Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Brittany Davis-Green - firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin's family in attendance of the dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting included, from left, son McKinley Martin Jr.; grandson Sidney Martin; daughter-in-law Sonja Martin; son Myron Martin; wife Willie Burn Martin; Martin; and his grandsons Myron and Myles Martin.
CLARKSDALE – To students, Coahoma Community College’s new state-of-the-art dormitory represents a home away from home as they navigate along their educational journey, but now the building epitomizes so much more following a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting naming the new building in honor of CCC’s third President, Dr. McKinley Charles Martin.
The two-story, 56-bed dorm now serves as a concrete representation of the opportunities CCC provides to it students, as envisioned by Martin who led the institution from 1980 to 1992.
“CCC is growing by leaps and bounds because of men like Dr. Martin. He deserves that building. …You deserve your name being placed in brick and mortar,” said the Rev. Ezra Howard during the ceremony held Monday afternoon in CCC’s Pinnacle. The special event concluded with a ribbon cutting, symbolizing the official opening of the new dormitory, and a reception in Martin’s honor.
“To the (CCC Board of Trustees) thank you for allowing this to happen,” said Martin. “To the President, thanks for recommending me. Moms, dads, grands, great-grands, cousins, aunts, uncles—those persons who sent me their children from 1961 to 2002, 41 years, thank you.”
The ceremony, which featured everyone from city officials to CCC alumni and martin’s childhood friends, opened with an invocation by CCC Board of Trustees’ Vice Chairmen Dr. Dennis Hawkins followed by a welcome from CCC’s Director of Enrollment and Student Service Karen Woods-Done.
“We have assembled here today to simply say ‘thank you’ to a man who has loved Coahoma and dedicated many years of his life working for the success and growth of our College,” said Done. “Those of us here who currently serve the institution are inspired by the legacy and leadership of Dr. Martin and work tirelessly to try to continue the plans that came before him and after him.”
With his wife Willie Burns Martin seated by his side, Martin was visibly moved during a musical selection performed by his grandson, trumpeter Sidney Martin, who was accompanied by CCC Director of Web Services Ezra Howard on the saxophone and CCC Coordinator of Student Activities Christopher Dixon on the piano. Affectionately called “M.C.” by those closest to him, he looked on humbly as his colleagues, friends and family detailed why he was most deserving of the honor.
“We hope this residence hall will become a place where young people can gather to learn, grow and understand themselves,” said Rena Butler, assistant secretary of CCC’s Board of Trustees. “We the members of the Coahoma Community College Board of Trustees gladly congratulate Dr. Martin for his devotion and dedication to this great institution.”
Charles Strange highlighted his relationship with Martin as his longtime Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. brother and friend. Recalling the bond they’ve shared for nearly 60 years, Strange came to the conclusion that Martin is the epitome of an “Alpha man”.
“Manly deed, scholarship and love for all mankind—that is Dr. McKinely Charles Martin,” he said.
The accolades continued with Martin’s cousin, Pastor Albert Manson, referring him to as the “smartest man” he knows.
“He is absolutely my hero. I am what I am today because of his achievement and what he did,” said Manson.
Martin’s son, Attorney McKinley Martin Jr., spoke on behalf of his siblings Myron Martin and Marcia Martin-Gatewood about Martin, noting their father’s humbleness despite his many achievements over the years.
“Dad is dynamic at whatever task he is given—even at 78,” said Martin Jr. “We love you and thank you for teaching us the value of family and education.”
During his remarks, Martin, an alumnus of both Coahoma Community College and Coahoma Agricultural High School, referred to his predecessors President McLaurin and President Miller as “geniuses” before briefly recapping his own tenure as President.
In addition to overseeing the construction of several building on campus, other highlights of his presidency include directing CCC’s first self-study and receiving it’s first 10-year accreditation affirmation. He’s also noted for tailoring the college’s course offerings to non-traditional students.
Speaking of Martin’s success in securing 90 percent of the allocation of state funding for community colleges for the construction of CCC’s Pinnacle, CCC President Dr. Valmadge Towner also credited Martin for playing a major role in own personal development
“I’ve had many hearts and hands to go into my development,” said Towner. “Dr. Martin, you certainly have been one of the those persons.”
Martin said he hopes his legacy is a testament that where you come from does not have to determine where you are going. Alluding to the accomplishments of his neighborhood friends while growing up in rural Coahoma County on Dogwood Road, he said he is proud to be apart of an institution dedicated to thedevelopment of the tomorrow’s leaders.
“Don’t let anyone fool you about what rural kids can’t do,” Martin said. “I’m so glad (CCC President) Mr. McLaurin took hold of me and the rest of you kept holding me up.”
CLICK HERE to view more photos on CCC's Facebook page from the event!