History of SMCC
Since its early beginning, Southwest Mississippi Community College has maintained a rich history, from its early days reflecting an agrarian community to today's technological society. Through each change, each event, the College endeavored to meet the educational needs in southwest Mississippi. Conception for Southwest Mississippi Community College began as early as 1908.
In 1908, the Mississippi legislature enacted legislation allowing counties to establish agricultural high schools. On April 7, 1916, the Pike County School Board voted to establish such a high school. The ideal spot for the new agricultural high school was Godbold's Mineral Wells, located in a picturesque setting just northeast of Summit. Godbold's Mineral Wells, a state and national resort noted for its mineral waters, had outlived its glory years, yet it proved to be the perfect location for an educational facility. On September 3, 1918, Superintendent James Murray Kenna, six faculty members, and approximately forty students began the Pike County Agricultural High School - an institution destined to become Southwest Mississippi Community College. The original campus consisted of classroom buildings, dormitories, and a comprehensive farm, including dairy, beef, and row-crop operations.
The agricultural high school first offered college work in 1929 and added second-year courses in 1932, when the school became a two-year junior college. In 1988, the name of the college was changed to Southwest Mississippi Community College to more accurately reflect the mission of the institution in meeting the various educational and public service needs of its district.
Still located on its original site, Southwest continues to grow and develop. The campus, located on a sixty-acre plot, includes twenty-eight buildings, a football stadium, and a baseball field. The buildings are situated around a central lake with walks, bridges, and paths connecting the buildings. The remainder of the approximately 855 acres is now a tree farm.
Southwest has had seven presidents: J. M. Kenna 1918; H. D. Pickens, July 1947; Clyde H. Snell, July 1948; Charles C. Moore, July 1951; H. T. Huddleston, July 1952; Horace Holmes, July 1972; Oliver Young, July 2005. Steve Bishop was named president in July 2011. The College's excellent leadership, strong faculty and staff, strategic location, and vision for the future will continue to enrich the College's history.