March 26, 2009
Letters To The Editor
Tribute to Dr. McMillan:
Allow me to say a few words about the loss of an honorable man and citizen of Holly Springs, William A. McMillan, who died unexpectedly last week from a fatal automobile accident. He was one of Marshall County’s most eloquent advocates of race relations in recent times: a strong advocate for civil responsibility; good government; a promoter of youth and adults; and a common-sense approach to issues.
“Doc” as he was called, was a leader whose organizational skills have had a tremendous impact on our community and the nation. He was a devout Christian, Sunday School teacher and believer in the Christian principle that we should “love thy neighbor as thy self.”
As former president of Rust College for 26 years, McMillan dedicated his retirement years to working as a community advocate. He labored arduously to promote interracial peace, understanding, and effective local government.
Despite all the personal tragedies that came his way, his daily life was still committed to helping others.
He constantly promoted goodwill for all, challenging young and old to rise to their fullest potential by engaging in honorable and productive civic and social activities. He encouraged and had a special ability to rally people to causes, and to join civic and social organizations that represented high ethical standards. Participation, he felt, helped to build a person’s self-esteem.
Before his retirement, McMillan had gained a national reputation as an educational leader. He served as a college president, dean, administrator, professor and successful fund-raiser at several historically wlack institutions. As a leader, he insisted on maintaining rigorous academic standards to promote the best in students so they would become productive and caring citizens.
He held several national and statewide leadership positions, including the first African-American chairman of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities.
Few people have, as Dr. McMillan has, achieved so many accolades for his services to various community and social organizations. The many plaques on the walls of his home tell only part of his story. He is credited with founding or co-founding several civic and social organizations in Marshall County.
Among them are the Holly Springs/Marshall County Concerned Citizen Council; Memphis Street Development Corporation; Men of Distinction; Omega Psi Phi (social) Fraternity, Inc. (Kappa Beta and Psi Rho Chapters); Alpha Phi Omega (service) Fraternity; Utica Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa (educational) Fraternity Regional Groups; Gamma Nu Subordinate Boule of Sigma Pi Phi (social) Fraternity; Boy Scouts of America Troop No. 68; the I Can Club and the Gentlemen of Quality Club.
McMillan’s death is a tremendous loss to the Holly Springs/Marshall County community. His saber-rattling antics and smiling face will be greatly missed by many.
This is just a community concern. Holly Springs wants businesses and tourists to come in, but they still forget about customer service. Customer service should be number one anywhere if they want to make real business happen in a peaceful town.
From restaurants to auto shops, we all know the economy is struggling, so make the best of it because the customer is number one no matter what.
Business owners and employees should be open-minded to new suggestions for better businesses and planning to help the community grow further.
However; sometimes things are not as easy as they seem. But in these difficult times we should work together as a team, instead of against each other. I hope this helps.
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