Blue Mountain College holds graduation May 6
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Augustus L. (Leon) Collins will address Blue Mountain College’s Class of 2017 on Saturday, May 6 at the 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Spring commencement ceremonies on the BMC campus.

Collins is the Chief Executive Officer for MINACT Inc., a major workforce development, training and management corporation, that provides job training and educational services to students and spans across seven states.

Prior to accepting this position, Collins was the Adjutant General of Mississippi and served as the Commanding General of both the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard. He commanded a force of more than 12,275 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen.

Collins served on active duty in Operation Desert Shield/Storm as well as commanding the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Collins was promoted to brigadier general while in Iraq, making him the first African American to attain the rank of general officer in the history of the Mississippi National Guard.

Following his deployment to Iraq, Collins was assigned as Director of Mobilization, United States Army Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Ga. He was later appointed by Governor Haley Barbour to serve as a Commissioner for the Mississippi Worker's Compensation Commission. He held that post until he accepted a position with MINACT.

When Governor Phil Bryant took office in January 2012, he appointed Collins the Adjutant General of Mississippi and was promoted to the rank of Major General.

Collins is a 2007 inductee into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame. He was the 2006 Mississippi Trailblazer of the Year. He is a 2006 inductee into the Mississippi Military Academy Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame. He has twice been awarded the National Guard Bureau's Minuteman Award. He was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., in 2009 and 2016. He was the 2012 recipient of the Sam Haskell Spirit of America Award presented by the Mississippi Trailblazers. He is a 2012 inductee into the Northeast Mississippi Community College Alumni Hall of Fame. He is the 2014 recipient of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award, presented by the Boy Scouts of America.

A few of his many military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Mississippi Magnolia Cross, the Order of Saint George Medallion for excellence in Armor and the Combat Action Badge.

Collins currently serves on the Board of Directors of Huntington Ingalls Industries, the Board of Directors of Friends of Mississippi Veterans, the Board of Directors for MINACT Inc. and he serves as the Vice President for the University of Mississippi Alumni Association. He previously served on the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance and the Governor's Commission for Physical Fitness and Sports. He is a member of the Beta Gamma Boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and was inducted into the National Collegiate Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Collins received an Associate of Arts Degree from Northeast Mississippi Junior College, a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Mississippi, a Master of Business Administration Degree from Jackson State University, a Master of Strategic Studies Degree from the United States Army War College and has completed studies at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government as well as the Harvard Business School.