Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College recognized the 2009 Difference Makers at the Alumni/Foundation Spring Reception on March 30 at the Jefferson Davis Campus. This year’s honorees were Michael Knowles, Institutional Research coordinator at Central Office; Wiley Clark, career counselor at the Jackson County Campus; Bennie Spiers, works in maintenance at the Jefferson Davis Campus; and Bernice Hartfield, works in maintenance at the Perkinston Campus. These four outstanding members of the Gulf Coast family strive to make a positive difference in our campuses every day. These four individuals have demonstrated an exceptional work ethic, involvement in college and community events as well as a sincere commitment and caring attitude toward students and fellow employees. The honorees were presented resolutions from the MGCCC Board of Trustees.
Since 2003, Gulf Coast has selected four individuals to receive the L.N. Dantzler Difference Maker award from among its eight locations in South Mississippi. Any Gulf Coast employee, except members of the Executive Council, are eligible for the annual award, which is designated for individuals who have demonstrated an exceptional work ethic, college and community involvement, and a sincere commitment and caring attitude toward students.
Wiley Clark has an associate’s degree from the college and once worked as an adjunct electrical instructor at the Jackson County Campus. In 1998, he became a project assistant in Workforce Development, working with the Ingalls program (now Northrop Grumman). An advocate for those with disabilities, he spent 12 years (1988-2000) participating in more than 350 wheelchair races, both worldwide and nationwide. His is married to Cynthia and has two children and one granddaughter.
Bennie Spiers has worked in the Maintenance department at the Jefferson Davis Campus since 2004. He is retired from the United States Air Force after 26 years of service. He has an associate degree in aerospace ground equipment repair from the Community College of the Air Force. A native of the Coast, Spiers is married and has two daughters and two grandchildren. His wife, Debra, is an education professional.
Bernice Hartfield works in Dees Hall on the Perkinston Campus as part of the housekeeping team. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native is also in her second semester as a student in the Early Childhood Development program at the Perkinston Campus. She has been married to her husband, Clarence, for four years, and has two biological children and one adopted child.
Michael Knowles received an Associate of Arts degree from Gulf Coast in 2000 and a Bachelor of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 2003. Along with the Difference Maker honor, Knowles, whose dad is Jefferson Davis Campus fine arts instructor Dr. David Knowles, is celebrating a personal accomplishment: his engagement to Jenny White of Gulfport, whom he met while they were students at Gulf Coast.
The Gulf Coast family congratulates the 2009 Difference Makers!