Hinds CC awards Vicksburg-Warren faculty

Published 12:10 am Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hilton Dyar doesn’t like to talk about himself or receive kudos for being the dean of Hinds Community College’s Vicksburg-Warren County campus.

After all, it’s the job he’s paid to do, he said Friday evening — but he was smiling after receiving the college’s most prestigious honor, the “3E Award” for Emphasis on Excellence and Enrichment.

“I was totally surprised,” said Dyar, who admitted to being pleased by the recognition. “I do enjoy what I do.”

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Dyar was given the award at Hinds’ annual faculty awards dinner, this year dubbed “The Resort” and held outside following an afternoon of field activities.

The 3E award, kept secret until the moment it’s handed out, recognizes the employee who serves the college and the community at extraordinary levels. The winner is selected from a list of nominees by a committee that includes previous 3E winners.

“I know him to be a man who puts students first, and loves his country, his family and Hinds Community College,” said Jane Flowers, work-based coordinator at the Vicksburg campus, who has worked with Dyar for nearly 20 years. “He is very district-minded, making sure students from Vicksburg attend the campus that best suits their educational needs.”

Also honored at Friday’s ceremony were three Vicksburg residents who teach at the local branch and were among 13 Hinds employees chosen for Life Star Awards: adjunct art instructor Leah Johnson, counselor and adjunct sociology instructor Robert “Rip” Engler II and secondary masonry instructor Allen Smith.

With the Life Star Awards, “we take the opportunity to recognize the difference one person can make in the lives of others,” said Dr. Clyde Muse, president of the six-branch community college, the largest in Mississippi. “Thanks for your service, dedication and enthusiasm, and for doing your part to make this a great college.”

Dyar, 64, is a 39-year employee of HCC and has been dean of the Vicksburg campus since 1994. He’s also a graduate of Hinds, earning an associate’s degree in drafting there before attending the University of Southern Mississippi for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial education.

He taught drafting and design technology for four years before becoming assistant dean for career technical education on the Raymond campus, where he served for 18 years before moving over to Vicksburg.

“He loves what he does,” said his sister, Darlene Sullivan, who is communications manager at Hinds’ Raymond branch. “He’s very humble about it, but he does a lot for the school.”

“There is so much that Hinds Community College has to offer,” Dyar said.

Besides helping students, he most enjoys “the people,” he said, “and being in a small community. You can make a difference in a small community whereas in a larger one you can just get lost in the crowd.”

Engler, a six-year veteran at Hinds and a Vicksburg native, is a full-time counselor to secondary students enrolled at Hinds as well as an adjunct teacher. The student that nominated him said he is “a great counselor who has a tough job dealing with a lot of discipline issues.”

“It’s great,” Engler said of being honored. “It’s based on somebody putting your name in, someone thinking, ‘hey, he deserves this.’”

Johnson agreed. A Minnesota native, she has been with the college nine years and strives to continually improve her classes, including technology and written compositions as well as various art forms.

“I’m very pleased and was very, very surprised,” she said. “You receive it because you have been nominated by someone who feels you made a difference.”

Smith has taught secondary students in masonry at Hinds for 12 years. The Hattiesburg native has involved his students in community service projects like restoring brick walls of a gardening shed at the former Sisters of Mercy Convent, and aims for them to be able to go right to work after graduation.

“For a teacher, there is no greater honor than to be recognized by a student for this award,” Smith said.