Pearl River Community College dedicated the campus’s alumni house to PRCC Alumni Verlene Norton Cole of Oak Grove during the college’s 2018 Homecoming festivities, October 20. Mrs. Cole has been a longtime supporter of PRCC.
She spoke at the dedication about the importance of getting involved and remaining connected to PRCC. “If you attended PRCC for just one semester you are an alumnus and I encourage you all to become an active member,” said Cole.
Verlene Norton enrolled at Pearl River in the fall of 1949, planning to become an elementary school teacher. She played basketball, worked in the registrar’s office and joined the Wesley Foundation and the Math Club. She received the college’s Citizenship Award her sophomore year.
After graduation, she took a temporary job at First National Bank of Hattiesburg to earn tuition money. But the pay of $142 a month was so good, she never left the bank and was the first female promoted to officer in 1970. By the time Cole retired in 1989, the bank had become Bancorp South and she was first vice president.
Cole helped form the Forrest-Lamar chapter of the PRCC Alumni Association and continues to be an active member. She served on the Development Foundation board from 2005 until earlier this year, serving as chairman in 2009-10. The Alumni Association awarded Cole the Distinguished Service Award in 2005 and the Alumnus of the Year Award in 2009 and has also been inducted into the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame.
“Verlene Cole is one of those people that you know when you meet her that she is going to put her heart and soul into making your cause a success story. She is one who takes the lead in any project that we do through the College Foundation and Alumni Association. Verlene’s passion and determination exemplies and gives meaning to what the “Spirit of the River” and the “Wildcat Way” means to so many of us,” said Mr. Ernie Lovell, Executive Director of Development Foundation/Alumni Association.
Mrs. Cole funds several scholarships through the Development Foundation and continues to give back to the college in any way she can. She hopes that all PRCC alumnus will see the value in staying involved and giving back.
PRCC Marketing and Communications photo/ Article by: Alexx Kennedy, Communications Specialist
Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.