Three men with ties to the Hattiesburg area are among those in the 2014 class of the Pearl River Community College Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame.
Francis Herrin of Hattiesburg, Howell Purvis of Purvis and Donnie Waits of Gulfport will be inducted during a gala on Thursday, April 17, at Southern Oaks House and Garden.
Herrin, a native of Prentiss, graduated from Pearl River in 1958 and enjoyed a 40-year career as a surveyor with Shell Oil Co. in Jeannerette and New Orleans, La.
“Going there really made it for me, to tell you the truth,” Herrin said. “Now that I look back I have to say that was some of the best days of my lfie. After I got kind of settled in down there and got to know a lot of people, we had a lot of fun.”
Purvis completed his degree at Pearl River in 1956 and began a varied career that included two stints as a Naval aviator and 20 years with the U.S. Secret Service.
“I was in the band at Pearl River, played trumpet and really, really loved that,” Purvis said. “I made a lot of wonderful friends. We still email back and forth.”
Purvis continues to play trumpet and has played “Taps” at more than 300 military funerals with the VFW Post 3036 Honor Guard.
Waits, a Hattiesburg native, played football on the 1954 and 1955 Pearl River teams.
“The people were down to earth and fun-loving but, at the same time, serious about going to school,” Waits said.
His career as an attorney included serving as Stone County’s prosecuting attorney and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps and Marine Reserves.
Other PRCC alumni who will be honored with induction are entertainer Jimmy Buffett (who will accept by video), the late Delos Burks of Picayune who served in several state positions including the Legislature and in the Mississippi Air National Guard; and retired banker James Ginn of Diamondhead
Corporate sponsor for the gala is Hattiesburg Coca-Cola. Tickets for the social at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. are $100. They can be purchased through Friday, April 11, by calling 601-403-1191.