Gregory Travis received the Van “Doc” Quick Distinguished Staff Award during MC’s 37th annual Faculty and Staff Retirement and Service Year Celebration April 27. Serving in the Office of Public Safety, Travis has earned the highest staff service honor at Mississippi College.
The honoree has an encouraging spirit and optimism that mirror outstanding qualities of the award’s namesake.
The award is named in honor of one of the Christian University’s most beloved and revered administrators and friend to many on and off the Clinton campus. Quick devoted more than three decades to MC as a leader in student and alumni affairs and remained an icon in the University’s family for more than a half-century. He was known for his friendliness and for being a ‘walking encyclopedia” of all things MC.
The award recognizes a dedicated staff member for providing exceptional service to the 197-year-old University. Those who knew Quick can see an obvious connection to the 2023 award recipient.
“I have served in the public safety field in a supervisory capacity for 30-plus years,” said Mike Warren, director of public safety at MC. “I have never had an employee as dependable, committed, energetic, faithful – I could continue to list adjectives, but it would become redundant.
“The Office of Public Safety is fortunate to have Greg working for us. More importantly, he is a fantastic ambassador for the University with how he greets visitors and gives assistance well beyond the normal scope of his duties. Greg Travis has a Christian heart and is one of the best examples of a Christian man I know. There is no doubt he is deserving of this recognition.”
Special events draw heavy traffic and sizable crowds to the Clinton campus, and visitors always notice Travis’ trademark friendliness and congeniality. During the 2016 graduation, one of MC’s part-time officers noticed Travis speaking to almost everyone arriving at the A.E. Wood Coliseum and said he must be running for mayor. The nickname took hold in the Office of Public Safety and quickly spread throughout campus, and today, almost everyone refers to Travis as “The Mayor of MC.”
“Greg always displays a positive, can-do attitude,” Warren said. “He completes tasks ahead of schedule and then asks what else he can do to help. He usually ends conversations with, ‘I am just happy to serve or do whatever you need.’”
His helpful attitude earned Travis the first DBT’s MVP Award from MC President Blake Thompson. Despite the accolades, Travis is quick to say he doesn’t actively pursue honors, but performs for the glory of the Lord.
Travis said, “I’m grateful to receive awards, but I think of Micah 6:8: ‘What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.'”
Travis began his career as a firefighter for the Jackson Fire Department. Afterwards, he was transferred to Code Enforcement in the City of Jackson Fire Marshal’s Office. He later transferred to the Arson and Internal Affairs Division of the Jackson Fire Department, where he retired as chief investigator and public information officer. He became a law enforcement officer through the Jackson Police Department Training Academy. He attended the Texas Department of Public Safety Polygraph Academy, and received his polygraph license though the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
Travis said, “Officer Tim Lawless, who was employed at Mississippi College, mentioned that MC Public Safety was hiring and thought I would be a good person for the Safety Officer position.”
Lawless said he knew Travis’ tremendous work ethic and heart for service would be a perfect match for the Christian University. Lawless recommended that Travis apply to MC in 2015.
“Greg’s favorite saying is, ‘How may I be of service to you?’” Lawless said. “He never meets a stranger and always greets you with a big smile. He is the first to volunteer to serve during special events on campus or when there is a shortage of officers.”
“I always try to give an encouraging word whenever I’m with students,” Travis said. “Sometimes classes can be a little difficult, and some students may be far from home and need someone to give them a word of encouragement.”
Travis, his wife, Catherine, and their family are members of the West Jackson Ministry of Christ Church, where he serves on the Deacons’ Board.
“More than anything, when I leave the Earth, I want to hear the Lord say, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’” Travis said. “That’s what is important to me.
“Leading a good life that’s an example to others – that’s what I’d like to be remembered by.”