J. Brackin Kirkland (S.I.I. Class of 1912)
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI HONORED
LWMA is built on a tradition of outstanding leaders. These leaders were and are an important part of the school's heritage.
Mr. Kirkland was born in Ellisville, Miss. He worked his way through The Southern Industrial Institute (now LWMA), graduating in 1912, and Cornell University, lthaca, N.Y., earning a B.S. 1918 and M.S. 1926. He taught for a time at Cornell and later was Executive Director at the George Junior Republic in Freeville, N.Y. In 1931, he became connected with the Boys Clubs of America, serving as Associate Director and Chief Fiscal Officer. In that capacity, he was closely connected with former President Herbert Hoover and other outstanding leaders throughout the country.
In 1941, he returned to his native Southland as Associate Principal of the Southern (Industrial Institute) and the following June, upon Dr. Lyman Ward's retirement, was named President by the Board of Trustees. A resourceful and energetic man, Mr. Kirkland set out to enhance and enlarge the work-study program begun by Dr. Ward. The school prospered under his leadership. Among his major achievements were a new dormitory - Friendly Hall, later renamed Kirkland Hall, football stadium - now the Parade Field, and the barn, much needed and used at that time. He also established the alumni "Committee of 100". Mr. Kirkland and his wife, Eleanor, travelled extensively raising money for the school, an endeavor in which he was very successful.
Mr. Kirkland retired in 1949 and returned to his native Mississippi. He and Mrs. Kirkland resided at Holly-Pine Farm, Moselle, near his birthplace. Although retired, he "adopted" the University of Southern Mississippi and served as a member of the board of directors of the USM Foundation.
To commemorate LWMA's 75th Anniversary in May, 1973, Mr. Kirkland was asked to return and deliver the Commencement Address. He graciously accepted and he and Mrs. Kirkland were honored guests at the Senior Tea following Commencement Exercises.
Mr. Kirkland died suddenly on February 25, 1974 while working on his farm at Moselle, Miss. He was 81.