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Four inductees into William Carey University’s Hall of Fame were, from left, Dr. Eric Joseph Williams, Carl Merritt Jr., William Carey President Dr. Tommy King, Dr. Adam Breerwood and Vermester Jackson Bester.

William Carey inducts 4 into Alumni Hall of Fame

William Carey University inducted four graduates  into the Alumni Hall of Fame during a banquet at Southern Oaks House and Gardens in Hattiesburg March 27.

» Dr. Adam Breerwood is a two-time graduate of Carey, earning a bachelor’s degree in social science in 1997 and a master’s degree in education in 1999. He earned his doctoral degree in higher education administration from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2003. He is vice president for the Poplarville campus and Hancock Center of Pearl River Community College. He was a member of the Mississippi Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 class in 2013. A former baseball player at both PRCC and Carey, Dr. Breerwood was inducted into the PRCC Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

» Vermester Jackson Bester was one of the first two African-American students admitted to Carey in 1965. She graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and started a 35-year-career with the Hattiesburg Public School District. During those years, she served as a teacher, department chair and academic coach. In 1978, she earned a master’s degree from USM. She has also taught math at McKinney Independent School District and as an adjunct instructor of math at USM. Since retiring, she has served as an independent math consultant and consults for four Mississippi school districts. She has  been selected Teacher of the Year for both Hattiesburg High School and Mary Bethune Alternative School. She has also been awarded the Euro award honoring integration pioneers and the Teacher of the Year Award by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Mu Gamma Lambda Chapter.

» Carl Merritt Jr. earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Carey in 1978, the master of administration and supervision degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1985 and the specialist’s degree in education from Carey in 1990. He has been superintendent of the Poplarville School District since 2007. He is secretary of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents and has been elected president-elect for 2015-2016.

» Dr. Eric Joseph Williams earned the bachelor’s degree in nursing from Carey in 1986 and later earned a master’s degree in nursing with a focus in adult health from the University of South Alabama College of Nursing. He now serves as the assistant director and faculty leader of health sciences and as a professor of nursing at Santa Monica College in California. In 2007, Williams earned a doctoral degree in nursing practice from the Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. He is the first vice president of the National Black Nurses’ Association Board of Directors and has served as president of the Council of Black Nurses in Los Angeles and the New Orleans Black Nurses’ Association.

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