Hinds Community College Foundation Board President Phil Hutchins graduated from Hinds in 1969 and left Mississippi State University in the early 1970s lacking 30 hours of courses for a bachelor’s degree.
“Financial aid in the early ‘70s …” he said, shaking his head. “You either had the money or you didn’t. And so, I did not finish at State.
“That’s why I support the Foundation. So many people who otherwise couldn’t afford to get an education can get one,” he said. “The Foundation is important because everybody is not born rich and everybody doesn’t have the money.”
Hutchins did well for himself, however. He first tried respiratory therapy as a career but decided the medical field was not for him. He next worked for BellSouth. “I wanted to be in high tech,” he said. In 1982 he left the phone company and started his own company, CDE Integrated Systems, which performs a variety of telecommunications tasks such as installing telephone systems and laying fiber optic cable for central Mississippi companies and higher education institutions.
Foundation Board President Phil Hutchins is among a number of family members who attended Hinds, including his grandson Phillip Hutchins III, center, and son Phillip Hutchins Jr.
He has stayed in the Hinds County area where he grew up. His father graduated from the high school when it was part of the college and then got an associate degree at Hinds. His brother Mark graduated from Hinds, went to the University of Southern Mississippi, and went to work for NASA. His son Phillip Jr. also went to Hinds and his grandson Phillip III was the Hinds drum major, graduating in 2022 from the Aviation Technology program. He’s now the drum major for Delta State University, receiving a full scholarship.
Hutchins said he believes Hinds is the best first step for many people. “It is so hard to jump from high school to senior college. I encourage young people to consider community college for an easier adjustment. They’re a great stepping stone to building a career path,” he said.