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Rhames inaugurated as MTC president; lottery winner pledges $1.25M

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Past chairman of the Midlands Tech board, Randall “Mack” Jackson, left, presents Ronald Rhames with the presidential medallion during Thursday’s celebration.  George Powers, vice chairman of the Midlands Tech commission, looks on. (Photo/Provided)

By Chris Cox
ccox@scbiznews.com
Published Sept. 25, 2015

A pair of Midlands Technical College graduates made history Thursday morning.

Former alumnus Ronald Rhames was inaugurated as the school’s sixth president in the 400-seat auditorium at the institution’s Harbison Campus. During the celebration, fellow graduate Solomon Jackson announced a $1.25 million pledge to support scholarships at the two-year college.

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Powerball winner Solomon Jackson pledged to his alma mater a $1.25 million gift to support QuickJobs scholarships. (Photo/Provided)
“I am honored to be inaugurated as the sixth president of Midlands Technical College,” Rhames said. “We are all deeply honored by the gift Mr. Jackson has pledged to the college today. I thank him, and our students thank him. Mr. Jackson’s generosity will see that more MTC students get the best education and services available.”

Jackson’s gift is the largest individual one in the school’s history. The retired state employee, the first person in his family to graduate high school and go to college, is known for winning nearly $260 million from the Powerball lottery in 2009.

His donation will go toward Midlands Tech’s QuickJobs program, which are career training programs developed for fields where job growth is expected over the next five years. These can often be completed in less than three months and have careers with incomes over $60,000.

“MTC itself was a school that seemed like they wanted to help you,” he said. “For that reason I said, ‘I’m going to go to Midlands Technical College’.  And I’m glad I did.”

Rhames, a Keenan High School graduate who later studied at Benedict College, said he is aiming to increase private support and grow enrollment during his time as president. He is the first person to graduate from a South Carolina technical college and later become its president.

“I’m proud to be the leader of my alma mater,” Rhames said. “This is home to me. This is my community.”

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