Rust College stands as testimony, Brown says


Special to the Advocate

Rust College stands as testimony to the strength of people of color, Bishop Thomas L. Brown Sr. told those attending the college’s 141st Founder’s Day convocation.

“Great characters were developed here, racial and ethnic identity were nurtured here at Rust College. You are a testimony to the strength of colored people, and let your light so shine,” said Brown.

Brown, of the Fourth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, was the keynote speaker for the event on the Holly Springs campus. Rust is a supported by the Mississippi Conference.

Using biblical parables and metaphors, Brown referred to the perseverance of the college to exist and sustain itself for a cause. “The cause that let our light shine. The light to ensure that education of the young minds continue in view of all adversaries,” he said.

The 54th bishop of the CME Church in Memphis suggested people believe in a cause large enough to let their light shine.

“With a strong belief system in place, you find your provision, power, and promise,” Brown concluded.

He was presented with the 26th Tower of Leadership Award by Rust President Dr. David L. Beckley in recognition of his service to the community and humanity.

The celebration was held in conjunction with the now defunct Mississippi Industrial College (1905-1982).

Holly Springs Mayor Andre DeBerry opened the speakers’ portion of the event by highlighting the symbolic role the college plays in the community. “It must continue to build on the legacy handed down from the past, instilling education in great minds each year,” DeBerry said.

MI College Alumni President Dr. Jessie J. Edwards gave the historical context which gave birth to the college, particularly the efforts by its founder Bishop Elias Cottrell. Edwards said the MI association was formed in 1999 to help save the college history and maintain its architectural structure. The organization strives also to provide assistance and scholarship to Rust College students, thus keeping the hope of Bishop Cottrell alive.

This story is adapted from a story that appeared in the Feb. 20 edition of “The Rustorian,” the student newspaper at Rust College.