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2/29/2016 - Jackson, Miss.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning recently held its Diversity celebration by recognizing campus and community leaders for the impact they have made in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect. Dr. William F. (Bill) Scaggs, President Emeritus of Meridian Community College, received the Community Service Award for his commitment to working to enhance the quality of life for all citizens through his public service and more than 50 years as an educator. Dr. Shirley A. James Hanshaw, Associate Professor of English and Liaison, MSU-Tougaloo Exchange Program at Mississippi State University, was named the 2016 Diversity Educator of the Year.

"The Board of Trustees is honored to recognize Dr. Hanshaw and Dr. Scaggs for their tremendous contributions as educators, leaders and mentors, helping students and countless Mississippians through their tireless devotion and generous spirit," said Trustee Karen Cummins, Chair of the Board of Trustees' Diversity Committee. "They have made a difference to their students, their campuses, their communities and our state."

Working through its Diversity Committee, chaired by Trustee Karen Cummins, the Board selects one individual as the Diversity Educator of the Year and one individual as the Community Honoree. Other Trustees serving on the committee include Trustee Alfred McNair and, Trustee C.D. Smith. Ms. Clotee Lewis, IHL staff member, has been the coordinator of the recognition program several years.

Born in Bartow, Fla., Dr. William F. (Bill) Scaggs holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida, a master's degree from Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Florida.

Dr. Scaggs' work in community colleges began with a Kellogg Fellowship in Community College Studies while at the University of Florida. He then began a 35-year career with Meridian Community College, serving first as registrar and dean before being named President in 1968, a position he held for the next 30 year, before being named President-Emeritus.

Dr. Scaggs has devoted his life to public service, spanning from 1960, when he served as chair of the strategic planning committee of the newly-form Meridian Industrial Foundation, helping secure the location of Lockheed's Meridian manufacturing facility. Also during the 1960s, Dr. Scaggs served as co-convener of the local Head Start Advisory Committee, which allowed him personally to engage with civil rights leaders and citizens at the crossroads of justice and opportunity.In the 1970s, Dr. Scaggs led a project for the Meridian Chamber of Commerce that ultimately created a foundation to advance the development of community colleges. In the 1980s, Dr. Scaggs co-chaired a Meridian Area Strategic Plan, which was a collaborative effort of the local governments and local economic development agencies.

In retirement, Dr. Scaggs continues to devote countless hours to public service, including advancing workforce development in association with the Montgomery Institute, which sought and won a $15 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to work with eight community colleges in Mississippi and Alabama.

As an adjunct professor, the has taught at a number of institutions, including Mississippi State University, The University of Southern Mississippi, Florida State University, University of Florida and Peabody College. He was president of the Montgomery Institute and senior consultant for the Mid-South Partnership for Rural Community Colleges and the John C. Stennis Institute.

In addition, he has served as a consultant for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Educational Enterprises, Associated Consultants in Education and Gold Hill Associates. He has been a Foundation Fellow for the Foundation for the Mid-South, Executive Director of Rural Community College Alliance and Senior Consulting Editor for the Meridian Star. Dr. Scaggs has served as president of the Mississippi Association of Junior Colleges, the Mississippi Association of Colleges, the Lauderdale County Development Authority, and the Rotary Club.

Dr. Scaggs and his wife, the former Sara Boreau, have four children and 10 grandchildren. They are members of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator in Meridian.

The 2016 Diversity Educator of the Year is Dr. Shirley A. James Hanshaw, Associate Professor of English and Liaison, MSU-Tougaloo Exchange Program at Mississippi State University. Dr. Hanshaw's contributions to diversity and positive relations among all segments of the university and broader community are numerous and varied.

Dr. Hanshaw began working at Mississippi State University in 2005 and has served as Mississippi State's liaison to the MSU-Tougaloo Exchange Program since 2014. The exchange program attracts students from under-represented groups to graduate studies in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. She has also taught at the University of Mississippi, Alcorn State University and The University of Southern Mississippi.

Dr. Hanshaw has encouraged the advancement of diversity through her efforts of mentoring several international graduate students from countries including India and Iraq. She has served as an advisor to the African Students' Association and actively supports both MSU's International Festival and the Interfaith Dialogue.

Dr. Hanshaw is a true advocate of community involvement and has volunteered countless hours to serving numerous organizations, including the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum, the Volunteer Starkville Organization and the ASCEND program of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. With the aid of a 2009 Community Engagement Grant from the National Council for Black Studies, she worked with at-risk students in Starkville High School, helping them prepare for both state tests and broader success.

Dr. Hanshaw has been recognized for numerous "first" achievements, including one of the first National Achievement Scholars and the only one from Starkville (Henderson High School), first African American Professor in the English Department at The University of Southern Mississippi; first professor to develop and teach Technical Writing and Multi-Ethnic Literature in the English Department at Alcorn State University, the first African American Technical Writer/Editor for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers at the Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, and the first African American to achieve tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in the Department of English at Mississippi State University.

Dr. Hanshaw has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including the State Pride Award for excellence in research, teaching and service; Academic Excellence Fund Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at Mississippi State University; and the Danforth Associateship for Outstanding Teachers in the Sciences and Humanities from the Danforth Foundation. In addition, she is a member of numerous professional organizations and has authored several book and publications promoting diversity.

Dr. Hanshaw holds a bachelor's degree from Tougaloo College, a master's degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, and a doctorate in English from the University of Mississippi. She has also attended the Tougaloo-Brown University Exchange Program in Providence, R.I.

Dr. Hanshaw is a member of the Northside Christian Church in West Point.

The Board honored faculty from each of Mississippi's public universities for advancing diversity at their institutions. These honorees include:

Dr. John Igwebuike
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Interim Dean, School of Business and Faculty Athletic Representative
Alcorn State University

Dr. Corlis Snow
Associate Professor of Elementary Education and Coordinator for Advanced Programs in Elementary Education
Delta State University

Dr. Hongtao Yu
Chair and Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Jackson State University

Dr. Shirley A. James Hanshaw
Associate Professor of English and Liaison, MSU-Tougaloo College Exchange Program in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Mississippi State University

Dr. Jonathan Pote
Department Head of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Thomas Velek
Professor of History in the College of Arts and Sciences
Mississippi University for Women

Dr. Baxter Wright, ACSW
Professor, MSW Program, Department of Social Work
Mississippi Valley State University

Dr. Murrell Godfrey
Associate Professor Chemistry and Biochemistry; Director of Forensic Chemistry
The University of Mississippi

Dr. Juanyce Taylor
Assistant Dean for Research and Innovation, Chair, Department of Health
The University of Mississippi Medical Center

Dr. Kevin Greene
Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and History; Director of Undergraduate Programs, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies
The University of Southern Mississippi


Click here to view photos of honorees, with identification of individuals in photos.

Photos of honorees may be downloaded from the following links:

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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