By Rachel West
Jacqueline Certion, assistant director of the University of Mississippi’s FASTrack program, died Friday of natural causes. She was 48.
In her job, she served as the primary guidance for Ole Miss students’ academic path and knew the importance of being a major support system for each student.
She was named the northeast district Harriet Tubman award winner in 2019 for her work with Black students. She was also an active member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and served as former Mississippi area coordinator.
She was a 1990 graduate of Oxford High School, where she served as class president. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in criminal justice and social rehabilitation services. She received her master’s degree from Mississippi State University in Counselor Education.
According to the university’s website, Certion’s impact on the Ole Miss community and students was felt by many.
Terrence Johnson, who graduated in 2018, said Certion’s impact was important and meaningful in his life.
“Right when we met, I instantly felt that I had someone in my corner while I was starting a new journey in college,” Johnson said. “She’s been with me throughout all of my years at Ole Miss and after. It is difficult news to hear.”
Dee Turner, who graduated in May, said “Mrs. Jackie’s office was a safe haven for so many students.”
“I don’t know how many times I came into her office crying, telling her I hated everything and wanted to go home,” Turner said. “She spoke so much life into me and so many others. You never knew she was having a bad day because she always had a smile.”
Certion is survived by her husband, Michael Certion and their adult children Michael Jr., Zach and Chris.
News editor Alyssa Schnugg contributed to this report.