addition to these programs, the college now offers a
health care assistant program, transitional LPN to
RN tracks, and nine allied health programs—and the
Nursing and Simulation Center will allow the college
to double the number of associate’s degrees in nursing that it awards.
Given the college’s long history of providing nursing education, it seems fitting that the $12 million
facility should be located in a community called
Tradition. In fact, the center is a perfect example
of how tradition and innovation come together at
the college to offer a unique experience for the citizens of the Mississippi Gulf Coast students.
As MGCCC continues to embrace those aspects
that have always been its strengths—such as partnerships with local employers that have been in place for
decades—the college is also building on these aspects
with new programs and activities that bring it to the
forefront of 21st-century education.
“We feel like what we’re doing today is very innovative,” President Mary S. Graham says.
MGCCC started as an agricultural high school 107
years ago. Today, it serves four counties with three
full campuses, and the Nursing and Simulation
Center is its seventh satellite location. Over time, the
college has continually evolved to meet and reflect
the changing needs of students.
For instance, “although we’re a community
college, we have residence halls and a large athletics
program, with 10 intercollegiate sports programs and
a 250-member marching band,” says Graham, who is
the current board chair for the American Association
of Community Colleges. “The athletics program is
great for retention: We have a 98-percent graduation
rate among our athletes. We’re making sure they are
in class each week in order to participate. It’s a won-
derful success pathway.”
As dual-credit programs have grown in popular-
ity as a way to encourage more high school students
to earn a college degree, MGCCC has established a
dual-credit collegiate academy that serves 23 high
schools in the region.
“We have taken dual credit to the next level by
enabling students to complete an associate degree
while still in high school,” Graham says. “In fact, stu-
dents can earn their degree before they even walk in
their high school graduation ceremony. Students take
courses on our campus, then go back to their high
school for afterschool activities. In this model, they
can have the best of both worlds.”
Strategic partnerships have been instrumental to
MGCCC’s success, allowing the college to provide the
latest technologies and teaching strategies.
“The industries we work with have donated
millions of dollars in equipment so we can provide
these opportunities to our students,” Graham says. For
instance, Mississippi Power and Southern Company
have donated well over $1 million in equipment for an
Instrumentation and Controls Academy that simulates a running power plant. “In our Instrumentation
and Controls program, students use four systems to
manage a simulated plant that would usually employ
2,000 people,” she notes.
And in another striking example of tradition
meeting innovation, MGCCC has partnered with
Ingalls Shipbuilding, a local division of Huntington
Though MGCCC has grown since opening its doors in 1911, the tradition of excellence in education continues.
broke ground on
the new Nursing
Center in 2016.