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"Home Town" Stars Are Keynote Speakers at MC's Spring Scholarship Banquet
Both Napiers are natives of Laurel, Mississippi, and have artistic backgrounds.
MC hosted its annual Spring Scholarship Banquet on April 4 at 6 p.m. in Anderson Hall. The banquet is an important fundraiser to provide MC students with scholarships. For the fundraising portion of the night, the sponsors fell into four categories: Bronze Sponsors who donated $2,000, Silver Sponsors who donated $5,000, Platinum Sponsors who donated $10,000, and Diamond Sponsors who donated $25,000. Since 2008, Sponsors for the Spring Scholarship banquet have provided scholarships and grants to help MC students of all stages pay for their education.
The banquet opened with a call to order by Executive Director of Mississippi College Foundations Katrina Pace, followed by a warm welcome from President Dr. Blake Thompson and a prayer from Dr. Ronnie Falvey, chair of the Mississippi College Board of Trustees. Afterward, the guests ate dinner while Dr. Thompson made his way around the hall to ensure that every guest was having a great time.
During the meal, Department of Music Chair Dr. Ben Williams and the MC Worship Collective provided musical entertainment. After their performances, Dr. Thompson made more remarks on the banquet before introducing keynote speakers Ben and Erin Napier, stars of HGTV’s “Home Town,” with interviewer Maggie Wade.
When asked about their connection to Clinton and Mississippi College, Ben explained that they have a lot of close friends who lived in the area. Additionally, Erin took a painting class at MC, and she explained her inspiration for all of her paintings.
“Wyatt Waters is a hero for me… As I got older and got to actually meet Wyatt and took his class in Clinton once, that was one of the most fundamentally important classes I’ve ever had on paint,” said Erin.
Both Napiers are natives of Laurel, Mississippi, and have artistic backgrounds. Ben holds a degree in history and works as a woodworker. He also founded Scotsman Corporation, a branch of the Napiers’ shopping website, Laurel Mercantile Corporation, to sell woodworks including countertops and cutting boards. Erin is an artist who got her start as an entrepreneur in corporate graphic design chains. They are recognized for their home renovations in Laurel.
Wade asked Ben and Erin about their careers, their daily lives, how they manage to keep their work/life balance, and “Home Town,” in which they were praised for their “skillful artistry,” unmatched southern friendliness, work/life balance, and deeply-rooted Christian values.
Ben, speaking on his artistic background, said, “My mom was somewhat artistic and creative, and my dad, we would work on cars, and he would describe the curves of a vehicle… I don’t know if it was something I was born with or something that developed. It’s probably a little bit of both.”
Following the interview, the Napiers presented a prize to Lesley Brinkmann, who won the night’s donation raffle. All who donated that night were entered in a drawing to win a prized cutting board and the Napiers’ co-written memoir entitled “Make Something Good Today.” Both Ben and Erin were awarded tokens of gratitude and a picture with Wyatt Waters.
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