Chance at a great tribute

Word came today that ground has been broken for a new women’s dorm at William Carey University. As the Carey community continues to grow, something like this was inevitable.

As the old saying goes, someone must be doing something right. May it be named for someone worthy.

If I had a vote, obviously, it would be to name the dorm for Cindy Morris. As noted throughout this blog and in her tribute pages on my radio show website, Cindy was the first full-time housing director at the university.

Not only was she a great leader at Carey and an even better person, the latter being one of many reasons I asked her to marry me, Cindy was part of what I like to call the Larry Kennedy revolution.

After serving as pastor of a number of churches, Dr. Kennedy was part of the faculty of the then William Carey College in 1991 as professor of religion. He was also dean of the Cooper School of Missions and Biblical Studies – and served as vice president of church relations.

In 1997, Carey turned to Dr. Kennedy to lead the college on an interim basis. A year later, the interim title was removed and he became president of William Carey College.

From there, the revolution was on. New programs, new degrees, new buildings and, noticeably, new students. As the numbers increased in Carey’s student body, there came a need for a housing director.

Enter Cindy Houdeshell, who heard about Carey at a job fair in Indianapolis. All she knew about Carey at the time was it’s in Mississippi where her mother lives. (For the record, Cindy’s mom still lives in north Mississippi.) Cindy was hired in 2000 – and stayed in that capacity until her untimely passing in 2007.

In that time, she became a big sister to many. Many Carey students enjoyed working with Cindy. Many of those young men and women would stay in touch with her even after they earned their diplomas. In 2005, Cindy and I attended seven weddings – including our own. Half of the rest involved Carey grads.

Cindy is still dearly missed by Carey staffers and alumni — as well as the rest of us who were blessed and lucky enough to know her. Cindy touched a lot of lives and inspired us to be better people.

To the powers that be at William Carey University, I cannot think of a better tribute to Cindy than naming the forthcoming women’s dorm in her memory. There was a bit of an effort to name a then new dorm in 2007 in her memory. But, in the final analysis, that would’ve been too much too soon. I recall she was pictured on the front page of the Hattiesburg American in 2006 looking over floor plans with a co-worker.

I can still remember attending visitation on campus with Cindy after Dr. Kennedy’s passing. I told many who attended visitation that Dr. Kennedy took excellent care of Carey. That was six years ago.

January will mark six years since Cindy’s passing. Said powers that be at WCU named its sports complex in Dr. Kennedy’s memory. Certainly, a tremendous move on their part. Naming the forthcoming dorm in Cindy’s memory would also be a tremendous move.

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