Inductees for the 2019 Class, the second ever announced, come from fields of business, politics, education, healthcare, journalism and sports.
“These individuals are unique in their accomplishments but reveal a common theme of the excellence that has evolved from Hattiesburg, Rowan, Eureka and Royal Street high schools”, said Hugh Bolton, a member of the Hall of Fame Steering Committee. “I encourage our community to embrace and acknowledge these worthy individuals and their accomplishments.”
The Foundation’s Hall of Fame Steering Committee, with help from Primary Publicity Partner Pine Belt News, gathered nominations from the community. This year alumni and community members were also able to nominate via the online public engagement vehicle at HattiesburgHOF.com. The public is encouraged to nominate school alumni through this online opportunity.
The 15 alumni selected, including 3 posthumous nominees, for the Hattiesburg Hall of Fame Class of 2019 are:
Lt. Col. Raylawni G.A. Branch, Ret., Civil Rights Pioneer
Charles J. Brown, Bronze Star Veteran
Dr. Richard Clark, Founder, Hattiesburg Clinic
Janet Gurwitch, Cosmetics CEO
Dr. Eddie A. Holloway, University Dean of Students
Steve Knight, Most Basketball Coaching Wins in State History
Dr. Lynn McMahan, Founder, Southern Eye Clinic
Carlton “Corky” Palmer, College World Series Baseball Coach
Ora Lee Shaheed, Healthcare Administrator
Randy Swan, Television News Anchor/Director
Lawrence Warren, Paving Magnate
Percy Watson, State Legislator
Peggy Jean Connor, Civil Rights Activist
Jackie Dole Sherrill, First Female Sergeant/Detective, Hattiesburg Police Department
Iola Craft Williams, Executive Director, African-American Military History Museum
The HPSD Foundation hosts the Hall of Fame gala as a scholarship benefit, with proceeds going to students and staff of Hattiesburg Public School District. Funds generated by the event are earmarked for student scholarships, teacher grants and early childhood education readiness.
The event will be staged on Thursday Night, October 24, at Eureka School Civil Rights Museum, which has recently been restored to historical accuracy by the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. The black tie dinner and reception are ticketed events but the public will have an opportunity to meet the Class of 2019 when they are presented pregame during Homecoming Activities at D. I. Patrick Stadium on Friday Night, October 25.
A Thursday Downtown Hattiesburg Luncheon and a meet-the-students Friday morning brunch at Central Office are also planned during the two-day event.
“The number of worthy graduates seems to be inexhaustible and others will certainly be recognized in future classes,” said Jerome Brown, President of the HPSD Foundation. “While the spotlight will be on Hall of Fame inductees, our hope is that the current HHS Student Body will notice the success of these graduates,” adds Dan Kibodeaux, Executive Director of HPSD Foundation.
Retired Educator and Event Chair Michael Marks acknowledges the Hall of Fame’s mission. “We are excited to join Hattiesburg Public Schools in their effort to reclaim alumni who typify national standards of excellence.” In a nod to the recent Masters Golf Tournament outcome, Marks adds, “The Tiger is back!”
Business patrons and alumni who would like to become official sponsors for the scholarship gala should go online to HattiesburgHOF.com or request more information at HAttiesburgHOF@gmail.com.