JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi College virtual graduation ceremony is on Saturday, but there was a very special, live ceremony for a very special member of the WLBT family Thursday, and she had no idea it was going to happen.
She was on the campus of Mississippi College for an interview, but little did WLBT anchor Maggie Wade know, a decades long dream was about to become reality.
Dr. Blake Thompson, president of Mississippi College said, “Maggie has no idea she’s about to receive her diploma from Mississippi College.”
First, the shock, as she emerged from Nelson Hall thinking the cap and gown was just for promotional pictures; then the tears of joy as she discovered what school administrators have secretly been working on for years now.
They used her work experience as work-study, of sorts, to give her the mere nine hours she lacked to get her degree in business administration back in 1982. It was an official ceremony in every way, even pomp and circumstance playing in the background.
Public relations official Lori Bobo said, “We felt like it was a good, good opportunity to give this to her and with our theme, this semester, was strong and courageous, we’re transitioning that into strong and courageous women and we felt like she was perfect for our first spotlight.”
Dr. Blake Thompson said, “So, this is the capstone on our first ever virtual commencement ceremony and we’re just so thankful for Maggie Wade and we’re honored that she’s now a Mississippi College alum.”
WLBT’s Barbie Bassett, also an M. C. alum, was key in helping the college coordinate the surprise with WLBT managers. “For Mississippi College to have a Maggie Wade on their alumni roster, this is a huge deal for them,” said Bassett.
Dr. Jim Turcotte, vice president of Alumni Affairs and a former classmate of Wade, said, “You know, what’s special about this is, there are graduates all over the country, all over the world doing great things and Maggie Wade is one of the most outstanding people I know and that’s what’s exciting for me is today, we will finally be able to honor and just encourage her with this degree.”
Maggie Wade said, “And when I came out here, Howard, you saw me doing the ugly cry. I don’t cry cute. It was- this is really a dream come true. I was determined. I promised my children that I would finish what I started. I only had a few hours, but life got in the way; parenthood, being a wife and career, of course, and, but I was so close.”
And now, Maggie Wade, you are no longer close, but you’ve crossed the finish line.