Cain-Cochran Hall replaces auditorium that burned in 2000

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 4, 2002

Cain-Cochran Hall at Hinds Community College in Raymond. (The Vicksburg Post/C. Todd Sherman)

RAYMOND English professor Dr. Nell Ann Pickett watched her third-floor office burn on March 7, 2000.

It was in the old Cain Hall on the main campus of Hinds Community College.

Pickett, who taught for 37 years at the college before retiring two years ago, recalled a statement she made as she watched the burning building.

“I said, It’s not about the building, it’s much more than just a building.'”

Sunday, she was among politicians, students and alumni, faculty and staff who gathered for the dedication of the new $14.7 million facility on the old building’s site.

“Many students and families stood and watched the old building burn,” Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse acknowledged as he led the dedication ceremony, “and we shed tears like we were watching a family member die. But we are here today to celebrate the birth of the new Cain-Cochran Hall.”

The building houses an auditorium, classrooms, laboratories and English Department offices.

It was paid for by a capital campaign that raised $5 million and through federal grants, state appropriations and insurance money.

The “Cain” part of the name comes from the old building, dedicated to G.J. Cain, president of the college from 1929 to 1938. The original Cain Hall was built in 1926 and cost $168,000. It was dedicated in Cain’s honor in 1982.

The “Cochran” part of the name is for W.H. and Emma Grace Berry Cochran, the parents of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Central District Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Nielsen Cochran.

W.H. and Emma Cochran met at Hinds Community College in 1930 as freshmen.

During his speech at the ceremony, Sen. Cochran said, “They fell in love with Hinds County and they fell in love with each other.

“I am deeply grateful for honor you’ve bestowed on the memory of our parents,” Cochran said. “It is heartwarming knowing how much this would mean to my parents because I know how much their college experience meant to them,” Cochran said.

Nielsen Cochran said that his mother and father met under an oak tree on the campus.

He said his parents dedicated their lives to education in Mississippi.

“We are proud and honored for our name to be associated with such a fine college,” Commissioner Cochran said. “Thank you for remembering Mother and Dad.”

Diana Thompson, a second-semester business student at Hinds, sang with the Hinds Community College Choir at the ceremony and said the choir’s future performances will take place in the new facility.

“I’ve seen the old building, and compared to the old one, this place is amazing,” Thompson said.

The facility is 89,000 square feet and has an 1,100-seat auditorium complete with an orchestra pit and dressing rooms.

The auditorium was dedicated to Jackson art patron Claudia Atteberry Hogg.

Hogg’s great-granddaughter, Bridget Bain, also spoke at the ceremony. “My family and I are proud to be a part of Hinds Community College,” she said.

After the ceremony, guests were invited to a reception in the lobby of the facility and encouraged to tour the building.

“This is a tremendous facility, not just for the college, but for the entire community,” said Dr. Phyfa Eiland, superintendent of the Hinds County School District.

Hinds is Mississippi’s largest public community college with more than 14,000 students on campus in Raymond, Jackson, Utica, Vicksburg and Rankin County.