PRCC to honor alumnus, supporters at homecoming

October 15, 2010 - 11:55am -- braswell

POPLARVILLE - A Hattiesburg businessman will receive the Pearl River Community College Alumni Association top award during the annual Alumni Homecoming Luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 23, in Poplarville.Allen Anderson, president of Anderson Retail Inc., has been selected as the 2010 Alumnus of the Year.The college also will honor Coast Electric Power Association and the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation with Distinguished Service Awards.The 2010 homecoming court will be presented at 2:30 p.m. in Dobie Holden Stadium before the 3 p.m. football game against Hinds Community College. Homecoming activities also include the Sports Hall of Fame induction at 9 a.m. in the Technology Center.Anderson was chosen as Alumnus of the Year based on his support of the college and its scholarship programs, said Ernie Lovell, executive director of the PRCC Foundation."Allen Anderson became active in the college alumni association and the PRCC Foundation board about ten years ago," Lovell said. "Allen was a supporter in the campaign to fund construction of Malone Chapel on the Poplarville campus and served as chairman of the College Foundation Board in 2008 and 2009, giving leadership during the year of the Centennial Celebration."Anderson attended Pearl River on scholarship from 1966 to 1968, earning an associate degree."I went on to Southern the next year and wound up in math and science," he said. "I never did graduate from anywhere else other than Pearl River, Im sad to say."More than 40 years later, his memories of Pearl River are good."I had really good teachers and it was easy to make friends," Anderson said. "I took up tennis, I took up bridge. I took up studying. That how I spent my time."I sure enjoyed the experience ... the small classes and feeling a part of something was a pretty big deal. I wouldnt have made it in a major college setting very well."After attending the University of Southern Mississippi, Anderson worked 11 years for the Sherwin-Williams Co. in Hattiesburg, Meridian and McComb, laying the foundation for his future businesses."I learned the decorative products industry and in 1982 opened my own business," he said. "I decided to do my own thing."Anderson Retail today includes Anderson Carpet One, Anderson Rug Market and Furniture Gallery, Anderson Lighting One, Anderson Commercial Flooring, Anderson Commercial Furniture and the Outlet Store and Sleep Center.Through the PRCC Foundation Scholarship Program, he funds the Anderson Paint and Carpet One Construction and Design Scholarship."When I was a student, there were only a couple scholarships given every year," Anderson said. "There was a Crown-Zellerbach scholarship for a boy and a girl. I was able to get one of those scholarships. I know what a huge help and confidence booster that was for me. It makes me very aware of wanting to encourage and help kids out there today."Anderson and his wife, Paula, live in Oak Grove and are the parents of three children.<span style="text-decoration: underline;">Distinguished Service Awards</span>The two companies receiving the Distinguished Service Awards have been major supporters of the college for a number of years.Coast Electric Power Association annually awards scholarships to students from the counties it serves and participates in many alumni chapter fund-raising events, including golf tournaments and fish fries.The association has been instrumental in the success of Pearl River utility lineman program. Coast Electric has provided a truck, pole trailer, tools and supplies as well as loaning employees to serve as instructors. The company is a founding member of the program advisory board.Coast Electric also was one of three lead sponsors for Pearl River 2008 Centennial Celebration.In the 10 years since the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation was established, its board has approved $397,000 in grants to benefit students, faculty, administrators and programs at PRCC.The foundation has funded state-of-the art equipment for the nursing program, the Mississippi Courage to Teach for Teachers and Administrators program for three years, extra help for recipients of Student Support Services and the Healthy People Now! video production and distribution program.The Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation also serves as grand sponsor of the annual Women Health Symposium at PRCC.Dr. Ted J. Alexander of Hattiesburg, former president of PRCC, is chief executive officer of the foundation. Other board members are Clyde Dease Jr. of Picayune, president; Sidney L. Whitley of Picayune, vice president; Dr. Pamela Thomas of Picayune, secretary; Dr. Becky Askew of Hattiesburg, treasurer; Dr. Tom Clark of Petal and Martin T. Smith of Poplarville.<span style="text-decoration: underline;">Football Awards</span>Chris Bermond of Kiln is the recipient of the Dobie Holden Memorial Scholarship. A graduate of Hancock High School, he is a starting linebacker on the Wildcat football team.Reggie Bailey of Picayune received the Keith Daniels Memorial Scholarship. A starting defensive end, Bailey is a graduate of Picayune Memorial High School.Both scholarships are awarded in memory of former PRCC football coaches. Bermond and Bailey will be recognized at the Alumni Luncheon.Photo captions:Allen AndersonChris BermondReggie Bailey