Gov. William F. Winter to speak at MGCCC Centennial CommencementMississippi Gulf Coast Community College will hold its Centennial Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. on May 10 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. Gov. William F. Winter, former Mississippi governor and nationally renowned statesman, will give the commencement address.
Almost 1,000 students are expected to participate in the commencement event, and more than 2,100 degrees will be conferred. The 2012 graduates will receive an antique-gold medallion, featuring the college seal and an inscription on the back with the Centennial dates to mark the momentous event.
Winter, a graduate of the University of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi School of Law, served as Editor of the Mississippi Law Journal and a member of the Phi Delta Theta chapter. During World War II, Winter served in the United States Army infantry in the Philippines where he attained the rank of captain. On Luzon Island in the Philippines, Winter was Liaison Officer and Acting Assistant G-3 of the 86th Infantry Division. After the Korean War, Major Winter served in the Mississippi National Guard in the “Dixie Division" or 31st Infantry Division until his retirement in 1957.
He served as Governor of Mississippi from 1980 to 1984. Prior to being elected governor, he had been elected to the offices of state representative, state tax collector, state treasurer and lieutenant governor. He has been chairman of the Southern Regional Education Board, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Southern Growth Policies Board, the Commission on the Future of the South, the National Civic League, the Kettering Foundation, the Foundation for the Mid South, the Ole Miss Alumni Association, and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Winter currently practices law as Special Counsel in the Government Relations Practice Group of the law firm of Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrère & Denègre in Jackson, Mississippi. He was a member of President Clinton’s Advisory Board on Race in 1997-1998. The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation on the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus is named in his honor, as is the William F. Winter Professorship in the Department of History.
In March 2008, he was presented the Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum for his work advancing education and racial reconciliation.
He is married to the former Elise Varner, and they have three daughters and five grandchildren.