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BPCC honors McConathy with building dedication

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The McConathy family (Randy Brown/Press-Tribune)

On the grounds that he helped build, Bossier Parish Community College gathered to honor one of their founding fathers with a building dedication.

BPCC named the Administration Building in honor of John R. McConathy in a special ceremony April 12.

A long-time educator and businessman, as well as professional basketball player, John McConathy passed away on April 23, 2016. A superintendent of Bossier Parish schools and one of the driving forces behind the creation of BPCC, guest speakers underscored his lasting legacy on the community as well as their lives.

“I first met John McConathy in October 2014 when we were cutting the ribbon on the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now – the impact that John McConathy had on Bossier Parish Community College and in our parish. It is appropriate we recognized him with this dedication,” said BPCC Chancellor Dr. Rick Bateman.

Kevin McCotter, representing Campus Facilities, Inc., spoke of McConathy as a man, his legend, and his dedication to education.

Campus Facilities, formed in 2001, is the nonprofit corporation responsible for building the current BPCC campus. McCotter said that between BPCC’s ground breaking in 2002 and opening in January 2005, that McConathy’s leadership, character, and ethics overshadowed “everything we did.”

“He set the tone for what this organization is today. His impact is everywhere,” McCotter said. “I always said that John made you better than you were.”

Jason Smith, president of Citizens National Bank, spoke of his relationship with the McConathy family, dating back to when he was a toddler and their neighbor. He recalled memories of working with John McConathy as a businessman and Chairman of the Board of Citizens National Bank.

“My earliest memories of him were as a dad. My dad worked for Mr. McConathy and as I grew up, I got to know him as an educator. Then, when I had the opportunity to go to work at Citizens, I got to know him as a businessman,” Smith said. “And all along the way, I’m amazed at the impact of any organization he touches. He is a man of faith and we are all better off because of him and I think that is because of his faith.”

CNB has been heavily involved with providing scholarships through the BPCC Foundation but is stepping up in honor of McConathy. Smith revealed that Dr. Bateman approached the bank earlier this year with creating an endowed scholarship — the John R. McConathy Citizens National Bank Scholarship Endowment.

“We have committed resources towards that endowment and we look forward to it being a continual part of the success that has been started here,” Smith said.

Melinda McConathy Guest was on hand to give remarks representing the entire McConathy family.

“Words can’t express how honored our family is to see our father, husband, grandfather and hero on the building of a place he held in such high regard,” she said.

Guest described her father as a visionary who cared deeply about all people.

“He was passionate about education and the opportunities it provided. BPCC began as a vision for providing a place for those who cannot go away to college and those who wanted to return to get the education they desired,” she added. “One of the greatest experiences of his life was the many hours spent on the planning of this campus we see here today. He continued to be amazed by the growth and enrollment every year.”

You can see images from the ceremony below: