GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The 2015 Homecoming week festivities at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College are extra special as the college celebrates 50 years of bringing innovative education to South Mississippi.
"Fifty years ago on this day, this campus was dedicated and that vision of bringing education to the coast was the best vision ever, it changed the coast forever,"said Dr. Carmen Walters, the campus vice president."Today we wanted to celebrate those persons who were here 50 years ago and made the decision to actually open a campus and have folks come in to be trained."
The anniversary festivities focused on the college's innovations over the years.
"Although our focus hasn't changed, industry has changed so the community college has changed," Walters said.
And some of the changes are hands-on classrooms where students can learn skills that are directly transferable to the work place.
"They're picking up skills and confidence knowing that when they go somewhere they can sell themselves saying 'I can do this, I can do that,'" James Smith, an instructor in the electrical department at MGCCC.
Smith the campus' resources make his job rewarding.
"It makes me feel good to know that I'm helping them and they are able to go out and get employed," Smith said.
And, students vouch for Smith.
"It's opening up so many doors, there's Mississippi Power, there's Ingalls," said Larry Knight.
Brian McGavran wants to get an electrical engineering degree and says his experience at MGCCC has been invaluable.
"It's a good foundation and I kinda think of it as building the backbone of our career," McGavran said.
According to McGavran, the college also has a huge impact on the community, which was a driving factor in his enrollment.
"Anybody who's gonna leave this college with a degree is going to have a positive role in society."
The celebration continues throughout the week and also included a time capsule scheduled to be opened in 2065.