Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has presented the 2012 Sam Owen Trophy to Dr. Willis H. Lott, Gulf Coast president emeritus. The award is an honor bestowed since 1956 to a community member who has actively supported the college and its ongoing mission to make a positive difference.
Lott was named the 11th president of MGCCC in August 1998 and served for 13 years before retiring last year.
In a separate item, MGCCC has inducted three honorees into the Alumni Hall of Fame. Dr. Houston “Ken” Seay (Perkinston Campus Honoree, 1946-1948) served in the Marine Corps in World War II, and afterwards attended Perkinston Junior College on a football scholarship. Recalled to active duty by the Marine Corps, Seay served as a drill instructor at Parris Island in the Korean War era. Later, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi Southern College. He worked for 40 years in Pascagoula schools as a teacher, assistant coach, head coach, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, acting superintendent and superintendent. During that time, he also earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Seay is a lifetime member of the MGCCC Alumni Association and a member of the Bulldog Club. He is active in civic organizations, including Kiwanis Club, Elks Club and the Pascagoula City Civil Defense organization. He helped organize Boys Little League and was the Mississippi representative for Girls Dixie Baseball. Seay received the 1990 Contribution to Amateur Football Award and the 1991 Award of Merit from the Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Football Hall of Fame.
He is married to the former Glenmary Newsom of Hattiesburg. The Seays have three children and seven grandchildren.
Dennis Burke (Jefferson Davis Campus, 1967-1969), a native of Biloxi, completed his bachelor’s degree in business and finance at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1971. In 1972, he began his banking and finance career with First Federal Savings and Loan of Biloxi, working there until its merger with Magnolia Federal in 1989. In 1992, he moved to Peoples Bank and is currently the vice president of business development.
Burke was a 1984 Outstanding Young Man of America. In 1996, he was a Leadership Gulf Coast graduate and a recipient of the For God and Youth Award from the Diocese of Biloxi. In 2002, he was named director emeritus of the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce. In 2007, Burke was named a Top 10 Community Leader. In 2009, he was named “King of the Kitchen” for outstanding service during the Biloxi Seafood Festival. Burke was named the 2010 March of Dimes Spotlight to Success Honoree. Burke has served on numerous boards and committees in the community, including St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy Board, the Board of Education for Nativity Elementary School and as a board member of the Dusti Bonge Art Foundation. He is past president and past treasurer of Biloxi Main Street, board member of the Biloxi Greater Economic Development Commission, a member of the Board of Trustees of Leadership Gulf Coast, past president of the Biloxi Rotary Club and past director of Nativity Youth Ministry.
Burke is married to the former Nanette Ardoline. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Sandra (Gollott) Fletcher (Jackson County Campus, 1969-1971), a native of Biloxi and 52-year resident of Vancleave, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and her master’s degree in education/English at William Carey University. She has taught and coached at Vancleave High School since 1974. In the realm of sports, she coached cheerleaders to state finals, and presently coaches the Vancleave girls volleyball team.
Fletcher has been named the Vancleave High School Teacher of the Year and Jackson County School District Teacher of the Year. She is a recipient of the Star Teacher Award, the Crystal Apple Award and the Golden Apple Award. She was named to Who’s Who Among American High School Teachers. She is also a master teacher.
Fletcher is married to B.L. “Sonny” Fletcher Jr., also a Gulf Coast alumnus and a member of the 1999 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in football. The couple has two children and two grandsons.