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Lawrence to receive Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished Administrator Award

Lawrence to receive Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished Administrator Award Holmes Ridgeland Campus Academic Dean Dr. Tonya Lawrence will receive the Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished College Administrator Award during Catalyst, Phi Theta Kappa’s annual convention in Orlando, Florida, April 4-6. Dr. Tonya Lawrence, academic dean for the Holmes Community College Ridgeland Campus, will receive the Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished College Administrator Award during Catalyst, Phi Theta Kappa's annual convention in Orlando, Florida, April 4-6.

The award is given to college vice presidents, deans or directors serving at a post-secondary institution with an active Phi Theta Kappa chapter. Nominees must have served in their position for at least three years and demonstrated during their tenure a strong level of support for the honor society. A college administrator may receive this award only once. Dr. Lawrence was nominated by the Alpha Lambda Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa located on the Ridgeland Campus.

"In her capacity as dean, she serves as one of the most important factors to the success of our Phi Theta Kappa Chapter at Holmes Community College," said History and Political Science Department Chair Laura Canard. "Dr. Lawrence makes it her mission to invest daily in the student body and over the years, she has invested countless hours of her time to encourage and guide our chapter through various projects and other community oriented opportunities."

Dr. Lawrence has been employed with Holmes since 2005, and she began as an instructor of biological sciences. In 2009, she was named director of evening and weekend programs; a role she held for two years before her promotion to academic dean. Among her many accolades, she has been named a Lamplighter for Holmes, which means she was chosen to represent the college at the annual conference hosted by the Mississippi Community/Junior College Academic Dean's Association. The Lamplighter Conference recognizes and rewards effective instructors and gives them the opportunity to share those teaching techniques with one another. As dean, she has used many of those same techniques to assist the Phi Theta Kappa members.

"Dr. Lawrence's enthusiasm is contagious and inspiring to both the faculty and student body," Canard said. "She loves working with the students to brainstorm and assist as they walk through the different phases of both our Honors in Action and college projects. Her care and dedication truly express her heartfelt desire to help improve the lives of our students."

Dr. Lawrence earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Community College Leadership from Mississippi State University in May of 2017. Previously, she obtained a master's degree in biology teacher education from The University of Southern Mississippi and an Associate of Arts degree majoring in pre-physical therapy from Jones County Junior College.

"Even outside of Phi Theta Kappa, Dr. Lawrence spends time working with other student organization and academic departments to ensure we have the latest technology and programs necessary to give our students a world class education," Canard said. "Dr. Lawrence works tirelessly to get funds and approval to add new programs to enhance student life and give them the tools to succeed. Her highest goal is to see all our students succeed at Holmes and all their future endeavors. Phi Theta Kappa not only highlights the academic achievements of students, but also guides them to be the leaders of tomorrow, and every time Dr. Lawrence meets with our officers and members, she encourages them to grow as leaders."

The advisers for the Alpha Lambda Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa include Canard, mathematics instructor Lisa Anglin and biological science instructor Antoine Gates. Chapter officers for the chapter are Jacquelyn Seuser, president; Abby Wilkerson, Honors in Action coordinator; Malik Smith, college project/campus activities coordinator; Chelsea Williams, college project coordinator; Josh Hinkle, campus activities coordinator and Devin Brewer, project liaison. Dr. Lawrence will accompany the group to the Catalyst conference in April where she will receive her award.

For more information about Phi Theta Kappa, visit


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Holmes Community College does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information. Employees, students, applicants for admission or employment, or other participants in Holmes Community College programs or activities who believe they have been discriminated against are entitled to seek relief through the Compliance Officer (662) 472-9429. Written inquiries may be e-mailed to: or sent to: Compliance Office, P.O. Box 369, Goodman, MS 39079.

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