BLUE MOUNTAIN, Miss. (WTVA)-For the past eleven years Dr. Bettye Coward has served as President of Blue Mountain College.
She announced her retirement this year and Sunday an outpouring of community and school affiliates came out to support Dr. Coward, and say thank you.
"I had no idea the kind of community support we would be able to gain here," says Coward. "This is a wonderful community, very accepting and embracing of new leadership. Everyone is very interested in the college, and [they] want it to succeed."
Those who worked closely with Dr. Coward over the years say her dedication to the school was evident.
"It has been my privilege to serve on the board for the past 6 years with Dr. Coward," says Judith Swanberg. "I have been able to see so many wonderful improvements, and progress here at the school."
"I have been in this business for 25 years and I don't think I have ever seen anyone with such a passion for a place as Dr. Coward has had about Blue Mountain College," says vision consultant Richard Bradford. "It has been an absolute refreshing delight to see someone who not only believes in the institution, but believes what they set out to accomplish can be accomplished."
During her time as president Blue Mountain College went from an all female college to co-ed.
This has increased enrollment, and she says has brightened the future even more for the school.
At Sunday's reception Dr.Coward was presented a resolution recognizing her work by the U.S. House and Senate.
Also she received many personal letters and well-wishes from friends and family to be put into a memory book, she also shared one of her fondest memories.
"The thing that always stands out to me is the beginning of an academic year, and the eagerness and excitement to start something new," says Coward.
As Dr. Coward ends a 45 year career she says she is excited now to be able to be a "grammy" to her two young grandchildren.