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Former instructors Jim and Martha Lightsey of Wesson recently made a $110,000 gift to the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Foundation, establishing two new endowed scholarships and new student leadership and faculty development endowments at Co-Lin.
The newly established Jim and Martha Lightsey Immigrant Student Scholarship is designed to assist students born to undocumented immigrants who reside in Mississippi but are required to pay out-of-state tuition. A second endowed scholarship named after the Lightseys will be awarded to two students annually, one or both education majors. The Lightseys have also designated funds to support student leadership scholarships and faculty development scholarships for full-time teaching faculty members pursuing professional development opportunities.
The gift is one of the largest individual donations the Foundation has ever received. Co-Lin president Dr. Ronnie Nettles said the gift is especially meaningful coming from two former instructors.
“The Lightseys are former instructors who have dedicated their lives to helping students at Co-Lin,” Nettles said. “Their generosity is incredible, and our students and faculty will benefit from this gift for years to come.”
The Lightseys are no strangers to the Foundation. Since 1997, they have established three other Foundation scholarships, including the Robert K. Howard memorial scholarship, the Reverend Mary Stewart Scholarship, and the Bobby O’Quinn Memorial Scholarship.
Jim Lightsey joined the Co-Lin faculty in 1971 where he taught sociology and psychology courses until his retirement in 2001. Martha began teaching development studies courses at Co-Lin in 1984 and retired in 2002. Their goal in giving to the Foundation is simply to give back to Co-Lin and help students.
“This is very exciting for us,” Martha said. “We’re just thankful to be able to do this.”
Jim shares the sentiment. “We often run into former students who tell us that Co-Lin was the best two years of their lives,” he said. “Having a part in helping students succeed at Co-Lin and in life is something we’re glad to be a part of.”

Jim and Martha Lightsey pictured with Co-Lin President Dr. Ronnie Nettles (center).

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