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Thomas A. Ross Art Scholarship Endowed at Co-Lin
WESSON, Mississippi – The Thomas A. Ross Art Scholarship was recently endowed with the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Foundation and named in honor of retired instructor Tom Ross of Wesson.
Ross was a 1972 graduate of Mississippi College where he majored in art, and a 1974 graduate of the University of Georgia where he received a master’s in fine arts and majored in painting and drawing. In 1975, Ross began his 38-year teaching career at Co-Lin Community College where he was an instructor in the art department. Ross was named Outstanding Instructor of the Year in 1987 and retired from Co-Lin in 2013.
As a former student and long-time colleague of Ross, Janet Smith, now in her 34th year as an instructor in Co-Lin’s art department, worked to create the scholarship to honor Ross’ legacy at Co-Lin. In addition to private donations, Smith helped sell prints of an original watercolor Ross created of the Co-Lin nature trail titled “Two Roads” to raise funds for the scholarship.
“I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for Tom,” Smith said. “When I came to Co-Lin [as a student] I had never had any art classes and I took some just because I wanted to. Once he lit that fire under me I was gone. I was on my way.” Smith continued, “To then come back and work with him as long as I did was not only so much fun, but an honor at the same time. When Tom retired, I wanted to do something more for our students that would honor him as well. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing with the students today if it hadn’t been for Tom and what he did for me.”
Ross is grateful to Smith for spearheading the scholarship and for those who donated. “When you work at a place for 38 years and you love what you do, for me, something like this is such a wonderful thing to have done,” Ross said. “This scholarship is going to be something that after I’m gone will still be around and it will have my name on it. I appreciate that so much. I’m not sure I deserve this, but I still look back and say, ‘well this is a great period at the end of a sentence.’ While it is an ending, there are still more sentences to come.”
Co-Lin president Dr. Jane Hulon Sims added, “We are so grateful that we have employees who love the college so much that they want to give back. This scholarship will benefit both our students and the college as a whole and I’m thrilled that the original painting Ross created will hang in the president’s home. I value the story that the nature trail represents and I love that Tom painted it after his history with the college.”
The scholarship will be awarded in the fall of 2021 to an incoming freshman at Co-Lin majoring in art-based on a 10-piece portfolio review of the students’ work. Contributions to this, or any other Co-Lin scholarship, can be mailed to the Foundation at P.O. Box 649, Wesson, MS 39191, or made online at www.colin.edu/alumni-foundation/give-now/.
Pictured: Standing from left, Thomas Ross and Co-Lin art instructor Christopher Brady; seated from left are Co-Lin Foundation Director Angela Furr, Co-Lin President Dr. Jane Hulon Sims, and Co-Lin art instructor Janet Smith.
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