When Malcolm (1956) and Fredna Cockerham settled into retirement in 2000, they moved to a small farm near Terry and began visiting Malcolm’s alma mater more frequently. “The Cockerham family shares a history with Hinds,” said Malcolm, a 38-year employee of the U.S. Forestry Service. “My parents and two first cousins were students in the early 1930s, and my brother in 1960.”
Fredna, a retired library media specialist and Gifted/Talented programs coordinator in Virginia and Arkansas, didn’t attend Hinds but had many friends who did. In 2010, she was asked to apply for the job of “greeter” in Fountain Hall. She said she’d try it for six months, but ended up staying 10 years. “I loved being part of the Hinds family and identifying with one of the oldest, best community colleges in the nation,” Fredna said. “The favorite part of my job as greeter was being with young people.”
It was that closeness they developed with students that inspired them to leave something permanent in their name. In 2019, they established the Fredna and Malcolm Cockerham Endowed Scholarship. Eligible applicants must be enrolled full-time, or 15 or more credit hours per semester, and successfully completing 12 of them, and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or better, among other routine requirements. They may attend any of the college’s six locations and be in any academic or career-tech area of study.
The Cockerhams said they believe that education is a very important part of life and hope the scholarship will be the first step toward a lifelong profession. “Early on in our involvement with Hinds, we realized that there were a number of deserving students who could use financial assistance,” Malcolm said. “We began making contributions to individual student scholarships.” As their contributions grew, so did their love for the college and what it can do to improve lives and futures for its students.
“Meeting and talking to new recruits for Hinds Connection, for example, and their families opened my eyes to the need to do more,” Fredna said. “As Malcolm has said, I only wish we had started earlier.”