About 130 men and women graduated from Hinds Community College in Utica Sunday. It was a packed auditorium.
Graduates friends and family were eager to support their graduates and eager to hear what Tom Joyner, the commencement speaker had to say.
Nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner is a huge supporter of historically black colleges and universities. He helps fund scholarships and underwrites the dreams of others.
Sunday he gave five dollars to every person who walked across the stage. The token was a significant investment in the future.
Tom Joyner said “This was a good day. It was a graduation of I don’t know how many five dollars I gave out. But it’s a good day. It touches me so much because helping students get through at HBCU’s is my passion.”
“It’s been rough. It’s been hard being a part of the S.T.E.M program, being a part of choir and all of these academic programs they have on campus. It’s a lot but it was worth it to get my degree today,” said Labrianne Milton a graduate Sunday.
Milton is one of many who said they endured obstacles along the way while trying to complete school.
Curtis Gainwell had a stroke while lifting weights in college some years ago. He now lacks mobility in his right hand.
Curtis Gainwell said “I have been through a lot. I have had four brain surgeries and I just feel good right now. Everyone thought it would be hard for me to get there. But I showed everyone I could get through it.”
Then there was Kardis Clark. A few months ago she injured her foot while playing for the women’s basketball team.
“Failure’s not an option for me. I was too close to the end to say ‘I’m just not gonna get my diploma.’ Why not just go on and graduate. Get on out of here,” said Clark.
The Tom Joyner Foundation also awarded Hinds Community College as the June School of the Month.