Ella Wilbourn

Published 1:03 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Ella Wilbourn Endowment was established by the faculty and staff of The Natural Sciences Department at Northwest Mississippi Community College under the leadership of Robin Robison, director, and The Mathematics Department, under the leadership of Wayne Ferguson, director.

Wilbourn died in 2016 at the age of 45.  She was engaged to Lamar Cobb, with whom she worked at Northwest.

She left behind four daughters, Dikisha, Amber, Jacqueline, and Marquita.  These daughters fondly remember their mother as being totally devoted to them.  One daughter, recalls, “As a single parent, she provided for us, she loved us, and she gave us the very best she had to give. She had high hopes for us and urged each of us to dream big dreams.”

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Wilbourn was a member of the Housekeeping Staff, but she was much more than that to those who worked in the Science and Math Departments.

Biology Instructor Melissa Greene wrote this to describe what Wilbourn was to all of them: “Ms. Ella was our friend.  She worked with us in the Burks Building, and we requested that she come with us to the new Math and Science building when we moved in because we wanted our friend with us every day.  Every day, she had a smile on her face.  She knew our families through stories and pictures, and we knew hers.  She was so excited to be getting married.  She would always come in and show me her new hairdo and her new nail polish, and we would talk about trips we wanted to take. She was kind and thoughtful, and she was a hard worker.”

“She worked an additional job to provide for her daughters.  She was so proud of them, and she wanted to take them on trips to see the world.  She prayed for my family, and she would ask me to pray for hers. She would always check in and let me know she had been praying.  Ms. Ella’s death was a shock and so hard.  Those who knew her well have cried many times talking about our precious memories of her.  She was quite simply our kind, thoughtful friend.  All of us who worked with her every day truly love Ms. Ella.”   

Brian Hale was a student at Northwest, and he now works at Northwest as assistant Help Desk coordinator.  He said, “When I was a student, Ms. Ella would stop me in the hall and just have a conversation with me.  I didn’t know her, and she didn’t know me, but we became friends.  I left Northwest, and when I came back as an employee, Ms. Ella took the time to welcome me back.”

Dr. Michael Heindl, president of Northwest understands that every person who works at Northwest has an important role to pay in the life of our students. “I wonder just how many students were encouraged by this grand lady, students who might have been having a terrible day, only to have Ms. Ella with that extraordinary smile of hers, take the time to speak to them, to get to know them, to let them know that somebody cared. We are grateful for the faculty in the Math and Science Departments who have honored her with a tribute that will be here as long as this college exists,” Heindl said.

The scholarship will be awarded to students who are pursuing a mathematics and/or natural sciences career pathway.

For more information on Foundation scholarships, contact Marla Kennedy, institutional advancement specialist at 560-1105 or email mkennedy@northwestms.edu.