leaders

Published 9:39 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

The Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute at Pearl River Community College held its annual Medallion Ceremony in the Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Arts on the Poplarville campus on April 29. The ceremony recognized honors students from Forrest County and Poplarville Campuses, including several Middle College students. 

PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood and Dr. Jennifer Seal, Dean of the Honors Institute on the Poplarville Campus, welcomed the students, family, friends and faculty in attendance.  

“Welcome to a day of celebration, the day where we recognize the remarkable academic achievements of these outstanding students,” said Dr. Breerwood. “I want to take a moment to thank the proud parents and families and cherished loved ones who have joined us this afternoon. We recognize the instrumental role that each of you has played in their journey, their unwavering support, encouragement and guidance on which their success has been built.” 

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Dr. Douglas Donohue, Associate Dean of the Honors Institute on the Forrest County Campus, provided an overview of the institute. This included its creation in 2011 with the vision to nurture the brightest minds while fostering a culture of critical thinking and inspiring a love of life-long learning.  

“The Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute is a beacon of academic excellence and intellectual curiosity at PRCC,” said Dr. Donohue. “The heart of our Institute is a commitment to providing an enriched educational experience that challenges our students to push the boundaries of their knowledge and creativity.” 

To receive a medallion, students had to complete at least 21 hours of honors coursework and maintain a cumulative 3.4 grade point average. The honors coursework covers the same material as covered in regular sections of a course but in greater depth with more opportunity for students to pursue individual interests. 

Brandon Gwin and Emily Smith, both attending the Forrest County Campus, as well as Allison Gobuzzi and Aden Levy both attending the Poplarville Campus, were chosen to say a few words on behalf of their compatriots. Each expressed the impact being a member of the Honors Institute had on their experience at PRCC and how it will serve them well in future endeavors. 

Dr. Jana Causey, Vice President for Forrest County Center, Allied Health, and Nursing Programs, shared information about each student’s achievements and associations as a PRCC student. The physical presentation of the medallion was done by Dr. Breerwood and Dr. Seal. 

Closing remarks were provided by Dr. Ryan Ruckel, Dean of the Honors Institute on the Forrest County Campus. He gave a heartfelt and inspiring speech that challenged students to forge their path ahead in life by beginning with the end in sight. 

“None of us knows what life holds for us,” said Dr. Ruckel. “All of us may want to do the very best. Thinking about our days being numbered, thinking about what we have been given, and then looking for ways to make the most out of that and to give that – that’s something that all of you have done.” 

Deamy Alvarado – Hattiesburg 
Raegan Anderson – Purvis  
Jiana Atencio – Soso  
Elijah Barberi – Ocean Springs  
Yessica Bernal-Solis – Hattiesburg 
Madison Burge – Carriere  
Fisher Decam – Bay St. Louis  
Solis Dewease – Hattiesburg  
William Ellard – Kiln  
Connor Fogarty – Carriere  
Abigail Ford – Purvis  
Mackenzie Galbraith – Kiln 
Anthony Gibson – Hattiesburg  
Allison Gobuzzi – Picayune  
Lauren Gobuzzi – Picayune  
Ariel Goynes – Picayune  
Javien Griffith – Hattiesburg  
Brandon Gwin – Purvis  
Jaxen Harmon – Kiln  
Grace Harrison – Laurel  
Natalie Herrington – Petal  
Jayden Hibbets – Sumrall  
Aden James – Brandon  
Abbilyn Jones – Sumrall  
Leighlynn Kihneman – Picayune  
Makenna Ladner – Gulfport  
Devyn Lee – Carriere  
Aidan Levy – Bay St. Louis  
Rebecca Madden – Purvis  
Juan (Alex) Martinez – Hattiesburg  
Grant Matheny – Columbia  
Michael Mims – Carriere  
Mikayla Newell – Waynesboro 
Lacie Nugent – Kiln  
Bailey Parker – Kiln  
Aidan Rasmussen – Bay St. Louis  
Tucker Shaw – Saucier  
Savannah Sylvest – Sumrall  
Emily Smith – Petal  
Sydney Smith – Hattiesburg  
Kaeden Thigpen – Hattiesburg  
Sydney Thornton – Sumrall  
Ryleigh Wallace – Petal  
Sarah (Cat) Williams – Sumrall  
Helen Yang – Hattiesburg