Crosby Hall

Thursday, January 20, 2022

January 20, 2022 - 8:07am

Dr. Ryan Ruckel and Dr. Doug Donohue have been named new deans of Pearl River Community College’s Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute at the Forrest County Campus in Hattiesburg. 

Dr. Ruckel will serve as the second Dean of the Honors Institute. Dr. Donohue will serve as the Associate Dean.

They will work collaboratively across all PRCC campuses to plan joint opportunities for Honors students.

“We are so fortunate to have both Dr. Ruckel and Dr. Donohue leading the education of the very talented and bright students of our Dr. William Lewis Honors college at the Forrest County Campus,” said Dr. Jana Causey, Vice President for Forrest County Center, Allied Health and Nursing Programs. “Dr. Ruckel has been involved with the honors college since its inception and played a huge part in laying the foundation that has paved a road of success for this program. Dr. Donohue has also been involved from the beginning in which he served as honors faculty to teach and mentor these students.”

Dr. Ruckel is a graduate of Oak Grove High (1984), Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and the University of Southern Mississippi. He holds a doctorate in history from Louisiana State University. 

He has served the students of PRCC for the past 25 years as an instructor of History and English. He also serves as the Mississippi-Louisiana Regional Coordinator of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a Phi Theta Kappa chapter advisor, and Chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department.

“The full support of the faculty, staff, and administration at Pearl River has empowered us to build a magnificent ‘opportunity engine’ by which our students have gained access to world-class scholarships and experiences,” said Dr. Ruckel. “I am deeply honored to have been entrusted with the responsibility of generating even more opportunities for even more individuals who can come to PRCC and find their future.”

Dr. Donohue, a 1988 graduate of Hattiesburg High, earned a doctorate in Community College Leadership from Mississippi State University. He is also an alumnus of USM and of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

He has served the students of PRCC for the past 18 years as an instructor of Mathematics and Statistics, as a member of the Honors faculty, and as an advisor for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. 

He is a graduate of the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy, a past president of the Mississippi Faculty Association for Community Colleges, and a current student pursuing additional graduate work in Economics at Harvard University.  

“I am honored that PRCC has entrusted me with the care and development of some of the best and brightest students in south Mississippi,” said Dr. Donohue. “I am excited to work with Dr. Ruckel to champion these amazing young scholars and create opportunities for them to grow and flourish under the guidance of the outstanding Honors faculty at the Forrest County campus.”

Dr. Jennifer Seal will continue to serve as the Dean of the Honors Institute at the Poplarville Campus. 

PRCC Honors alumni have gone on to earn scholarships and degrees from colleges and universities across the country including Michigan, Columbia, Tulane, Kansas, Colorado, William Carey, Ole Miss, South Alabama, Mississippi College, Millsaps College, Mississippi State, Jackson State, Mississippi University for Women, Alabama, Louisiana State, and Southern Miss. 

Several students from the PRCC Honors Institute have received the coveted Jack Kent Cooke transfer scholarship, and many others have earned transfer scholarships that covered their costs to complete their degrees.

Prospective students who are interested in learning how to become Honors Institute scholars should send e-mail to or

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

January 20, 2022 - 2:58pm

NBC’s “The Sing-Off" champion Committed brought plenty of positive energy to Pearl River Community College’s Brownstone Center of the Arts on Friday night. The concert ended a day of workshops for a capella groups from around the region.

A Cappella 101 is an annual Mississippi American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) event that is hosted at PRCC. The day included individual group coaching and breakout sessions targeted at singers and directors. Spending time with the five members of Committed was part of the day’s experience.

“This event is an excellent opportunity for beginner to advanced school a cappella groups to develop their musicianship and performance skills,” said ACDA Contemporary and Commercial Music Chair Jeffery Coulter. “The opportunity to perform in such an incredible space only enhances the experience for these students." 


Greenwood Singing Bulldogs sing When I Think About the Lord at Committed Concert 2022


The evening concert began with each of the five schools that attended the workshop having the opportunity to perform.

The Greenwood Singing Bulldogs performed “When I Think About the Lord.” Brandon Middle School’s group, Brilliance, sang a song titled “Natalie.” Sounds of PRC from Pearl River Central High School sang “Stitches.” PRCC’s own, The Voices, performed three selections: “Plastic Hearts,” “Every Breath You Take,” and “Greedy.” Finally, OneVoice from Briarcrest Christian School in Tennessee sang “Wings” and “Scars to Your Beautiful.”


Briarcrest Christian School's OneVoice performs at Committed Concert January 2022

 "It is such a privilege to host this event each year and have amazingly talented students and educators gather on campus to learn, share music, collaborate,  and perform,” said Trevor Hunt, Director of the Brownstone Center for the Arts. "Events like this exemplify the purpose of the arts and the vision for the Brownstone Center.

"A Cappella 101 is a unique event that brings a community of musicians together and allows them an opportunity to perform alongside world-renowned musicians, all in their own backyard. It doesn't get much better than that!"

After the school performances, Committed set the tone for the evening for audience participation. The initial song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” had a three-part harmony that was quickly taught to the audience.

During introductions of each member, the audience learned that the group is heavily influenced by the Jamaican artist Bob Marley. They also discussed how they have been able to travel the world, sharing harmonies for over a decade while also teaching groups. Also, audience members were informed that Brent Hoyle was subbing for their regular bass.

Other selections sung included custom arrangements of familiar songs like “One Love, One Heart,” “Battle Cry of Freedom,” and “What’s Going On?” They also performed the original piece, “Do Anything.”

Later in the concert, the four choir directors in attendance were brought on stage for an arrangement of “I Can See Clearly Now” that was learned on the fly. The high school students were thrilled to see their directors perform with the group and members of Committed encouraged video recording and sharing of that piece.

To finish the evening, the audience was invited to dance in the aisles as they sang the oldie, but goodie, “September.”

“The Brownstone Center brings such amazing talent to our community,” said Poplarville resident Catherine Griffin. “I loved being able to bring my family to see Committed so close to home. They’re such a talented bunch who really encourage audience participation and that meant the world to my son.”

Myles Griffin agreed.

“My favorite part through the whole thing was being able to sing and dance right along with them,” he said.


Committed, which is comprised of Robbie Pressley, Theron “Therry” Thomas, Maurice Staple, Dennis “DJ” Baptiste Jr., and Geston Pierre won Season 2 of the NBC hit musical competition The Sing-Off in December 2010 where they sang a cappella arrangements of “Motownphilly” with Boyz II Men and “Hold My Hand” by Michael Jackson & Akon.


Several other musical performances will be at the Brownstone Center this spring.

  • Mississippi Symphony Orchestra — Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.
  • “A Journey Through Black Music” featuring 2021 Grammy Music Educator of the Year Jeffrey Murdock & “Triumph” — Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.
  • Spring Variety Show — Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.
  • The Little Mermaid — April 7 & 8 at 7 p.m.; April 9 at 2 p.m.
  • Wind Ensemble & Concert Band — April 12 at 7 p.m.
  • JazzCats & The Voices — April 21 at 7 p.m.

Tickets for each event can be purchased at or by calling 601-403-1180.

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

PHOTO CREDIT: Jolie Pervel, Pearl River Marketing & Communications

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