From rural high school graduate to retired university dean

By Ralphine Major

The power of a printed paper!  Distributed weekly, the far-reaching impact of The Knoxville Focus is remarkable.  Through it, I have been connected to people I never knew and reconnected to others with whom I had lost touch.  Perry and Carol McGinnis fall into the first category.

It was after I started writing a true, human-interest column for The Focus that I met Dr. and Mrs. Perry McGinnis.  Only then did I learn that Perry was the first graduate from Gibbs High School to become a dentist.  A career that started with a private practice in Knoxville, Tennessee, branched into the academics area of dentistry, taking the McGinnis family to Memphis, Oklahoma, and finally—Mississippi.  In 2001, the Gibbs graduate retired as Dean in the School of Dentistry at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi.  From a small, rural school in Knox County, Tennessee, to retired Dean at the University of Mississippi!  What an accomplishment and wonderful ending to cap an outstanding career!

The photograph shown here was taken during the retirement reception for Dr. and Mrs. Perry McGinnis by the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, June of 2001, showing the portrait that, after framing, would be displayed in the School of Dentistry alongside the two previous Deans of the school.  It is truly an honor to share about the life of two people I am so happy to have met along my path.

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