WCU Inducts Five Into Hall of Fame

Hattiesburg, Miss., April 18, 2013 - The William Carey University Alumni Association recently inducted five outstanding graduates into its Hall of Fame. The alumni were R.T. Buckley (‘61), Ramona Fant (‘60), Kourtney Hollingsworth (‘08), Martha Hutson (‘70), and Ric Shrubb (‘94).

R.T. Buckley
R.T. Buckley (‘61) received his B.A. in speech and theatre from Carey before earning the Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1967. He has served as minister of youth at Shiloh Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and as pastor of First Baptist Church in Renner, Texas. In 1967, he became a career missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board, where he served until 2002. He was instrumental in a church planting movement among tribal groups in South Asia, training pastors and evangelists for ministry, and his work led to the establishment of more than 200 churches in the region. In addition, he and his late wife Fran contribute to the leadership training of the current leaders of the tribal convention in South Asia.

In 2003, Buckley received a service award from WCU, and in 2008, he was named Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Mississippi Alumnus of the Year. He has led mission trips to Mexico, Senegal, West Africa, and Bangladesh, and has served area churches as interim pastor. Buckley said that his training and educational experiences at Carey provided a solid foundation for every aspect of his ministry and contributed to his desire to give his best in service for Christ.

Ramona Fant
Ramona Fant (’60), also known as Mona Faith, received her B.S. in chemistry from Carey. She is currently the host and executive producer of the multi-award winning syndicated radio show, “Faith for Living with Mona Faith,” which airs on the home of Grand Ole Opry, WSM 650 AM, and other stations. She has written and co-written over 300 songs, and her song “He Gave it All,” co-written with her son Dr. Gene Clint Fant, Jr., was nominated for Song of the Year in 2012 by the U.S. Association of Gospel Entertainers and Musicians and was on the Christian Country Top 100 chart for 18 weeks. She has made guest appearances at the Country Music Association Music Festival’s Sunday Morning Country Show, the Grand Ole Opry, CMT’s Starfest, as well as numerous TV and radio shows.

Married to Rev. Gene Fant, Sr., also a Carey graduate, she has sung for state and associational meetings, revivals and other church-related events around the country. She received the Sapphire Award in 2007 from the U.S.  Association of Gospel Entertainers and Musicians, the Excellence for Witnessing Through Media award for her radio show, was listed as one of 2000 Outstanding Musicians of the 20th Century, was a Top 5 nominee for Inspirational Country Music Radio Personality of the Year, was named a member of Top100 Professionals 2013 and listed in International Who’s Who in Music Popular Music, Vol. 2. Fant also helped raise over $40,000 for the Nashville Rescue Mission and has served on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Association of Gospel Entertainers and Musicians and the Board of Directors for Music City Christian Fellowship in Nashville. She is an active member of BMI, Nashville Songwriters Association, and the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, as well. Mona and Gene Sr. have two sons, Dr. Gene Fant, Jr., vice president for academics at Union University, and Stephen Fant, director of safety and health for the U.S. Army-worldwide.

Kourtney Hollingsworth
Kourtney Hollingsworth (‘08) received an MBA from WCU before serving the state of Mississippi as regional broadband coordinator and as state housing coordinator and investigator for the Mississippi Center for Legal Services. She has also served as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as the Fair Housing Equal Opportunity/Fair Housing Initiatives Program’s grantee executive director, and HUD housing counselor and financial advisor. A U.S. Congressional Rainey Scholar, Hollingsworth has served as AmeriCorps regional director for Boy Scouts of America and was a host for the Jamaicans for Justice radio program.
            Hollingsworth has received numerous honors and awards including induction into American Red Cross Hall of Fame, listed as one of Mississippi Business Journal’s top 40 under 40, listed as one of MBJ’s 50 Leading Business Women, named Pride of the Mississippi Pine Belt, awarded the State of Mississippi Governor’s Give Award, named National Business Leader under 50, and named One World International Ambassador. She is one of the youngest persons selected to work with the Leadership Mississippi and Leadership Jones County and was awarded the key to the City of Laurel. Hollingsworth has been extensively involved in her community, serving as co-chair for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Young Professionals, member of U.S. Nonprofit Congress, member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., youth director for the NAACP, member of the FDIC Alliance for Economic Inclusion Committee, and a member of Brown Missionary Baptist Church. She said WCU changed her life and the way she looks at business by referring to Carey’s motto: “attempting great things for God, and expecting great things from God.”

Martha Hutson
Martha Hutson (‘70) graduated magna cum laude from Carey with a B.A. in history before completing her master’s degree in history from the University of Southern Mississippi. An educator at heart, she serves as assistant professor and as the director of the secondary education social studies program at Mississippi College. Prior to this position, she taught social studies for 28 years in grades 7-12 and served as an adjunct instructor at Hinds Community College from 1981-1983. Currently, she is on the board of directors of the Mississippi Historical Society, on the steering committee and advisory committee of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance, and has served as director of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance Pre-Service Geography Institutes and MGA Summer Geography Institutes for Teachers. She has written lessons for the Mississippi Humanities Council and it traveling Smithsonian exhibits, as well.

Hutson has received much recognition for her abilities as a teacher and leader, including 1997 Teacher of the Year award for Mississippi, Who’s Who among America’s Teacher, Distinguished Lecturer by Mississippi College for the Mississippi Humanities Council, Distinguished Teaching Award in Higher Education by the National Council of Geographic Education, and being selected to participate in a teacher exchange program in the Ukraine. In 2009, she received a grant from the Phil Hardin Foundation to participate in an EarthWatch Institute project in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador. Hutson has also undergone training at the National Geographic Society and assisted in the formation of the NGS-sponsored Mississippi Geographic Alliance to improve and enhance geographic literacy. She is a member of Northside Baptist Church where she is a Sunday school teacher, worship committee chair, and church clerk. She is also a member of the Clinton Arts Council and the Old Towne Historic Association. Hutson said that her favorite educator, Parker Palmer says “we teach who we are” and for her, that means her life has been intricately woven with Carey for over 45 years.

Ric Shrubb
Ric Shrubb (’94) received his MBA from Carey and later received his doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is currently the president of Minnesota West Community and Technical College. Prior to this position, he held positions as vice president of academic and student affairs at Terra Community College, dean of general education and campus dean at Southern State Community College, associate professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, and instructor of English at Pearl River Community College. Shrubb recently received a Fulbright Scholar grant to exchange students and agriculture faculty with Russia by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. He serves on three national boards for higher education and has presented training sessions related to higher education throughout America, as well as London, Budapest, and Puerto Rico.
            Shrubb is an evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission for the Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality, Academic Quality Improvement Program, and Pathways. He also serves on three regional boards for economic development. Shrubb attests that his MBA from Carey has been a huge asset in his successful career, as “being able to have Christian values and behavior on top of marketable business and finance skills is a wonderful credential.”

Pictured are (left to right) Cindy Cofield, alumni director at William Carey University, Julie Knippers Shrubb, representing her husband Ric Shrubb (‘94), Kourtney Hollingsworth (‘08), R. T. Buckley (‘61), Ramona Fant (‘60), and Martha Hutson (‘70), after the five alumni were inducted into WCU’s Hall of Fame at the Homecoming 2013 Alumni Banquet on April 12 in the Student Conference Center.