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Pillar of the Gulf Coast College Network
Dr. J.J. Hayden, Jr., President Emeritus of Gulf Coast Junior College, is a past graduate of Pass Christian High School, he also attended the Perkinston campus where he played football for the years 1938 and 1939. After receiving his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Mississippi State College in 1966, he was conferred with a Doctorate of Education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Doctor Hayden served in the U.S. Air Force during 1940 and 1941 and as Chief Boatswain Mate in the Coast Guard from 1941 to 1945. While still a young man he decided to spend a couple of years as a laborer on the wharfs of Maine. However, after two years loading crates of sardines he decided to return to the Pass to commence his intended college training. Following graduation, he taught one year in Louisiana before joining the faculty of his Alma Mater. At Perkinston he filled an opening as social science instructor for the 1950 term which led to his appointment in 1952, as Dean of Students. In full stride, he became Acting President of the College in July of 1953. Hayden was officially named President of Perkinston Junior College proclaiming him its youngest President at age 33. Having previously attended Perkinston, he was recognized as being its first alumnus to succeed to its presidency.
During Hayden's tenure, the college had grown considerably. In 1962 the enrollment was just over 1000 and by 1965 the growth expanded to six thousand. Hayden continued to press for legislative change, bond issues, and financial aid for building programs fulfilling the need for new dormitories, physical education expansion, and general renovation. His agenda included additions of gymnasiums, classrooms, lecture rooms, libraries and other required facilities to existing and new branch campus expansions at Perkinston, Gulport, Gautier and the George County Occupational Training Center at Lucedale.
Dr. Hayden is well known for his dedication to performance. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Economic Council for a three year term in 1964 to 1967. He became President of Mississippians for Educational Television in 1975. In 1977, he was initiated into the Alpha Chi Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor Society in tribute to his outstanding educator's achievement in leadership, scholarship and collegiate activities. He also served as member of the Phi Theta Kappa Board of Trustees.
In 1985, after 32 years of proven leadership, Dr. Hayden retired from the Gulf Coast Junior College's presidency. The following year, he was bestowed as President Emeritus and was the 16th Alumnus to be inducted into its Alumni Hall of Fame. These actions were commemorated at an annual homecoming which included several class reunions. Not yet to be forgotten by his Alma Mater, in 1987 the new men's dorm at Perkinston was named in his honor. The dedication included hanging his portrait in the motel-style facility, now known as Hayden Hall.
In his retirement, Dr. Hayden continues to remain active in community endeavors. Having served as a counselor for three years with the Service Corps of Retired Executives, in 1988 he was appointed SCORE's Chairman.
In further distinguishing Doctor Hayden, he became the 37th recipient of the Sam Owen Trophy at a Perkinston Campus homecoming luncheon in 1991.
Like his father, Julius J. Hayden Sr., a former member of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors, Dr. J.J. Hayden has participated for many, many years in countless civic and educational associations. Even in his present term of post-retirement, Dr. Hayden has sustained his love for Coast Historical development and its folklore. Long a member of the Mississippi Historical Society, he has also served as President of the Pass Christian Historical Association. He is further distinguished with having written the first History of Pass Christian in his Thesis preparation for his Master's Degree in 1950.
The College network of coastal campuses that Dr. Hayden designed and implemented is now called the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He has evidenced himself not just as an Educator, but as the Pillar of the present Gulf Coast College Network.