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Northwest Trustee

Dorothy Kearney Wilbourn (left), a member of the Northwest Community College Board of Trustees, is enrolled this semester in Computer Concepts on the Senatobia campus. Seated to her left is fellow student Mary Ann Jones of Nesbit. Photo provided

Northwest trustee enrolled as student

By Nancy Patterson, NWCC

Dorothy Kearney Wilbourn of Como is not your average college student. 

In fact, Wilbourn, who is enrolled this semester in Computer Concepts, is a member of the college’s Board of Trustees, representing Panola County.  Each month she makes decisions that affect the students that she now sits next to in class.

Wilbourn’s computer class is taught by Earline Cocke on the Senatobia campus.

“I have more time now that I’m retired, and I wanted to start at the bottom and learn more about computers. I want to be able to look up interesting subjects on the Internet and use e-mail,” she says.

While Wilbourn may be retired, she is still busy. A member of the College Board of Trustees since 2004, Wilbourn serves on special committees including Personnel, Special Recognition and Finance.

A former food service administrator for the North Panola School District, she holds a master’s degree in home economics education from Alcorn State University and a food service certificate from the University of Mississippi.

She was named Teacher of the Year for North Panola High School in 1980 and was named to the Hall of Honor at Alcorn State University in 2004.

Wilbourn still works part-time in the food service department at North Panola and finds time to do some catering on the side.

“I also make wedding cakes and special occasion cakes,” says Wilbourn.

“Right now, besides working and going to school, I’m busy with my husband, William, who is undergoing kidney dialysis. I used to have to drive him to Southaven, but now he is going to Sardis and can make the trip by himself.”

Her husband is on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. Mr. Wilbourn, now retired, worked in supervisory positions with Dana Corporation in Crenshaw and at Batesville Casket Company.

Wilbourn says she has enjoyed sitting side-by-side with the Northwest students that she serves as a trustee.

“It helps that there are three non-traditional students in the class,” she says.

“Dorothy comes in with a smile and always says ‘good morning’,” said Instructor Cocke. “She was glad to see other students in the classroom that were non-traditional students.  This seems to make her more comfortable about returning to the classroom to know that she was not the only ‘old’ person in the room.”

Other activities for Wilbourn include lifetime membership in both the NAACP and MAE/NEA. She has served as president of Panola County Democratic Committee and the Panola County Volunteer Homemakers.

She and her husband reside in Como and have four adult godchildren and six grandchildren.