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The BU L L D O G family responds to a state in need What began as a smooth start up to the academic year in mid-August turned tumultuous as the state was staggered by Hurricane Katrina and the university focused on helping its students, employees, and others cope with the disaster. Although the Mississippi State campus in Starkville suffered minimal damage, and the Meridian Campus was back in operation within a few days, many of the more than 1,100 MSU students from the hardest hit areas, along with more than 160 employees based in coastal counties, suffered calamitous losses. The Bulldog family responded quickly, generously, and spontaneously to help meet the needs of our own and of others across the state. We streamlined and simplified administrative procedures to give students more time to drop classes or withdraw from school, if necessary, while extending registration by more than three weeks to admit students displaced from universities such as Tulane, the University of New Orleans, and the southernmost Mississippi community colleges. More than 50 such students joined us, at least for the fall semester. By the week of Labor Day, MSU also was housing more than 140 non-student storm evacuees on campus, closely coordinating shelter efforts locally with the Red Cross. Alumni and friends have responded generously to aid MSU students plunged into financial difficulty by the loss of family jobs and resources. A Student Relief Fund created by the Student Association has attracted commitments of $500,000 from private sources and will help to ensure that no student will have to leave MSU this fall due to hurricane-related financial woes.

A “Bulldogs in Response” task force chaired by First Lady Pat Lee organized activities ranging from personal phone calls to students from impacted areas to weekend expeditions to the coast staffed by MSU medical, police, counseling personnel, and other professionals. The MSU volunteer presence on the Coast and in inland communities affected by the storm will expand throughout the fall as the recovery effort proceeds. Initial responses from units throughout the university were numerous and varied as MSU brought its expertise to bear on the catastrophe. A few examples among many: The GeoResources Institute worked with the Coast Guard to identify precise geographic locations that guided helicopters to stranded survivors, and produced hundreds of maps in the days following the hurricane. The Extension Service, Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and College of Veterinary Medicine provided feed, medical supplies, and other support to livestock and poultry producers. The college helped staff rescue centers in Jackson and Hattiesburg, and provided medical supplies and equipment. The Bagley College of Engineering accommodated engineering faculty from Tulane University, offering research and office space. At least three scholars from New Orleans area universities found a temporary home at MSU’s Social Science Research Center. The Early Childhood Institute in the College of Education began a nationwide solicitation for age-specific educational materials that will be distributed this fall as part of a campaign for “Hurricane Relief: Embrace Mississippi Children.” The immediate response of the Bulldog family was characterized by the generosity and concern we would expect from The People’s University, yet the greater challenges of relief and recovery may lie ahead. We are committed to applying the resources and expertise of the university for as long as it takes to help Mississippi overcome the tragedy of Katrina.

J. CHARLES LEE, PRESIDENT


Mississippi State Fall 2005 | Volume 81 | Number 3 USPS 354-520

President J. Charles Lee

features ’A marathon need’ | page 2 The needs seemed overwhelming. Television images provided an unremitting sense

Vice President for External Affairs

of devastation, but MSU volunteers traveling to the Gulf Coast in the wake of

Dennis A. Prescott

Hurricane Katrina said no photos could convey the reality.

Associate Vice President for External Affairs and Alumni Association Executive Director

Labor of love | page 10

Jimmy W. Abraham (’75)

After working for years in the corporate world, Tim Lacy has returned to his alma mater as director of campus landscape to begin what he calls a “labor of love.”

Mississippi State Alumnus is published three times a year by the Office of University Relations and the Mississippi State University Alumni Association at Mississippi State, Miss. Send address changes to Alumni Director, P.O. Box AA, Mississippi State, MS 39762-5526; telephone 662-325-7000; or e-mail fcarr@alumni.msstate.edu.

Three soliders | page 14 Three MSU students have spent months recuperating from debilitating injuries they received in Iraq. Each expresses plans for returning to campus and continuing their education just as soon as possible.

Five million steps to Katahdin | page 18 Last spring, MSU student Alan Lovett undertook an incredible journey—on foot—

Editorial offices:

from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Along the way, he

102 George Hall, P.O. Box 5325, Mississippi State, MS 39762-5325. Telephone 662-325-3442; fax, 662-325-7455; e-mail, snowa@ur.msstate.edu www.msstate.edu

found something.

On the cover: Lynn Reinschmiedt, associate dean and professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, assists in cleanup after Hurricane Katrina. Photo by Russ Houston.

This page: Hikers are silhouetted at dusk on the Appalachian Trail.

Photo by Alan Lovett.

Editor Allen Snow (’76)

Associate Editor Kay Fike Jones

Designers Becky Smith Erin Norwood (’98)

Photographers Russ Houston (’85) Megan Bean

Mississippi State University Alumni Association National Officers Joe L. Bryan (’63), national president; Betty L. Black (’74), national first vice president; David W. Jones (’81), national second vice president; Steve Taylor (’77), national treasurer; Keith Winfield (’70), immediate former national president.

Campus news 23 | Sports talk 32 | Alumni news 35 | Foundation news 42 | Class news 47 | In memoriam 50


O New Orleans residents Janet McCoy (left) and her sister Erra were among more than 140 who found temporary refuge in the university’s Herbert Hall.

On the Sunday morning that Hurricane Katrina raged toward the Gulf Coast, New Orleans resident Janet McCoy left her adopted city with her husband, her brother, her sister, and three changes of clothes. They drove north to Hattiesburg, chased by the storm. After spending one night there, they were told there were no available hotel rooms, so they drove farther north to Columbus. There, they heard of an opportunity to be housed in a former residence hall at Mississippi State. Just over two weeks after New Orleans was devastated by winds and water, McCoy and her sister sat in MSU’s Herbert Hall guest housing and recounted their losses. “My house is completely gone, and we’ve been told that we may not be able to return to Orleans Parish until sometime next year,” said Janet, who is caretaker for the quiet Erra at her side. An employee of J.P. Morgan Chase, McCoy has a job that will allow her to temporarily relocate to Dallas/Ft. Worth. Her sister, who has medical problems related to a near-fatal car accident 15 years ago, will remain in the Starkville area with their brother. He’s found local employment. Their family members are among 140 who found temporary housing, as well as community, solace, and assistance from Mississippi State following one of the worst natural disasters in the nation’s history. Their story is replicated around Mississippi. “We’ve typically housed evacuees for several days during past hurricane threats,” said Shay McDonnall, assistant director for guest housing, who coordinated Katrina evacuee housing for the Department of Housing and Residence Life. Weeks after Katrina, guests still were in Herbert, although beginning to filter out and find longer-term housing in other locations. While at Mississippi State, those displaced by Hurricane Katrina stayed free of charge, with meals provided by the local Red Cross, free access provided by MSU to the Sanderson Center for exercise and recreation, and a lot of support from around the campus and community, McDonnall said. “There’s been a tremendous response,” she said, pointing to a library of games, videos, and other entertainment in the Herbert Hall lobby.

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Around the spacious lobby in the converted residence hall, there are signs inviting guests to church dinners and campus cultural events, as well as directing them to supplies of laundry detergent and personal care items. McDonnall knows individuals by name and tells the story of twins, who after living only houses apart for their entire adult lives, left just the day before for their first significant separation in nearly 50 years. “They cried,” she said. She recounts the story of three generations of a Waveland family who had just returned from their first post-Katrina trip to the Gulf coast. “They didn’t locate a single salvageable item in any of the family’s three homes,” McDonnall said. “They left yesterday with everything they owned in one car.” From providing shelter for evacuees to applying satellite technology that helped locate those who stayed behind, the Mississippi State family has responded to Katrina’s destruction with human, financial, and technical resources for those in need. Personnel from the GeoResources Institute and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center assisted the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency with mapping and with the use of Global Positioning System equipment during search and recovery operations. [see accompanying story] “The first task assigned to the MSU georesources personnel was working with the Coast Guard in search and rescue,” said GeoResources Institute director David Shaw. “Using geocoding techniques in Geographical Information Systems, our staff members were able to direct helicopter pilots to specific latitude and longitude locations to rescue stranded survivors. This was done at a time when life and death was measured in minutes.” The university’s georesources personnel also produced hundreds of maps in the days following the hurricane as part of the recovery effort. They are credited with helping save hundreds of lives. By providing free Internet access through its extensive computer network, the Extension Service is credited with helping many of those displaced by the storm seek and find family members.

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Bulldogs respond “This is what a land-grant university does,” said President Charles Lee, who quickly mobilized a task force, “Bulldogs in Response,” to focus and direct MSU’s humanitarian relief efforts. Chaired by First Lady Pat Lee, the cross-campus group immediately organized an effort to contact MSU students affected by the disaster and began a series of weekly trips to the Gulf Coast region, initially with teams of volunteers and specialized staff members. Included were medical and mental health personnel, engineers, landscape architects, police officers, and others. The needs seemed overwhelming. Television images provided an unremitting sense of devastation, but those traveling to the area said no photos could convey the reality. “You just don’t know where to begin,” said Thomas Bourgeois, assistant dean of students and a New Orleans native who attended high school in Biloxi. You begin, the group decided, by rolling up your sleeves and doing one small thing at a time. “We were reminded of the fable of the starfish,” Bourgeois said. Credited to noted scientist Loren Eisley, the story recounts the actions of one young man who walks down miles of beach littered with starfish, throwing those he touches back into the sea to save them from death. A passerby tells him he can’t possibly make a difference. “It made a difference to that one,” the young man says, tossing a lone starfish into the water. Thomas Bourgeois says his family, lifelong residents of New Orleans, won’t return. A member of the first “Bulldogs in Response” relief trip designed to assess area needs, he ironically found his work group at Mercy Cross High School in Biloxi, where some years earlier he had graduated. The school was so heavily damaged that it will have to be rebuilt, he said. The structural team began the morning by assessing the building and ensuring appropriate supplies were on hand. They worked side by side with approximately 40 soldiers from the Mexican Army, none of whom spoke English.


Left: Staff members load water and other supplies for the first “Bulldogs in Response” relief trip to the Gulf Coast in the week following Hurricane Katrina. Below: MSU President Charles Lee presented team leader Mike White, dean of students, a “Bulldogs in Response” T-shirt to identify team members.

Above: Thomas Bourgeois (right), assistant dean of students, worked side by side with soldiers from the Mexican Army, who assisted with repairs at Biloxi’s Mercy Cross High School.


“It’s the first time since 1846 that Mexican troops have been active on U.S. soil,” said Bourgeois. After a day of intense labor, the group managed to shore up a 40-foot wall that had been leaning at a 45degree angle. “We helped save the gym,” Bourgeois said, simply. For him, it meant one starfish was back in place. “Bulldogs in Response” has continued its work on the Gulf Coast, also assisting Gulf Coast university employees who lost their homes, and, in response to a particular need, providing expertise to the Naval Retirement Home with recovery of artifacts. The task force also organized a campus blood drive and continues to support a variety of other MSU initiatives, including a Student Relief Fund organized by the Student Association to provide short-term support for MSU students from the Gulf Coast; and an Employee Relief Fund headed by the Professional and Support Staff Advisory Council. The former has nearly $500,000 in commitments from alumni and friends to help keep MSU students in school, said Jon David Cole, SA president. “Our MSU family has shown they care,” he said. Calling on institutional strengths Both in the immediate aftermath of Katrina and in the many weeks following, academic departments, colleges and research centers responded by providing their expertise where needed. In the Starkville community, students and faculty members from the College of Business and Industry assisted evacuees with the FEMA paperwork that would

“I’m comparing this to a marathon race. You have to stop and replenish yourself and be in this for the long run. There are marathon needs resulting from Hurricane Katrina.” ~ Dr. Beatrice Tatem Right: Students whose families were victims of the deadly storm embraced during a campus prayer vigil.

get them started on the road to recovery. Josh Harris, an MBA student from Jackson County on the Gulf Coast, volunteered his time, and after an afternoon of FEMA-led training, worked with a number of families to ensure forms were correctly completed. His family was lucky, he said. “We lost some tiles on the roof of our house, but there was no significant damage.” By contrast, the families he assisted often had lost everything. “I gained a better understanding of what people go through,” he said. “You could feel their emotion.” The art department, which had planned a fall exhibition featuring the works of Ocean Springs artist Walter Anderson, provided expertise to the Anderson family following the destruction of much of the family compound. Works exhibited at MSU already had been curated, and thus, saved for future generations. “These are some of Anderson’s best pieces,” said MSU art professor Brent Funderburk, an Anderson expert. Mississippi State has deployed a wide range of expertise and assistance in Mississippi, including that from the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in providing feed, medical supplies and other support to livestock and poultry producers until normal supply services were re-established. In addition to providing emergency care for animals around the state, the veterinary college also played a key role in helping save 26 bush babies—small primates— that were part of a research program at the hard-hit University of Southern Mississippi. The animals were


transported to Starkville, where they stayed at university facilities until power was restored in Hattiesburg. “Because of the university’s outreach mission and its strengths in areas such as engineering, architecture, agriculture, forestry, and social sciences, Mississippi State will be an integral part of helping the state recover as it moves into the future,” Lee said. Continuing needs Beatrice Tatem, a “Bulldogs in Response” task force member and director of the university’s Counseling Center, believes the emotional issues resulting from Katrina will continue long into the future. Part of the first MSU team that traveled to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Tatem says she was struck by the needs of survivors and of emergency responders. “I’m comparing this to a marathon race,” she said. “You have to stop and replenish yourself and be in this for the long run. There are marathon needs resulting from Hurricane Katrina.” A volunteer counselor for evacuees at the local Red Cross shelter and at Herbert Hall, Tatem said she has discovered people need to talk about the loss, grief and fear they feel. They also have a need to talk about changes in routine—or lack of routine—caused by the devastation and ways they can regain a sense of order. She’s found that people feel the loss of community keenly. “Friends, shops, landmarks are no longer there,” she said. “I think long-term issues will be depression, anxiety and perhaps a sense of panic.”

Those affected also feel the loss of a community of support, she added. “Many have united due to their shared loss.” To help respond, the Counseling Center has extended its outreach to students, faculty and staff affected by the disaster, as well as providing volunteer counseling locally. The Social Science Research Center, meanwhile, is conducting a Web-based survey of university students to measure stress and mental health issues resulting from the disaster and the kinds of resources they say are most helpful. It will help the university plan disaster response now and in the future. The SSRC also has completed a survey of 47 Mississippi emergency shelters to provide timely information on shelter conditions and needs, especially relating to children. The resulting research also will provide continuing guidance about child and family service systems after a natural disaster. For those whose homes, families, and neighborhoods are forever changed, the help they’ve received from Mississippi State has made all the difference. “Mississippi has made me feel so at home,” said Herbert Hall guest Janet McCoy of New Orleans. “You’re the most gracious people I’ve ever met, and we can’t thank you enough.”

Bob Ratliff of Agricultural Communications contributed to this story. For more information about MSU relief efforts, see www.msstate.edu/web/katrina/response.

Advice from MSU’s Counseling Center for Katrina survivors • Talk about the experience in groups, especially with other Katrina survivors • Know when you’re in emotional overload and take a break. • Understand that you’ll have an array of emotions. • Limit the time children watch hurricane coverage on television. • Take care of your physical needs with adequate rest and regular meals. • Ask for professional counseling if you need it. A Fall 2005

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Mississippi State scientists used their aerial imagery and mapping skills to help rescue hundreds of stranded survivors of Hurricane Katrina and are continuing to provide valuable assistance in the ongoing disaster recovery effort. Thirteen faculty, researchers and graduate students from the university’s GeoResources Institute applied their expertise in geographic information and global positioning systems to help U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilots find and pluck nearly 300 storm victims from danger at scattered locations along the devastated Mississippi Gulf Coast. “There was an immediate need for geocoding—taking street addresses and turning them into map coordinates,” said GRI director David Shaw. “Basically, there were no streets left, so the Coast Guard used GPS units to guide their choppers to people trapped in the floodwaters.” Even before Katrina, the campus-based institute was a “world leader in spatial technologies and resource management,” observed MSU research vice president Colin Scanes. Rich Minnis, a GRI team leader and spatial technologies expert at MSU’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center, said at least “289 folks up and down the Mississippi Coast” were rescued as a direct result of the geocoding effort. In the days after the hurricane hit Aug. 29, the MSU volunteers worked 12-hour shifts around the clock at the Emergency Operations Center in Jackson, he added. Minnis said GIS experts from the Park Ridge, Ill.-based Urban and Regional Information Systems Association’s GISCorps, Mississippi Automated Resource Information System, and sister institutions University of Mississippi and Delta State University also participated in the MSUled mapping effort.

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“This was all done in real time where life and death were measured in minutes,” said another member of the MSU team, GRI research associate Louis Wasson. “One call came in that a man at a specific street address was hemorrhaging. The address was geocoded, the man was picked up and taken to a hospital, and his life was saved. “Another call came in from a 74-year-old woman who had walked to a power station on the coast,” added Wasson. “The power station had been mapped and the chopper pilot, using that map, navigated to the station to pick up the woman.” The MSU team’s Jackson operations continue to be housed in a mobile education unit owned by the State Institutions of Higher Learning and located at the EOC’s headquarters on Riverside Drive. The bus-like unit’s 1015 computer work stations gather remote sensing imagery from sophisticated aerial and satellite systems and turn that into advanced maps. “Maps are worth more than gold on the coast,” said Wasson. “You need a picture of what’s going on and maps provide that visual perspective at a moment in time. The military needs detailed street maps for their missions, the media need maps, and maps have been stapled to poles to inform people where to go for aid and relief.” The GRI team produced 186 maps on their first day of operation immediately after the Aug. 29 storm came ashore. That number was upped to a total to 300 by the following day. As soon as travel to the coast was possible, team members moved to EOC field sites in Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties, as well as the neighboring counties immediately to the north, to provide front-line help.


GeoResources associates, from left, Wade Givens, Rita Jackson, and Louis Wasson compile maps to aid in rescue efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

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Working on self-contained laptop computers hooked to large-format printers, Minnis said the field teams now “easily are turning out 1,000 maps a day.” “We are helping with disaster response and disaster relief planning by providing detailed road maps, locating power lines that have been downed by limbs, assessing damage to houses, etc.,” added a sleepy Minnis during a rest from a 22-hour shift. The assistant research professor of wildlife and fisheries said maps are being utilized by a wide variety of disaster response entities that include the Coast Guard and fire and rescue departments from as far away as New York and California, as well as the U.S. Marines, Navy Seabees and Army National Guard. “We will be compiling map books for the three coastal counties for use in assessing housing damage,” said Wade Givens, another team leader and GRI research associate. “Where available, these books will include imagery of streets, building footprints and parcels of land labeled with owner names. “We have shown damage assessment teams that by using the imagery and parcel data, they can determine

which houses are concrete slabs,” Givens added. “That can save a lot of man-hours in the field.” Other members of the MSU team include GRI research associates Rita Jackson, Joby Prince, Ryan Wersal and Josh Cheshier; geosciences department graduate students John Gilreath, Chitra Prabhu and Ravi Sadasivuni; wildlife and fisheries professor Wes Burger; wildlife and fisheries postdoctoral associate Mark Smith; and Charlie Hill, an undergraduate student in the department of electrical and computer engineering. The GRI brings together faculty from 22 departments within six colleges/units at MSU. An affiliate of the university’s ERC (formerly known as the Engineering Research Center), the institute collaborates with many community colleges and focuses on agriculture, water resources, state and local government, and economic development. “This was a fantastic cooperative effort from across the university,” said Shaw. “Faculty, staff and students from wildlife and fisheries, plant and soil sciences, geosciences, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Agriculture Research Service all provided support.”

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Tim Lacy

Chapel of Memories

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After working for years in the corporate world, Tim Lacy returned to his alma mater in March to begin what he calls a “labor of love.”

By that, Mississippi State’s new director of campus landscape refers to a metaphorical garden cart full of projects that range from the modernization of aging irrigation systems to the much-needed addition of period lighting to increased fertilization of the greenery to, well just about everything else. Lacy said he wants Mississippi’s largest university to “look loved like it did when Charley Scoggins (the now-retired longtime campus landscape director and Lacy’s mentor) was here.”

“Because of years of budget cuts,” he continued, “the university’s landscape has been neglected. When I was here before (1985-92), we had 11 ornamental employees alone; now we have three and the campus acreage has increased by about a third from what it was. “With a total of 32 full-time employees—and a seasonal crew of temporary workers—we are maintaining twice the area with half the people and less than half the funding of the average Southern university,” he said. Lacy said President Charles Lee and Ray Hayes, vice president for finance and administration, earlier decided that “enough was enough” and hired him to return the campus landscape to its former glory. “It’s a challenge, but President Lee and Ray have been very supportive,” Lacy said.

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Historic District lighting

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The 1978 MSU ornamental horticulture graduate is no stranger to challenges. During his earlier campus tenure as both a horticulturist and turfgrass instructor, Lacy also served as superintendent of the MSU Golf Course. Under his watch, the one-time nine-hole, no-challenge course was expanded to become the Golf Digest-recommended par-72 links that now cover nearly 7,000 yards. The modern course has earned numerous accolades, including the national golf magazine’s glowing accolade as the “best college course in the South.” After the expansion of the MSU course, Lacy joined Pursell Technologies Inc. of Sylacauga, Ala., in 1992. As the company’s director of sales and marketing, he planned and implemented the launch of POLYON fertilizer, now a national market leader. His biggest early challenge came in 1999, however, when he was named director of golf and grounds maintenance for FarmLinks, a Pursell division. Lacy helped construct Pursell Farms, a 3,500-acre development near Birmingham as a professional quality research and demonstration golf course. It was from this position that he retired earlier this year after being offered the MSU job.

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Calling MSU “the last stop in his career,” Lacy has big plans for both the campus infrastructure and making green plants green again. Upon taking over in the spring, he discovered that the entire campus hadn’t been fertilized in about a decade. “There just wasn’t the money for it, so I made some calls and got a fertilizer company to donate their product this year,” he said. He also coaxed the donation of a bed edger from another firm. With the feeding of the ornamentals and grasses out of the way, Lacy said his crews now are concentrating on a variety of urgent projects. They include the reduction of overgrown vegetation, transformation of the former Five Points/“Malfunction Junction” intersection into an inviting green space, pressure washing of main campus hardscapes, and enhancement of trash containers. As part of its effort to make the campus more pedestrian-friendly, landscape crews recently completed an outdoor cafe addition to the State Fountain Bakery. Also, a new master plan for tree planting soon will provide more shade for strollers around the 127-year-old institution’s historic Drill Field.


Eckie’s Pond

MSU Golf Course/Russ Houston

Lacy said his long-range dream is to have the entire central campus designated a historic district with period lighting and guided tours of the older buildings. “I would love to find people who lived here when they were younger and use them as tour guides for, say, spring tours of the historic buildings,” he explained. But, for now, there are those “immediate” projects. “All entrance roads to campus need attention,” Lacy said. Frowning at what he’s about to say, he added: “You can get here without knowing you’re on campus.” There also are plans to redo the walkways on the Drill Field by using more brick than concrete, and Stephen D. Lee’s bust at the center will get a facelift to tie in with the new flagpole area. Campus landscape also is assisting with the volunteer Eckie’s Pond project. “Many different university departments have pitched in to revive Eckie’s,” Lacy proudly observed. “Our department is laying sod, planting trees and the forestry department has added some picnic tables. We’re now looking for donors for the plants around the pond and we hope to get some master gardeners involved in the project.”

Lantana on Drill Field

Lacy also is seeking industry donors for other campus projects. In terms of completed projects, an 18-hole flying disc golf course recently was built entirely by student landscape workers under the direction of Perry Sellers, campus landscape construction superintendent. Beginning near Herbert Hall and winding through woods to the east, the Bulldog Disc Golf Park enables players to throw flying discs toward elevated targets that serve as “holes.” Lacy is quick to point out how pivotal a role the student workers play in the improvement of Starkville campus landscapes. “Eighty percent of our intensive landscape maintenance takes place March-October, so we rely on our temporary workers,” he said. “Our student work force is a great group and we couldn’t do it without them. In fact, except for the supervisors, our athletic field crew and the MSU Golf Course workers all are students.” In spite of the budgetary and related challenges he’s encountering right now, Lacy genuinely seems, as he said, “very excited to be back at MSU. “As I mentioned, this is my last stop and I want this place to look loved.”

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Far right: University officials recently visited with two wounded Bulldogs and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. From left are Larry ('70) and Carolyn ('72) Brooks and their son William, MSU President Charles Lee, Aaron and Kelly Rice, and MSU Dean of Students Mike White. Right: White later visited with wounded student T.C. Rollins.


Photo provided by Mike White

Three Mississippi State students are recuperating from serious injuries they received in Iraq, and all plan to return to campus to continue their education. William Brooks was steering his Humvee along a gritty, sand-blown stretch of roadway 15 miles south of Baghdad when the Army vehicle suddenly triggered a hidden explosive device. Bam! In the blink of an eye, the young soldier’s life was forever altered. He lost both legs, above the knees. “We veered off the road and hit an IED (improvised explosive device) buried beneath the ground,” Brooks explained. “I have no recollection of the impact. I was out of it for a week and a half.” The booby trap that spelled disaster for the 23-yearold Mississippi Army National Guardsman from Southaven was tripped during a routine convoy escort mission along San Juan Road in war-torn Iraq last March

29—just 20 days after his six-year term of enlistment with the 155th Brigade Combat Team was supposed to have expired. Another Mississippian, Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron Rice of Sumrall, was driving a Humvee during a combat mission in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province March 18 when his vehicle struck a land mine. The explosion left a heap of twisted metal and mangled body parts entwined along the desert highway west of the Euphrates River. “I looked down and my left leg, below my knee, was pointing back up at me,” said the 21-year-old reservist with Jackson-based Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment. “My boot was lying in my lap.” A 2002 graduate of Oak Grove High School, Rice lost his leg below the knee. Thomas C. “T.C.” Rollins was manning a machine gun from his perch atop another Humvee on a convoy security run between the Iraqi cities of Falujah and Ramadi Feb. 9 when the speeding vehicle swerved onto a gravel road, fishtailed and flipped one and a half times, sending the Marine reservist and some of his fellow soldiers airborne.

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“I was thrown about 15 feet,” said the 21-year-old Columbus native, who suffered a leg wound from the body-piercing shell of a companion’s bouncing M-16 assault rifle, which discharged upon impact. The bullet severed an artery as it entered the back of Rollins’s left thigh, creating a gaping hole as it exited the front part of his leg and leaving a fragment of shattered bone protruding from the wound. His right lung also collapsed and his pelvis was broken in three places as the vehicle landed upside down. “I’m pretty lucky to be alive,” said the 2002 New Hope High School graduate and member of Bessemer, Ala.-based Lima Company, 4th Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment. All three soldiers have spent the past several months recuperating from their debilitating injuries, and undergoing inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative treatment— Brooks and Rice at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and Rollins at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The three Purple Heart recipients were students at Mississippi State University before their studies were interrupted by war. Each expressed plans for returning to the Starkville campus and continuing their education just as soon as possible. MSU President Charles Lee and Dean of Students Mike White visited Brooks and Rice at the Walter Reed center

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June 13. White said “approximately 130 MSU students” have been called to active military service since the spring 2003 invasion of Iraq. “The entire Bulldog family is proud of our many students, alumni and staff who are serving in the armed forces, and we are grateful for the sacrifices that all of them have made,” Lee said following the Walter Reed visit. “We are particularly moved by the courage and optimism demonstrated by those who have been seriously injured in the line of duty,” the president added. “The hopes and prayers of the university community are for their speedy recovery and for the safe return of all the men and women who remain in harm’s way.” Brooks joined a New Albany military police detachment of the Tupelo-based 155th at age 17, soon after graduating from Southaven High School, because, “I have a lot of pride in my country and I just wanted to do something special. I wanted to be a part of something—make a difference.” An earlier tragedy hit the Brooks family in the late fall of 2003 when William’s dad, Larry Brooks, a 1970 MSU alum, was critically injured in an automobile accident. Larry’s wife, Carolyn, a 1972 MSU graduate and former high school algebra teacher, became her husband’s primary care-giver. William dropped out of school to help take care of the family, along with brother John, during their dad’s slow recovery.


“William had hoped to go back to school in the spring of 2004, but then his unit was activated and that put everything on hold,” said Carolyn. “He was deployed with his unit in early January 2005.” As an MP, Specialist Brooks guarded and processed enemy prisoners during his first months in Iraq. He was performing a convoy escort mission out of the Kalsu forward operating base, a mission he had performed “many times before,” when he was hit. Three other soldiers blown from the Humvee were not as seriously injured as William. “I woke up hallucinating,” he recalled. “I didn’t know what was going on. I was in a state of shock and disbelief. I knew I couldn’t feel my legs and I kept asking why. I was doped up on pain medication. I lost both legs above the knees.” After the amputations and surgeries for a broken pelvis, Brooks has spent months in painful rehabilitation. He has been fitted with a prosthetic for his right leg, but was waiting for his broken pelvis to heal completely before using a prosthetic for his left leg. “I can walk, but it takes a lot out of me,” he said during a recent trip home. Rice’s mobile assault platoon was on its way to link up with another infantry unit when the Marines decided to leave the road and cut across desert sand. As they approached their destination at a forward operating base, Rice’s Humvee hit a land mine and the unit came under a simultaneous mortar attack. Stunned by the blast but still conscious, Rice realized his left leg was “hanging on by tissue” and his right leg was pinned in the wreckage. Three of his buddies crawled underneath the Humvee, pulled him out and assisted in his medical evacuation. “The first thing I did was reach in my flak jacket and pull out a picture of me and my wife (Kelly),” he said. “I told my buddies not to worry about me—that I was lucky. I was going home to see my wife.” Recently, he said he learned only six members of his original 20-member platoon have escaped death or injury since he was separated from the unit. After field treatment, Rice was transported to U.S. medical facilities in Germany, where his leg was amputated, and then flown back to the states. He was treated initially at the Bethesda facility and then at Walter Reed, which specializes in prosthetics. “I was in the intensive care unit for four days after getting back to the U.S.,” he said. “I was hallucinating

because of the drugs in my system. I thought people in my hospital room were trying to kill me. I thought my bed was a Humvee.” Now on the road to recovery with the aid of a prosthetic, Rice is walking, and is even doing some mountain biking for exercise and fun when he gets the opportunity. He and Kelly hope to re-enroll for 2006 spring classes at Mississippi State, where Aaron is a Stennis Scholar majoring in political science and Kelly enjoyed a perfect 4.0 gradepoint average before dropping out to help take care of her husband. Aaron has a twin brother, Ryan, who also joined the Marine Corps about the time Aaron was deploying to Iraq, and three sisters. Their parents, Deborah and Charles “Randy” Rice, live in Sumrall, located east of Hattiesburg. Looking up from the wreckage of his overturned Humvee, T.C. Rollins thought the vehicle was going to roll over and crush him. With his adrenaline pumping full steam, however, he managed to use one of his legs to push himself out of danger. Then, a Navy corpsman (medic) came to his rescue, got him medically stabilized and evacuated. Back in the states, at Bethesda, the young Marine estimates he has undergone “more than 20 surgeries” on his bullet-shattered leg, broken pelvis and injured areas of his chest. Pins were inserted into his leg to hold the thigh bone in place, an artery has been reconnected, a screw has been placed in his back to stabilize his pelvis, muscle has been removed for skin grafts, and one knee will not bend because of torn ligaments. “More surgeries lie down the road,” said Rollins, who gets around on crutches but is encouraged because, “I bought a truck and I can drive it now.” A junior majoring in banking and finance, T.C. hopes to return to fulltime studies at Mississippi State next spring. His girlfriend, Jocelyn Gong of Greenwood, is a senior biology major at MSU. T.C.’s father, Tommy Rollins, lives in Mathiston and his mother, Millie Kemp, resides in Starkville. Despite his bad luck on the battlefield, Rollins plans to stay in the Marine Corps. “I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done, except maybe tell the driver of that Humvee to slow down before making the turn,” Rollins said. “I’m very supportive of the war. I’d rather go and fight terrorists in Iraq than have my girlfriend and my mom dodging bombs here in the United States.”

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Last spring, student Alan Lovett undertook an incredible journey —on foot—from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Along the way, he found something. By Alan Lovett Photos provided by author


Lovett on the top of Mt. Katahdin, Maine

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In 1937, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail was established as America’s longest hiking trail. Though it has been re-routed and washed away over the years, the Appalachian Trail today is still a simple hiking trail stretching 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine, through the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. The trail’s unofficial motto is that it is “a footpath for those who seek fellowship with the wilderness.” Every year more and more people attempt to thruhike or hike the trail in its entirety; it takes a very long time, and these thru-hikers are essentially cut off from civilization for much of the time. Given the opportunity, however, few endeavors are more rewarding. On Feb. 28, 2005, I began this journey to which the rest of my life’s achievements will forever be compared. On that day, I knew nothing of what would take place during the four and a half months that followed, in which time I would actually backpack from Georgia to Maine, often hiking alone and relying only on what I could carry on my back to keep me alive. After completing the trail on July 12, and coming back home to Mississippi, I was able to relay stories and recall events that made my life so incredible for what now seems all too brief a time; still, even my own recollection of the trail falls short of capturing its true quality, simply because my account could never completely convey the experience; however, that does not mean it is not worth telling.

Initially, one of the things that made this trip so exceptional to me was that it was perhaps the closest thing that I had to a “lifelong dream.” When I was 12 years old, I set foot on the Appalachian Trail for the first time at its southern terminus, Springer Mountain, Ga. After that trip, off and on for the next seven years, I thought of what it would be like to thru-hike the granddaddy of all trails. The only thing holding me back was my own inhibition and a few minor details. With my outlook on this new undertaking often switching between idealistic confidence and nervous doubt, I finally decided to begin my thru-hike in the spring of 2005. Eventually, with a lot of help from Dr. Nancy McCarley, director of the University Honors Program, and Dr. Trey Hoyt of the Department of Kinesiology, I made arrangements to receive college credit through directed individual studies from both departments here at MSU. After all the other preparations, when I set foot on Springer Mountain again—this time with intentions of walking to Maine—I was absolutely terrified. Despite my own self-assurance, the support of friends and family, and even the kind words from complete strangers who knew about my trip, I knew that hiking the trail would be exceptionally hard, and I was scared to death that I wouldn’t have what it took to finish. I was right on the first count: the trail was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. The physical task alone was daunting: I walked through 14 states, often hiking a

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marathon while climbing and descending thousands of feet with as much as 55 pounds in my backpack—every single day for 135 days. It was the mental aspect, however, that proved to be much more challenging, as is the case with anything that’s difficult. Sometimes it was honestly a struggle just to stay sane. I couldn’t have imagined before the trail what it’s like to go a couple of weeks without having a conversation with another human being, how genuinely desperate I would become when I ran out of food for a few days, or how depressing it is to go a week and a half without seeing the sunshine and still having to hike in the rain every day. These events, while definitely not always enjoyable, were part of what gave the trail much of its allure. That isn’t to say, though, that the Appalachian Trail constantly offers only struggles. I was rendered speechless by how beautiful parts of the trail were. There’s nothing like spending an hour or two climbing up a 3,000-foot incline, to be so exhausted at the end of it and 20

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then to break above treeline for the first time and look out and up at all of God’s green earth. It’s an awe-inspiring experience to be on top of a mountain and see only trees, mountains, lakes, and clouds—no sign that people have ever set foot within 100 miles of you. There was a satisfaction in looking at the horizon in either direction, to the south where I’d been and to the north where I was going. I’m far too ineloquent to express fully how alive I was while on the trail. Somewhere between crossing a flooded river with my backpack over my head, running across a moose and her baby in a meadow, hiking above treeline in a lightning storm, walking in hurricane force winds while it was snowing, or swimming in a remote glacial lake—somewhere in all this, I realized that by putting one foot in front of the other, I had finally rid myself of all the unessential parts of living. I was experiencing life the way it was intended to be. When I climbed the final mountain of the trail on July 12, 2005, it was the instant culmination of every


Opposite page: Lovett, cliffside in Maine. Above left: Lovett, looking at Franconia Ridge, New Hampshire. Above right: Lovett and two other thru-hikers in New Hampshire.

waking moment in my life for the previous four and a half months. I felt I’d taken a lifetime of experiences and squeezed them into that short time, and as I ascended Mount Katahdin, my mind wandered over an experience that left me with an incredible sadness because it was coming to an end. If I took only one thing away from the entire experience, it would be my firm belief that even the most difficult accomplishment is attainable as long as I pursue it with the same determination that has given people the ability to do amazing things, from summiting Everest, battling back from cancer to win seven Tour de France races—I guess even to hiking the Appalachian Trail. There were times that almost pushed me over the line, when I would have given anything to be able to sit on a couch with my friends, drinking sweet tea and watching a baseball game, not having to hike 20-someodd miles that day, and the next, and the next. But I knew that if I ever actually quit, I would never have been able to forgive myself. I had aspirations of completing something that, although difficult, was more rewarding than any other accomplishment in my short life. If I had walked away from that, not only would I have been ashamed to realize that a dream proved beyond my ability, but I would have lost a little faith in the human ability to persevere.

Excerpts from Alan Lovett’s journal: February 28, 2005, Georgia Well, this is it. I can’t believe I’m actually here. I can’t keep my hand out of my sleeping bag long enough to write much, its freezing cold.… Well, I guess here goes nothing. March 1, 2005, Georgia All I’ve thought about for two days straight is how huge an undertaking this is. It scares me to death…that the AT is a measuring stick that I may not be able to meet.… It helps to think about all the extraordinary things that other people have done…some other people’s accomplishments make walking the AT for 5 months seem like no big deal. March 18, 2005, Tennessee I went to the doctor this morning—he told me that I have tendonitis in my right knee, and I need to come off the trail for a while.… I’m going to keep walking though. April 1, 2005, Virginia I’ve been thinking a lot about what it would be like to wake up every morning and not have to walk all day. I’ve been on the trail for a month, and it seems so long; but I’ve still got four more to go.… No matter what though, I’m not quitting.

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April 5, 2005, Virginia Today was incredible.… a few minutes into hiking we came across a herd of wild ponies… they came right up to us and wouldn’t stop licking us because of the salt on our skin… The Virginia highlands are beautiful too; it almost reminds me of hiking out west. Huge open fields looking out onto massive rock outcroppings, and just constant views of the mountains… it’s not about the miles, its all about the smiles. May 20, 2005, Pennsylvania … later on down the road, how much would I give to relive any part of the trail, even if it’s just another day hiking in the rain. I try to keep that in mind, to be grateful for every single day that I’m out here and realize that while I want to be home sometimes, I’m here because this is what I chose to do with 5 months of my life—so I’d better cherish every day of it—the good and the bad, because some day I’ll be back home or at school wishing for nothing else than to be out here in the rain on the AT. June 15, 2005, Vermont Miserable day—it rained on us all day again. I haven’t seen the sun in a week, ever since we got into this state.… My boots haven’t been dry since Connecticut. I think the whole North East is one big mud puddle.… It’s raining even harder now, but hey, at least that means no bugs tonight. June 22, 2005, New Hampshire It’s getting close to July and its cold—In the 30s. That’s ridiculous! Despite the chilly weather, I love New Hampshire. The Whites are absolutely amazing—well beyond description. Two days ago we climbed Mt. Moosalauke; the climb was the hardest thing we’ve had in months, but once we got to the top it didn’t matter one bit. I tripped so many times because I couldn’t concentrate on my feet; I just kept looking around once we got above treeline… July 3, 2005, Maine Wow—today was awesome! Days like today make me not miss home at all. I saw a spectacular sunrise from my sleeping bag this morning, swam in a gorgeous lake, and saw maybe the best sunset of the trail from the top of Bigeleow Mountain. We’re sleeping out under the stars tonight at right under 4,000 feet—it’s probably going to get really chilly, but I don’t care. We’re going to cross 2,000 miles tomorrow morning! I can’t believe I walked 22

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here from Georgia, and it’s almost over. Days like today, though, make me sad to bring it to an end. July 13, 2005, Maine Yesterday, at 12:30 on July 12th, 2005, I climbed the last mountain of the Appalachian Trail. After 4 1/2 months of thinking day in and day out about Katahdin, standing on top of it might have been the most incredible experience of my life. There’s a sign at Katahdin’s Baxter Peak, marking the northern terminus of the AT—when I saw it for the first time through the clouds, it really was surreal.

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When I was 12 years old on my first trip to Springer down in Georgia, it was just another mountain that I couldn’t pronounce, then later on it became a dream, something I would do some day some time whenever I got around to chasing all those other adventurous fantasies…that dream became more of a realization when I started my thru-hike on February 28, and then Katahdin became an obsession, I thought about what it would be like to trace out the words ‘Katahdin’ in that old, wooden, weather beaten sign…. when I sat two feet from that sign and touched it for the first time, nothing could stop the tears…. I’m done. Now I guess I’ll come on back home. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” —Henry David Thoreau

Alan Lovett of Brandon is a junior at Mississippi State, majoring in mechanical engineering. His passions include hiking, kayaking, climbing, and biking. What’s next for the honors student? He has his eye on the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail that runs from Mexico to Canada, through California, Oregon, and Washington. More of Lovett’s journal and photos of his Appalachian Trail hike can be found at www.justlovett.com.


CAMPUS news Freshman increase drives enrollment above 16,100 A 12 percent increase in new freshmen pushed Mississippi State’s fall enrollment to 16,101, up by 167 students from last year. The 1,966 first-time freshmen outnumber last year’s newcomers by 213 and make up the largest entering class at MSU since 2000. About 77 percent of MSU’s new freshmen and 77 percent of all students are Mississippi residents. AfricanAmericans make up 19.5 percent of the total. The student body is 51.5 percent male and 48.5 percent female. This fall’s unduplicated headcount includes 14,395 students on the Starkville campus, 723 at the Meridian Campus, 923 enrolled exclusively in online courses, and 60 in graduate centers at Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis and at the Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg. MSU also saw growth in graduate and professional students, who total 3,546 this fall, while the number of international students continued a decline that began after 2001, dropping to 574 this year. Fall semester classes began on Aug. 18 and this fall’s preliminary headcount was calculated on Sept. 2, following the last day to drop a class without receiving a grade. Although regular registration for the semester ended on Aug. 24, the university continued to accept students who had planned to attend classes this fall at institutions disrupted by Hurricane Katrina until Sept. 9. The late-enrolling students displaced by the hurricane will not be included in official fall enrollment figures.

Engineering students design, build, fly UAV in competition MSU students are part of a new generation of undergraduate university engineers who are designing and building unmanned aerial vehicles capable of performing real-world missions. A 17-member team from the Bagley College of Engineering finished seventh among 14 national and international groups in the third annual student competition of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. The challenge was held earlier this year at the Navy’s Patuxent River/Webster Field Annex in St. Inigoes, Md.

UAV competitors, from left, Blake Sanders of Byram, Nathan Whitfield of Picayune and Ian Broussard of Carencro, La., show off the unmanned aerial vehicle they and 14 other Mississippi State engineering students designed, built and flew in recent international competition.

$2.1 million software gift will enhance research A Mississippi State geosciences instructor is receiving cutting-edge computer software and technical support worth more than $2 million to help sharpen student research skills and greatly enhance the study of the state’s existing petroleum resources. Jonathan Harris of the geosciences department said Seismic Micro-Technology Inc. of Houston, Texas, is providing

Kingdom Suite of Geophysical Data Processing software and technical support valued at $2.1 million. He said the software will be used to teach modern geophysical interpretation to the next generation of geoscientists at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Harris also predicted it will enhance the marketable skills of MSU students “in their search for employment in the 21st century energy industry.” A Fall 2005

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CAMPUS news ‘Look, Ma, no hands!’ A Mississippi State mechanical engineering major has designed a “heads-up” scuba mask that could allow divers to keep their hands free while monitoring air supply and other life-supporting vital signs under water. Senior Harold S. “Tommy” Thompson’s high-tech proposal would integrate a computer into the mask, allowing divers to monitor a continuous display of vitals while keeping their hands free to accomplish underwater tasks. His design eliminates the need for currently used tethered consoles or wrist-mount displays. “The information that would be displayed in the viewing area of the mask includes remaining air pressure, depth, total dive time and remaining dive time at the current depth,” explained the 24-year-old entrepreneurial whiz from Decatur, Ala. Thompson’s project won first place and a $500 cash award in MSU’s 2005 Jack Hatcher Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition. He proposes marketing the product primarily to underwater professionals and technical divers through his own planned business, Thompson SCUBA Co., which is only a theoretical company at this point.

Survey ranks MSU No. 3 in online ‘best buys’ A national survey ranks Mississippi State third in the nation in “best buys” among accredited, online engineering degree programs. In a biennial survey released June 14, GetEducated.com, based in Essex Junction, Vt., ranked MSU behind only North Carolina State University and California State University (Dominguez Hills) for affordability. The survey considered 56 accredited distance-learning master’s degree programs in engineering and was based solely on tuition costs.

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Students to link subjects, classes in university learning communities For one group of incoming Mississippi State freshmen this fall, “learning” meant more than hitting the books, attending class and taking tests. The students also are living together and immersing themselves in the broad diversity of a university campus. In a new teaching approach being implemented by the Office of Academic Affairs, interested students—from freshmen through seniors—may enroll in 10 thematically linked “learning communities.” While not all will live in the same residence halls, all of the special “communities” will be based on interconnected content. Rich Raymond, head of MSU’s English department, is interim director of the MSU Learning Communities and a teacher for one of the program’s prototype courses. He expressed confidence that the learning communities’ concept will help encourage students to delve deeper, make connections and shift their idea of what it means to attend “class.” “This experience is designed to foster interactive learning,” Raymond said. “It takes the traditional classroom experience, with a professor lecturing and students taking notes, and turns it around.” Among other topics, the communities will merge communication, composition and government; environmental design and special education; psychology and communication; creative writing and art history; biological engineering and mathematics; physics, accounting, and agricultural engineering; and two marketing classes.


CAMPUS news Researchers focusing on missile defense shield Mississippi State research scientists are playing a key role in the development of a global ballistic missile defense shield aimed at protecting America and its allies from nuclear attack. While the Northrop Grumman Corp. is leading a national effort to develop and test land-based Kinetic Energy Interceptors for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, university engineers will be determining effective ways of launching the defensive missiles at sea. Under a $200,000 contract recently approved by Norththrop Grumman’s Mission Systems sector, MSU’s Computational Simulation and Design Center will use its expertise in computational fluid dynamics to help the global defense company prepare the $4 billion KEI system for future deployment aboard ships and submarines. “We’ll be using computational fluid dynamics technology developed at the ERC’s SimCenter to predict the behavior of the KEI missile and its rocket exhaust during the initial launch sequence from a ship or other sea-based platform,” said SimCenter director David Marcum. Computational fluid dynamics utilizes computer simulations to predict what will happen when fluids flow— particularly as related to such complications as simultaneous heat flow, combustion, or other interactions; and the mechanical movements of pistons, fans and rudders. Marcum said the SimCenter applies very similar technology to a variety of applications that include NASA’s space shuttle, jet engines, passenger aircraft, ships and automobiles. Another area is the design of pediatric heart pumps, as related to predictions of how specific stresses may affect the flow of blood.

From left, industrial engineering freshman Kristina Hodges, animal and dairy sciences freshman Camille Washington, and chemical engineering junior Jeremy Johnson visit with Bagley College of Engineering Dean Kirk Schulz.

MSU again high in African-American engineering, education graduates Mssissippi State ranks among the top 15 in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees in both engineering and education to African-Americans, according to Black Issues in Higher Education. Based on the most current figures from 2004 published in the national magazine’s June 2 edition, the university is 11th in awarding education degrees and 14th in engineering degrees at the baccalaureate level to African-Americans. The land-grant institution also ranks in the top 50 nationally in other fields: 25th in psychology, 32nd in business management and related areas, and 37th in mathematics and statistics. In all disciplines combined, MSU is 48th among all institutions, including historically black institutions, and 28th among traditionally white universities.

MSU competing in SEC Challenge for annual gifts Mississippi State University entered an annual giving competition in July with other SEC schools for the right to claim its place as the university with the most loyal alumni. The school with the highest percentage of recent graduates who make a contribution to their alma mater wins. The universities will battle it out for an entire fiscal year—July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006—for bragging rights. Any alumnus who holds an undergraduate degree from the classes of 1996 through 2005 is eligible to participate. The size and designation of a gift is not important–what does matter is the number of alumni who make a contribution and participate in the challenge.

The MSU Fund for Excellence will contact these alumni throughout the year, encouraging them to give. “We are really excited about the challenge,” said Laura Kitchens, director of the Fund for Excellence. “It’s a great chance for us to get our recent graduates involved in supporting the university, and an even better opportunity for us to help them understand the importance of—and need for— private contributions to Mississippi State.” For more information on the SEC Challenge and how to participate, contact the MSU Fund for Excellence at 662-3257000. Visit the challenge Web site at www.secchallenge.com to see how MSU is stacking up against the competition. A Fall 2005

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CAMPUS news Scientists trying to ward off global warming

Researchers include, from left, Chuji Wang, Jeff Lindner and F-X Han.

Mississippi State scientists are playing a key role in the nation’s effort to slow global warming by reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions caused primarily by the expanding use of fossil fuels for energy. Three researchers from the university’s Diagnostic Instrumentation and Analysis Laboratory—DIAL, for short—are members of a regional team seeking the best ways to capture and isolate gases that could contribute to global climate change. “Congratulations to Jeff Lindner, Chuji Wang and F-X Han for being a part of the Southeast’s winning team for the Phase II carbon sequestration partnerships,” said former DIAL director John Plodinec. “It provides an opportunity to show off our instrumentation capability and to have an impact on how our country addresses carbon management.” Colin Scanes, MSU’s vice president for research and graduate studies, said the effort illustrates DIAL’s ongoing development of “innovative solutions to some of today’s most pressing problems involving energy, the environment, infrastructure, and industrial processes.” In Phase I, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory created a North American network of seven federal, state and private sector partnerships to determine the most suitable technologies, regulations and infrastructure for future carbon capture, storage and sequestration in different geographic areas. The network includes more than 216 organizations in 40 states, three American Indian nations and Canada. Under Phase II, MSU and other members of the Southeastern Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership are conducting geological sequestration field tests that could help the U.S. stabilize atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide without having to make largescale and potentially costly changes to existing energy infrastructures. “Our portion of the contract is $400,000 for four years, including $300,000 from DOE through the Southern States Energy Board, the prime contractor, and nearly $100,000 in matching funds from MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering,” said Lindner, a DIAL research professor and physical chemist who is the principal MSU investigator.

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Survey: cities and towns think green A recent Mississippi State survey finds that civic leaders around the state support the establishment of urban and community forestry projects to enhance their communities. Urban forestry specifically focuses on the management of trees and forests in urban settings to foster social, environmental and economic benefits. The university canvass of city and town government leaders, as well as other community planners, was conducted by Forest and Wildlife Research Center scientists to identify community needs and issues relative to urban forestry. “About one-third of the 159 respondents had initiated an urban and community forestry program prior to the survey,” said lead investigator Steve Grado. “However, the fact that the 74 percent majority realized the need for such projects is good news for Mississippi’s cities and towns.”


CAMPUS news 2 recognized with inaugural advising award Biological sciences professor Donald N. Downer and Jamie C. Inmon, a staff member with the University Academic Advising Center, received the Irvin Atly Jefcoat Excellence in Advising Awards in a late summer ceremony. Each honor was accompanied by a $5,000 stipend. Established earlier this year by 1950 chemical engineering graduate Hunter Henry of San Marcos, Texas, the honors are named for the university’s current Hunter Henry Endowed Professor in Chemical Engineering. Jefcoat has been recognized nationally by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers as its outstanding student adviser. A faculty member since 1978 and a former department head who returned to teaching several years ago, Downer earlier this year was among 10 selected for special recognition in competition sponsored by the Kansas-based National Academic Advising Association. Jamie Inmon, who is receiving the staff advising award, directed the University Academic Advising Center 19932000.

MSU-AEA partnership to create new ‘high-powered’ technology industry A new partnership announced in July between Mississippi State and United Kingdom-based AEA Technology will establish a research and development facility to produce portable power systems in support of space, defense and homeland security missions. Initially to be located in the university’s Diagnostic Instrumentation and Analysis Laboratory in Starkville, AEA Technology Battery Systems anticipates developing a more permanent facility near the Golden Triangle Regional Airport east of campus. DIAL, as it’s usually referred, is among facilities in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park, which is situated adjacent to campus. “AEA is an international company with several U.S. sites, and we’re delighted that they will expand research, development and manufacturing operations into Mississippi,” said MSU President Charles Lee. “AEA’s presence in Thad Cochran Park will build on Mississippi State’s research expertise and will contribute to the creation of new high-technology jobs in our state,” he added. One of the United Kingdom’s leading technology companies, AEA Technology was privatized in 1996 from a former government agency, the Atomic Energy Authority. It now employs 2,700 people across 50 locations worldwide, in three major divisions: rail, environment and portable power.

Invention excites concrete— in interest of bridge safety, that is When Mississippi State researchers start exciting concrete, you can bet they’re up to something good. That’s because a new invention by engineers at the university’s Diagnostic Instrumentation and Analysis Laboratory—DIAL—generates enough excitement to test the structural integrity of bridges and other things made of concrete. The Automatic Chain Drag System—formerly called Hollow Deck—was developed several years ago by DIAL as a portable monitor for ensuring the safety of concrete bridge decks. Since then, it’s been tested thoroughly by the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Now, the three-wheel, walk-behind device that looks something like a baby carriage, is being licensed to Excelerate Inc. of Huntsville, Ala., which has acquired worldwide rights to commercialize the MSU-patented technology. Researchers stroll with ACDS on a The licensing agreement with MSU’s Intellectual Property Starkville bridge. and Technology Licensing office was finalized in July. MSU will share in the royalties. The invention “excites” the structure to be inspected with a chain, recording resulting vibrations with an acoustical sensor, or microphone, which is housed in the carriage. Signals from the sensor are processed to filter out unnecessary frequencies and pinpoint the presence of structural defects, providing a computer-generated “virtual map” of the bridge subsurface. A Fall 2005

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CAMPUS news MSU, Denver share $2.4 million for research, education The National Center for Intermodal Transportation— an academic partnership between the University of Denver and Mississippi State—received a $2.4 million federal grant. NCIT officials said the funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation will be equally shared by both institutions for transportation research and education projects over the next four years. “We have enjoyed a productive and rewarding sixyear relationship with University of Denver faculty and look forward to continu-

ing our work to improve the nation’s intermodal transportation system,” said Royce Bowden, NCIT co-director and head of MSU’s department of industrial engineering, which is a part of the Bagley College of Engineering. Patrick Sherry—associate professor in the counseling program and a board member of the Intermodal Transportation Institute at Denver and the other co-director—said the university collaboration “is resulting in significant contributions to the body of knowledge of intermodal transportation, and to the

public awareness and information of the benefits of an integrated system for the movement of both passengers and freight.” NCIT was established as a University Transportation Center with a federal appropriation of $1.6 million in 1998 after the initial signing of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. The center is a major national resource for research, educational and technology transfer activities involving intermodal transportation. The latest $2.4 million grant was provided as part of the $286.4 billion, six-year reauthorization bill of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible,

and Efficient Transportation Equity Act. Covering fiscal years 2004-09, the bill was signed into law by President Bush Aug. 10. Denver officials said the bill received strong support from members of the Colorado congressional delegation, including Sen. Wayne Allard, a Republican, and Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat. MSU President Charles Lee also praised the “strength” of Mississippi senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochran, both R-Miss., as well as Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., and Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., in helping secure the transportation reauthorization.

MSU ranked among those cited for service

Mississippi State and Premier Radiology of Tupelo are moving ahead with plans for a partnership that will facilitate research initiatives through MSU's Institute of Neurocognitive Science and Technology. Participating in recent groundbreaking ceremonies for planned construction of an Imaging Center for Excellence in Starkville were, from left, Starkville Mayor Dan Camp, President Charles Lee, Premier Radiology executive director Jim Schaefer and Premier Radiology physician Vernon Barrow. The new center, to be located near the intersection of Highway 82 and Stark Road, will offer advanced radiology services to residents in the Starkville area. 32

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Mississippi State is among the top 100 national universities in a new college ranking based on “what colleges are doing for the country.” MSU is at No. 95 among 245 major public and private institutions in the Washington Monthly’s first college rankings, which appear in the magazine’s September issue. The guide assesses universities on the basis of community service, research and how frequently they admit and graduate low-income students. The ranking formula includes the percentage of students serving in ROTC or the Peace Corps, the percentage of federal College Work-Study grants devoted to community service, total research expenditures, and the number of Ph.D.s awarded in science and engineering. The formula also considers the percentage of students who qualify for federal Pell Grants for lower-income students, and the university’s actual graduation rate compared with what would be expected, given the economic status of its students. Thirty percent of MSU students receive Pell Grants, and 57 percent graduate within six years.


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Two longtime faculty members in the Bagley College of Engineering are filling key administrative positions in the office of Dean Kirk Schulz. Donna Reese, professor of computer science and engineering, replaces Robert Taylor as associate dean for academics and administration. Roger King, professor of electrical and computer engineering, is the new associate dean for research and graduate studies. In his capacity as associate dean, King also is serving as interim director of the Diagnostic Instrumentation and Analysis Laboratory.

Reese

An alumnus and onetime elementary school principal in neighboring Lowndes County is the university’s new dean of the College of Education. Richard Lee Blackbourn, a professor and administrator at Clemson University for the past 16 years, assumed the MSU position July 1.

A Mississippi State forestry alumnus is the new dean of the university’s College of Forest Resources and director of its Forest and Wildlife Research Center. George M. Hopper assumed his new duties in July 15. The Vicksburg native succeeds interim dean Bob L. Karr, who retired after 29 years of service.

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An award-winning mechanical engineer and materials scientist at Pennsylvania State University is the new director of Mississippi State’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems. Randall German, who officially assumed his new duties in July, also will hold one of three CAVS endowed chairs in the Bagley College of Engineering. He began his new duties full time in October.

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Mississippi State’s vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine is taking on added duties as interim director of University Extension and Outreach. In July, Vance Watson began providing direct leadership for an organization that includes the MSU Extension Service, Division of Academic Outreach and Continuing Education and Office of Industrial Outreach Services.

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Professor Royce O. Bowden Jr. is the new head of the department of industrial engineering. A faculty member for the past 13 years and among the Hearin Eminent Scholars designated by the Bagley College of Engineering, Bowden succeeded retiring department head Larry Brown July 1. Brown retired in early June after more than 30 years of service to the university.

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Lauderdale County native Penny Kemp, a 1992 Mississippi State graduate, is the new marketing director of the university’s Riley Center. To be operated by MSU-Meridian once restoration is complete next summer, the Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts is named in honor of the local Riley Foundation, which made the $12.1 million anchor contribution for the downtown project.

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CAMPUS news S T A T E

Continuing nine consecutive years among the Top 10, Pi Omega Pi, Mississippi State’s business education honor society, now is ranked fifth following recent national student competition.

Swedish attitudes and Midwestern agriculture are the very different topics of books produced recently by two Mississippi State historians. Dennis S. Nordin, a lecturer in the history department, and history professor emeritus Roy V. Scott collaborated on “From Prairie Farmer to Entrepreneur: The Transformation of Midwestern Agriculture,” which was released in March by Indiana University Press. Nordin also is author of “A Swedish Dilemma: A Liberal European Nation’s Struggle with Racism and Xenophobia, 1990-2000.” The work is being published by the University Press of America.

A doctoral student in counselor education and a senior graphic design major are receiving 2005-06 scholarships from Mississippi State’s Faculty and Professional Women’s Association. Yun Hui Gardner of Columbus and Lauren Beth Cavadel of Vestavia, Ala., were selected for the $500 awards based on their outstanding academic records and demonstrated leadership at the university.

Laura E. Walling, director of recreational sports at Mississippi State, is being honored for her work with an international recreational sports organization. She recently received one of six Regional Awards of Merit for Outstanding Contributions to Region II of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association. 34

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Composed of six regional groups, NIRSA is a non-profit organization serving more than 4,000 professionals, students and associate members throughout the United States, Canada and other countries. A longtime member of the organization, Walling now is in her second term as Mississippi director. She also serves as the Region II historian.

Six Mississippi high school seniors, along with three from Alabama and one from Tennessee, received Mississippi State’s top scholarships for the 2005-06 school year. Seven will be Presidential Endowed Scholars; the others, Ottilie Schillig Leadership Scholars. The new Presidential Scholars include Douglas M. Ansel of Starkville, Elizabeth B. Butler of Brandon, John M. Harrelson of Cottondale, Ala., James L. “Lan” Holloway of Clinton, Zachary T. “Zach” Jordan of Muscle Shoals, Ala., Andrew D.M. Lindeman of Madison, Ala., and Christina M. Young of Vancleave. The incoming Schillig Scholars include William P. Cleveland of Gulfport, Jeral P. Self of Madison and Chelsea V. Tiller of Kingsport, Tenn. All scholarships provide a basic $34,000, which covers the costs of tuition and fees, food, and books for four years.

Starkville residents Tonya W. Stone, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, and recent graduate Alan P. Boyle both received 2005 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships worth $120,000 each for three years of work toward a doctorate.

Boyle earned degrees, both summa cum laude, in computer science engineering and biochemistry/molecular biology during the university’s May 7 commencement.

A longtime Mississippi State professor is receiving a national honor for academic advising. Donald N. Downer is among only 10 collegiate faculty members receiving 2005 awards in competition sponsored by the Kansas-based National Academic Advising Association.

A longtime administrator with the Career Center’s cooperative education program at Mississippi State is receiving a national honor for his work in higher education. Associate director Mike Mathews, who began his career at MSU in 1975, is receiving the 2005 Clement J. Freund Award from the American Society for Engineering Education. The honor recognizes distinguished, continuing contributions to cooperative education at academic institutions.

A student-faculty team of meteorologists from Mississippi State’s geosciences department finished second in the 2004-05 National Collegiate Weather Forecasting Contest. The university team of four faculty members, seven graduate students and 18 undergraduates recently placed just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology among 42 teams and more than 1,100 participants from across the country.


S T A T E The Southern Sociological Society is naming its Distinguished Service Award in honor of Mississippi State professor Martin L. Levin to recognize his “extraordinary contributions” to the organization. Levin is MSU’s Thomas L. Bailey Professor of Sociology and head of the department of sociology, anthropology and social work.

The head of Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design is a new member of a national committee that reviews architectural designs for new federal buildings. Dean James L. West recently was appointed to a two-year term on the Design Excellence Peer Review Committee of the federal General Services Administration.

A faculty member’s new history of a resurging 19th century British political party could serve as a primer for the American Democratic Party. That’s a recent Wall Street Journal book reviewer’s opinion of “The Whig Revival: 1808-1830” by university assistant history professor William A. Hay. “At the very least,” wrote Darrin M. McMahon, Hay’s work “might make the Democrats feel better.” Within its 256 pages, “Whig Revival” (Palgrave-Macmillan, Britain) describes how the political organization that preceded the later Liberal Party formed a coalition with provincial interest groups to defeat the Tories—ancestors of the Conservative Party—and regain power.

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A Mississippi State chemical engineering professor is receiving $400,000 over five years as a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award for junior faculty members nationwide. Priscilla Hill, an assistant professor in the university’s Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, has won a 2005 NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award to support her research and education in the field of particle technology. “The CAREER award is the most prestigious NSF award given to new faculty, and is a testament to the outstanding research and teaching program that Dr. Hill has established here at Mississippi State,” said Kirk Schulz, dean of the Bagley College of Engineering. Hill, who will receive $400,000 over a five-year period, is the first member of MSU’s chemical engineering faculty to receive the major honor. The CAREER award was established by the NSF in 1994 in recognition of the critical roles played by faculty members in integrating research and education, and in fostering the natural connections between the processes of learning and discovery.

A Mississippi State professor is a new Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, considered one of the profession’s most esteemed honors. James L. Martin, holder of the university’s Kelly Gene Cook Sr. Chair (endowed professorship) in Civil Engineering and an MSU faculty member since 2001, became one of four faculty members from his department to achieve fellow status within their respective professional societies.

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Shoppers looking for MSU’s famous Edam cheese and other Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station dairy items now have a more convenient location to visit. The store moved to the front of the Herzer Food Science Building on Stone Boulevard across from Dorman Hall and the university greenhouses in early August. Debbie Huffman, manager of the MAFES Sales Store, said the new location is much more visible and convenient to customers than the previous one behind the building. The store is open to the public weekdays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Products include three-pound Edam balls, two-pound cheddar blocks, two-pound Vallagret wheels, crocks of cheddar and jalapeno spread, milk, chocolate milk, butter, and 15 flavors of ice cream. Also available are various cuts of beef and pork, muscadine juice and jelly, blueberry preserves and honey. Customers should park in the lot south of Herzer, between the Herzer Food Science Building and Ballew Hall. For additional convenience, customers can shop and purchase many items online with major credit cards, then pick the items up at the store or have them shipped. Cheeses are shipped only in cooler weather from the first of November to the end of April, and Vallagret is shipped only from November to January. For more information on products, pricing or shipment details, contact the MAFES Sales Store at (662) 325-2338 or visit at www.msucheese.com.

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SPORTS talk

New athletics marketing director set to build ‘fou by Ross Dellenger

With papers strewn across his desk and boxes yet to be unpacked, Jimmy Bass sat in his leather-backed chair talking on the phone to one of the many people who were so influential in bringing him to Mississippi State. “The people here are terrific,” said Bass, who after serving nearly 12 years at his alma mater, left North Carolina State to become the senior associate director for development and marketing, a new position within the Mississippi State Athletic Department. As he shook hands with the people of Bass Mississippi State on one of his three visits to Starkville before accepting the job, Bass was amazed, but not surprised, at the love and dedication of the MSU fan base—a fan base that treated him with what he calls “maroon hospitality,” a key factor in his decision to move from a place he called home to a place he knew nothing about. “The fan base here has been through thick and thin. They’ve been here when times were good, and they’ve been here when times were bad,” he said. “We’re trying to provide a foundation for good consistency.” Bass has several goals in mind that will help to build that foundation. One of the major goals includes developing a strong, better-structured board of directors. “It’s important that we have a really strong board of directors for the Bulldog

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Club if we’re going to have an effective fund-raising organization,” Bass said. “We’re going to do some preliminary work revising our bylaws, giving our board a better structure—a structure that provides for working committees.” The second substantial goal on Bass’ lengthy list of priorities is implementing a large network of volunteers, who will be the Bulldog Club’s “eyes and ears away from Starkville.” Bass is in the process of identifying who those volunteers will be.

“We’ll call them Bulldog Club Reps,” he said from his office in the Bryant Building, which has a magnificent view of Chadwick Lake. “We hope to have those reps in place soon.” Bass reeled off a list of priorities that he hopes will shape and mold the Bulldog Club into a better organization. Those priorities include creating a monthly publication for Bulldog Club members, which would include information about MSU studentathletes, along with general

New MSU Sports Hall of Fame inductees, from left, Mark Jeffrey, Walter Packer and John Bond were recognized at the MSU vs. Murray State football game in early September. AllAmerican tennis player Jeffrey lettered with the Mississippi State team 1979-91; Packer, a former All-Southeastern Conference running back also ran track during his tenure at MSU, 1973-76; and quarterback Bond was an All-SEC freshman selection and lettered 1980-83.


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undation for consistency’; seeks volunteers information on the club, and improving the Mississippi State Web site so that it’s “Bulldog Club member friendly.” “That’s the direction all the really good fund-raising organizations in the country are going: people go online to find information, renew their membership and they order their tickets online . . . we are eventually headed that way,” said Bass, whose first day on the job was July 18. Bass has fund-raising experience at the University of Pittsburgh, East Carolina University, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Davidson College, including his 12year stint at N.C. State, where he served the Wolf Pack Club—similar to the Bulldog Club. After settling in Starkville with wife Sarah and son Joseph Corey, Bass has realized the many similarities between the two schools. “They’re both land-grant institutions. They both market themselves as the people’s university within their respected states,” said Bass, who’s been involved with collegiate athletics for 25 years. “They’re both science and technology-based institutions, and they both like to consider themselves the engines that drive their state’s economies. N.C. State’s alumni base is a little bit larger than Mississippi State’s, but they’re the same kind of people.” Bass was contacted in March by a consultant about the newly-created job at MSU. He took three trips to campus, two by himself and the final trip in June with his family, which convinced him to accept the job.

“We jumped on it,” Bass said, referring to the time when the university offered the job to him after his final visit. “We got a pretty good idea when we were down here in our last visit that if the job was offered, we would seriously consider it.” A smile crossed Bass’ face when he was asked about changing from the Atlantic Coast Conference, which N.C. State is a part of, to the Southeastern Conference, arguably the two most competitive leagues in the nation. “I don’t think there is any doubt that the ACC and the SEC are the two premier Division 1 leagues in America,” he said. “I think one of the things that’s so appealing in those conferences is that typically just about every time an ACC and SEC team jumps out, they can compete for a national championship.” Bass, an avid college sports fan, and his family didn’t just watch “major sports” competition at N.C. State. They attended swim meets and wrestling matches there, too. They watched all sports, and Bass said they’ll do the same here at State, including going to women’s basketball and soccer games. “I don’t really have a favorite,” he said. “The bowl season is a wonderful time of year. March Madness is terrific, and there’s nothing better than the College World Series.” Bass’ son Joseph Corey, 19, passed on the option to remain at N.C. State, where he finished his freshman year last spring. Instead, he moved to Starkville with his parents and transferred to Mississippi State, where he is a sophomore. Starkville is the most southern and western place Bass and his family have ever lived. He has spent most of his life in the Northeast and the Carolinas.

Again, Bass found similarities between the two regions, just as he compared the two schools. “The area here reminds me of rural eastern North Carolina, with the farmland and the forest. It’s a really, really beautiful area,” Bass remarked. “But making the transition to Mississippi will work because of the people here. Everybody that I have met here has said to me, ‘We’ll do everything and anything that you need to help the Bulldog Club be successful.’” And that’s what Bass plans to do. In fact, he is going to do it. “Everything will be improved here at the Bulldog Club,” an optimistic Bass said. Ross Dellenger is a junior at MSU, majoring in journalism and broadcasting. The Biloxi resident is sports editor for the student newspaper, The Reflector, and has written for Maroon and White Magazine, the Commercial Dispatch, Rivals.com, and the Commercial Appeal.

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SPORTS talk MSU’s upset of Alabama is No. 1 Mississippi State’s 6-3 upset win over top-ranked Alabama on Nov. 1, 1980, in Jackson is the No. 1 game of the last 25 years as voted on by MSU fans around the globe. The game, which was broadcast on Maroon to the Max, concluded M2M’s special “Top 10 Games of the Last 25 Years” feature. MSU downed the Crimson Tide that season and broke Alabama’s 28-game overall win streak. At the time, the Bulldogs had not beaten the Tide in 22 years. In the defensive struggle, Mississippi State limited Alabama to just 180 total yards, while churning out 241 of its own. There were 12 punts between the squads in the game, and on only five occasions did either team penetrate the other’s red zone. Alabama posted the only points of the first half on a 49-yard field goal as time ran out in the half. MSU knotted the score at 3-3 on its first possession of the second half, with Dana Moore connecting on a 37-yard field goal. Moore would give State its 6-3 advantage early in the fourth quarter, connecting on a 22-yarder with 13:35 left to play. The Tide threatened to extend its streak late in the game as it earned a first-andgoal at the MSU four-yard line with just seconds to play. The Bulldogs forced a fumble and Billy Jackson pounced on the ball with six seconds remaining in regulation play. On the ensuing play, MSU hearts stopped again when the ball came loose once again, but Donald Ray King fell on the pigskin to preserve the historic Bulldog victory.

Homan wins 2005 state crown Mississippi State’s men’s golf coach Clay Homan won the 2005 Mississippi State Amateur Championship this summer at the Hattiesburg Country Club.

29 on honor roll Mississippi State placed 29 first-year student-athletes on the 2005 Southeastern Conference Freshman Academic Honor Roll, the fourth-highest total among league teams in the sports in which MSU competes. MSU trailed only South Carolina (49), Florida (42) and LSU (39) on the academic performance list recently released by the league office. Kentucky (28), Vanderbilt (27), Arkansas and Georgia (25), Alabama and Ole Miss (20), Tennessee (19) and Auburn (13) rounded out the ranking. Those figures represent honorees in Missisippi Statesponsored sports only. 38

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The second-year coach fired a finalround eight-under par 64 to finish the 72-hole event at 13-under par. This year’s title is the second for Homan. He captured the 1994 State Amateur title at Colonial Deerfield. Homan qualified for the event on Monday with an even-par round to take the last qualifying spot in the field. The Fulton native came into the final round trailing MSU signee Matt Fast by four strokes. Fast finished at 11-under par with a two-under par 70 to finish runner-up to his future head coach. MSU sophomore Josh Oller posted a fourth-place finish after recording a final round score of 73. Mississippi State’s Jake Lambert finished the four-day event in 22nd-place.

MSU’s Suggs named to hall Former Mississippi State football standout Walt Suggs was named to the class of 2006 inductees to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Suggs is one of six ’06 inductees. Suggs played offensive tackle at MSU 1958-60 under head coach Wade Walker. The Hattiesburg native was named to the UPI All-SEC Second Team in 1958 and 1960. He excelled in the classroom that season as well, being listed on the sophomore All-American academic squad. He played alongside and roomed with MSHOF member Tom Goode. The tandem was noted by many in the football circles as the best line combination in the South. Suggs was a third-round selection of the Houston Oilers in the 1961 American Football League draft and played 10 seasons for the organization. Suggs made 137 starts on the offensive line and played in more consecutive games than any other Oiler during his tenure. He also was a part of history in 1962 at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, playing in the first AFL title contest aired on national television by NBC. He also played in the first game in the Houston Astrodome when it opened in 1967. Suggs was honored in 1991 as a member of the Oilers All-Time 30 Year Team. Suggs now resides in Readyville, Tenn. He is an active member of MSU’s M-Club and the NFL Alumni Association. The former Maroon and White standout was named to MSU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. With the six inductees in 2006, the membership enrollment will increase to 239 members. The MSHOF is located in Jackson on Lakeland Drive.


ALUMNI news Abraham takes reins of alumni association Jimmy W. Abraham, a veteran of nearly well-qualified to encourage our students 30 years in student affairs at Mississippi to move smoothly into active alumni State, has been named the university’s roles.” associate vice president for external Abraham serves as the key liaison affairs and executive between the university director of the alumni and its more than association. 100,000 living alumni The Clarksdale native around the state and and 1975 MSU graduate across the nation. The succeeds John V. Correro, association has more who retired in June after a than 80 alumni chapters 36-year career in alumni in locations from affairs. Formerly associate Colorado to New York. vice president for student In his new role, affairs, Abraham began his Abraham will develop new duties Aug. 8. and implement “Dr. Abraham has earned programs to maintain the highest respect of the lifelong connections campus and thousands of between Mississippi alumni for his energy, State graduates and the Abraham integrity and dedication,” institution and provide said President Charles Lee. feedback from alumni “This appointment, about their concerns, coupled with the recent appointment of said Dennis A. Prescott, vice president an exceptional individual for athletics for external affairs. marketing and fund raising, provides us “We are delighted to attract someone the opportunity to literally put a new face with Jimmy’s breadth of knowledge, on the way we interact with our alumni,” commitment to Mississippi State, and Lee added. “Dr. Abraham is particularly

2006 Travel Program Education puts us in touch with the world of ideas. Travel connects the intellect with the senses. Together, they bring us face to face with the world in which we live. Realize a travel dream with one of the 2006 travel opportunities listed below. Share with us the incomparable beauty from around the world whether by air, motorcoach or a luxury cruise ship. You’ll feel comfortable and confident traveling with experienced tour guides who will attend to all of your needs.

Chianti in a Tuscan Villa May 7-15, 2006 Cruise the Majestic Passage on the Mosel, Rhine, and Neckar rivers September 18-26, 2006 For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-325-7000, or see our Web page at www.alumni.msstate.edu/travel/travel.htm.

wealth of connections to alumni,” Prescott said. “I have full confidence that under his leadership the Alumni Association will find increasingly innovative ways to strengthen relationships between Mississippi State and an extensive alumni family,” he added. Abraham will work closely with other external affairs units that include the MSU Foundation, University Relations, campus radio station WMSV-FM, MSU Golf Course, and the flight department. In student affairs, Abraham helped lead a division that includes enrollment, housing, financial aid, health services, student organizations, counseling, police, recreational sports, and other student service functions. He began his student affairs career in 1977 as a residence hall director. “I am very thankful to have this opportunity to work with those who care so much about Mississippi State University—our alumni,” Abraham said. “I welcome this new role with much enthusiasm and excitement.” As a longtime director of enrollment services at MSU, Abraham headed student recruitment efforts that resulted in unprecedented growth 1979-2000. He subsequently served both as assistant and associate vice president in the division, as well as interim vice president 2002-04, overseeing the entire range of student affairs functions. He received an undergraduate degree in marketing in 1975 and a master’s degree in student personnel and counselor education in 1977, both from Mississippi State. He earned a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Mississippi in 1985. An in-depth look at Abraham’s assessment of and plans for the Alumni Association will appear in the spring issue of Alumnus.

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ALUMNI news Alumni Fellows serve as mentors, role models

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Sponsored and organized by the MSU Alumni Association, this year’s 16th annual Alumni Fellows Program features eight graduates of distinction who share with students specific competencies, attitudes and efforts needed to succeed. Chosen by each college, they carry the honorary title permanently. Jimmy Abraham, alumni association executive director, said the fellows program recognizes the ultimate measure of a university—the quality of its alumni and their willingness to serve as role models and mentors to students. This year’s MSU Alumni Fellows and the academic units that selected them are: Phyfa D. Eiland of Clinton, College of Education, received a bachelor’s degree in English in 1967 and master’s and doctoral degrees in school administration at Mississippi State in 1989. She became Hinds County’s superintendent of education in 2000. Since assuming the job, she has brought a business approach to education by privatizing transportation, lawn care and

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custodial services for the Hinds County School District. The only school district in the state with an online application system, Hinds County has passed a $21.5 million bond issue and constructed three new middle schools. Charles E. Faries of Portland, Ore., Bagley College of Engineering, received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Mississippi State in 1957. He later completed the Executive Program at Stanford University. Faries retired as vice president for manufacturing, engineering and research for Boise Cascade Corp. in 1991, and continued to serve the company on retainer for some time afterward. Previously, the longtime paper company manager and project leader worked for International Paper Co. and American Can Co. as a project engineer. He currently owns and manages commercial real estate properties in Oregon, Alaska and Mississippi.

Moore

Marion B. Harris of Plymouth, Mich., College of Arts and Sciences, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics in 1991 and 1993, respectively. As controller of North American Fleet, Lease and Remarketing Operations for Ford Motor Co., he is responsible for the finance operations of Ford’s fleet business, including sales to daily rental companies, commercial accounts, and government entities, as well as Ford’s company-sponsored vehicle auctions. Prior to joining Ford in 1999, he was a vice president for Crestar Bank in Richmond, Va. R. Gerald Moore of Petal, College of Forest Resources, received a bachelor’s degree in forestry in 1963. As owner and president of Pine Belt Foresters in Petal, a forestry consulting firm, Moore works with landowners to help them reach their forest management and utilization goals. Before starting his own business, Moore was general manager for a small timber company, and worked in economic development and with the Mississippi Forestry Commission as an area forester


ALUMNI news and state purchasing agent. He is president and board member of the Mississippi Forestry Association, and in 2003, he and his wife Melleen received the association’s Meritorious Award for Forestry in Mississippi. Timothy Waters Nichols of Atlanta, Ga., College of Architecture, Art and Design, received his architecture degree in 1990. He is a vice president and director of design-interior architecture for Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum Inc. in Atlanta, Ga. In addition to the numerous architectural projects he has completed, he has acted as a visiting critic, adviser and lecturer at institutions throughout the country. His awards include four excellence awards from the Georgia chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers. James Smith of Cleveland, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, received three degrees from Mississippi

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State—a bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 1968 and master’s and doctoral degrees in weed science in 1970 and 1973, respectively. Smith is founder and president of Delta Rice Services, an agricultural consulting firm that provides rice farmers with the most current information on growing and harvesting the crop. Smith also operates a sales and marketing office. A primary customer is Greenville-based Uncle Ben’s Rice, for which Smith currently stores 1.2 million bushels of grain. David Lee Watson of Atlanta, Ga., College of Business and Industry, earned a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance in 1979. He has spent more than 25 years in the equity and fixed income investment management business, currently as vice president and portfolio manager for Montag & Caldwell investment counselors. He has helped grow the company’s assets from $17

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billion to $24 billion over the past seven years. In addition, he is responsible for the firm’s European mutual funds and clients. Jimmy Webb of Turlock, Calif., College of Veterinary Medicine, received a bachelor’s degree in dairy science in 1975 and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1982. He is the owner of Webb Embryo Transfer Services, which deals in livestock genetics. In 1991, he was named president of the American Embryo Transfer Association. The former 1974 All-American defensive end entered the MSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. He played seven years in the National Football League before earning a veterinary degree. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the International Embryo Transfer Society, and the American Embryo Transfer Association.

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ALUMNI news Chapter sponsors asthma camp The MSU Alumni Association’s Birmingham Chapter recently cosponsored the Young Teen Asthma Camp, held at Camp Winnataska in Birmingham, Ala. Five campers were able to attend because of the contribution of the chapter members. This is the third year of their sponsorship. Campers participate in a wide range of activities including swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, low ropes, crafts, recreation, and night activities. Leaders are regular leaders and staff of Camp Winnataska, who serve the camp as volunteers. Asthma education for selfmanagement, daily peak flow measurements and discussion groups on teen issues are led by nurses with interests in asthma care. Campers measure their own peak flow, implement

There were some happy campers at this year’s Young Teen Asthma Camp in Birmingham. Leaders included, back row from left, Ellen Buckner, camp director; Terri Russell (’84, M.S. ’86), president of the MSU Alumni Association’s Birmingham Chapter; and Rona JohnsonBelser (’74), national board representative for the chapter.

an individual “Asthma Action Plan,” and recognize how to avoid triggers including exposure to secondhand smoke. The campers participate in follow-up surveys, and every year have

Show your pride in

reported increased knowledge about asthma, increased self-efficacy in asthma management and increased resilience in handling difficult situations.

MSU! Alumni and friends of Mississippi State can support the university and show their Bulldog pride at the same time by ordering an MSU license plate through their county license office. Proceeds from the sale of the MSU collegiate tags fund priority programs at the university. Promoted by the Mississippi State University Alumni Associa-

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MSUin the park

Top left: Bully traveled all the way to New York to truly make this year’s Mississippi in the Park event a memorable one for some very young prospective students. Top right: State of the Future giveaways were a hit in New York City. The MSU Foundation and Alumni Association manned a booth during the annual picnic with information for alumni and friends. Bottom left: MSU head football coach Sylvester Croom was on hand in Central Park to autograph State of the Future footballs for the MSU faithful who turned out for the July event. Bottom right: Students help with campaign giveaways. A A L L U U MM N N U U S S Fall Fall 2005 2005

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FOUNDATION news Vizzini makes impact as engineering chairholder Anthony Vizzini became interested in Vizzini, who holds a doctorate in said. “I knew he was looking for joining the faculty at Mississippi State aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, somewhere to create an assembly plant, University based on the Bagley College recently marked a milestone in his and I told him that Mississippi would be of Engineering’s noteworthy reputation career. perfect. It was and the integral role he could play in In March very exciting to leading its department of aerospace 2005, he be a part of the engineering. was named project.” Vizzini came to Mississippi State two the years ago from the University “They get to learn from people who of Maryland, are recognized as experts in their where he was an fields. No book can teach better associate than experience.” professor. Since then, he Anthony Vizzini has not only assisted Mississippi Vizzini State, but also the Golden Triangle inaugural believes the region. holder of impact of Aurora Vizzini played an instrumental role in the Bill and will be convincing Aurora Flight Sciences Corp. Carolyn tremendous for to locate a facility at MSU’s Raspet Cobb Chair Mississippi State. Flight Research Laboratory to build in He feels the sleek, unmanned aerial vehicles for a Engineering. alliance will allow Vizzini broad range of applications. Aurora’s He says it MSU students to founder, John Langford, and Vizzini were has been a great honor and it is obtain internships that provide excellent colleagues while at the Massachusetts rewarding to have someone put their hands-on work experience and real world Institute of Technology. faith and financial commitment behind preparation. Vizzini thinks Aurora will “When I came to MSU, one of the first him as the Cobbs have done. have a significant impact on the region e-mails I sent out was to John,” Vizzini and state of Mississippi as a whole.

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FOUNDATION news “I didn’t come to MSU to be named the holder of the Cobb Chair, but rather to help this department move into the national spotlight and to make sure the students receive the best education possible,” Vizzini said. “Being named

the Cobb chairholder was a wonderful bonus,” he added. Vizzini understands the value of additional endowed positions for Mississippi State and notes the real benefit is for the university’s students.

“The students who get to learn from these very talented faculty members get more of a benefit than the university,” said Vizzini. “They get to learn from people who are recognized as experts in their fields. No book can teach better than experience.”

Cobbs teach lessons through giving Bill Cobb earned both bachelor’s Bill Cobb taught petroleum Donors like Bill and Carolyn Cobb and master’s degrees in petroleum engineering at Mississippi State in the understand the importance of making a engineering from Mississippi State in 1970s. commitment 1966 and 1967, respectively. Today, After to the future his company, William M. Cobb and venturing of Associates, provides petroleum out into Mississippi industry for nearly 30 years, he— along with “We want to help young men and wife Carolyn— women achieve their dreams, and is reaching perhaps even go beyond them by out to a new aiding their learning with first-rate generation of MSU faculty.” engineering students. Bill Cobb The Dallas, State by engineering and geological Texas, establishing consulting services to clients on an couple has an endowed international scale. created the position. The Cobbs are proud to have Bill and “We want added their names to the growing list Carolyn to help of generous supporters of State of the Cobb young men Future. Through the campaign, MSU Bill and Carolyn Cobb Endowed and women is seeking $61.5 million for endowed Chair to achieve their dreams, and perhaps even positions by December 2008. A support an outstanding faculty go beyond them by aiding their learning minimum five-year commitment of member within the Bagley College of with first-rate faculty,” Bill Cobb said. $1.5 million will establish an Engineering. Endowed chairs and “We also hope our commitment will endowed chair and $500,000 will professorships allow a university like encourage others to support MSU or the endow a professorship. Mississippi State to bring in highcollege of their choice.” caliber teachers and researchers in their respective fields. A Fall 2005

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The following individuals, corporations and foundations have made commitments of more than $50,000 from June 1, 2005, through September 30, 2005, for State of the Future: The Mississippi State Campaign. Ruth Williams Alford Estate; Mr. and Mrs. James Worth Bagley; Mrs. Viola G. Bardsley; The Boeing Co.; The Bower Foundation; Christine Brand Estate; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Parker Burke; Mr. and Mrs. Joel C. Clements Sr.; Mr. Steve Davenport; The Day Foundation; Ms. Isabel M. Devine; Ergon, Inc.; Mr.

and Mrs. W. Bruce Franklin; General Dynamics Corp.; Ms. Gretchen Gulmon; Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Hunter Henry Jr.; Mrs. Louise Howell; Mr. Louis A. Hurst Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson; Mr. and Mrs. Mark S. Jordan; Mr. Malcolm H. Mabry Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. Bobby P.

SUCCESSFUL GIVING MOVES A successful giving year of $51 million in total funds raised during the 2004-05 fiscal year, the third-highest total ever, indicates continued success for the university’s ongoing State of the Future campaign. Campaign counting, which began July 1, 2001, now stands at $251 million marching toward a goal of $400 million. Of the total funds raised during 200405, new outright gifts accounted for $23.2 million, while pledges—commitments to future giving—totaled $15.2 million. Deferred gifts—usually received after the donor’s death—made up the remaining $12.6 million. Some notable gifts during fiscal year 2004-05 included: —Former Brookhaven resident Dave C. Swalm is giving back to his community and his alma mater. Through a $5 million commitment to Mississippi State, the 1955 chemical engineering graduate has established a scholarship fund for Brookhaven students choosing to major in a technical field at MSU. —James W. Bagley and wife Jean of Trophy Club, Texas, have once again made a commitment to teaching at MSU by establishing three endowed funds. The couple has established the Billie J. Ball Endowed Professorships in the Bagley College of Engineering with a $1.5 million gift. —A $1.25 million bequest from Mary Diane Roberts of Louisville, Ky., is designated for scholarships in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Diane Roberts

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Martin; Medline Industries; The Riley Foundation; Dr. M. Diane Roberts; Seismic Micro-Technology Inc.; Mr. and Mrs. Dave C. Swalm; Mr. Charles Cullis Wade; Col. and Mrs. Russell Weathersby; Mr. and Mrs. James T. White and Mr. Joseph B. Whiteside.

STATE OF THE FUTURE FORWARD

Memorial Endowed Scholarship will one day benefit female students in the Department of Biological Sciences. —A $1 million deferred gift from Joel C. Clements of Waynesboro will establish two funds. A portion of the gift will be used to support intercollegiate athletics (specifically football) through the Bulldog Club, while another portion makes possible the Clements Fund in Accountancy for the College of Business and Industry. —James T. and Barbara White have given $1.75 million to establish the James T. White Chair in the Bagley College of Engineering. White, president of H.C.

Price Co. in Dallas, is a 1961 civil engineering graduate of MSU. He credits his engineering education and growing up in Mississippi as the foundation for his work ethic. —An anonymous $1 million bequest will establish an endowed scholarship in the School of Accountancy. All contributions to the university through Dec. 31, 2008, will be considered a commitment to State of the Future. Campaign pledges are payable over a fiveyear period. To make a gift, visit or call toll-free 877677-8283.


FOUNDATION news Student affairs looks to future and private support While the academic areas of Mississippi State have had fundraisers for many years, the Division of Student Affairs has not had someone whose primary duty was to secure private funds. Now, Student Affairs is taking steps to become more structured in its fund-raising efforts. The first step was the hiring of a fundraiser responsible for the division, a man who is well-known at MSU for his achievements. “We are fortunate to have someone like Dr. Roy Ruby as our new development director,” said Dr. Bill Kibler, vice president for student affairs. “His ability to connect with people across generations will be a huge benefit for this division.” Ruby, who retired in 2004 after 40 years of service to Mississippi State, 17 as vice president for student affairs, was asked to stay on as director of development because of his knowledge of the university and the division. He feels that Student Affairs has done an outstanding job over the years, but believes more can be accomplished with an increase in private support. Kibler says the division was thrilled when they convinced Ruby to come back to the university following his retirement. He believes Ruby is laying the foundation for years of successful fund raising specifically for Student Affairs. “We believe that our efforts will benefit a great deal,” says Kibler. “There has never been fund raising focused on Student Affairs and its needs as a single entity.” The Division of Student Affairs does play an essential role in the life of the university, providing for the safety, health and well-being of the students and working to create a developmental environment, just to name a few. Student Affairs also promotes the out-of-class experiences that broaden the college

Dr. Roy Ruby has long been active in the community as well as the university.

education and that people remember well after graduation. “What we do in Student Affairs is so critical to the university,” Ruby said. “Our work is vital to the students of Mississippi State and we want people to sense that, just as there are needs in the academic areas, we, too, have needs.” One of the biggest problems affecting private funding for the division, according to Ruby, is the newness of Student Affairs fund raising and friends of the university being unaccustomed to supporting a non-academic unit. Alumni all graduated from different colleges, but all benefited from the work of Student Affairs. “We think we’re worthy of private support just like the academic areas of the university,” Ruby says. “My belief is, when they look back on a college education, the things people often remember fondly about their college experience are what happened outside

the classroom.” Ruby, along with Kibler and Dr. Jimmy Abraham, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association and associate vice president for external affairs, and others are mapping out a plan to reach potential donors to the division. They are identifying the major needs of the division, and what groups to target with their efforts. Some of the broad needs of Student Affairs include more scholarships, enhanced programs for leadership and additional campus life opportunities to include cultural and fine arts programming. The Division of Student Affairs has a lot to do with the perception of the university. Ruby wants it to be seen as a total educational institution where the out-of-class experience is second to none.

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MARINA PRESLEY VETERINARY MEDICINE 2025

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Her future is the State of the Future. Make sure she has the facilities, professors and programs to make it a bright one. Make a gift today. Call 877-677-8283 or visit www.msufoundation.com.


Class news '49 MURRAY S. GRIFFIN of Utica has been named a 2005 Ageless Hero by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. He is retired senior project manager for Rust International Corp. The Ageless Hero program honors active seniors who contribute to the welfare of their communities. Griffin engineered and helped build the Utica Community Veterans Memorial in 2000, as well as both of Utica’s Habitat for Humanity homes. HORICE JAMES of Metairie, La., vice president of tax for the certified public accounting firm of LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand, has received the Society of Louisiana CPAs’ Special Recognition Award.

'52 ROBERT E. SMYLIE (M.S. ’56) of Fairfield Glade, Tenn., has received the first GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering award on the 35th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 13 moon mission. During the flight, an explosion in the spacecraft forced the three astronauts to take refuge in the lunar module, creating a critical problem with air supply. Smylie headed the team of NASA engineers who successfully solved the problem, allowing the astronauts to return to Earth alive.

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NICK CASTANIS of Frankfort, Ky., has written a book, Delta, My Beloved, published by American Literary Press and available through numerous bookstores and online booksellers. W. MICKEY HOLLIMAN of Belden, chairman and CEO of Furniture Brands International, has been honored by the Anti-Defamation League’s National Home Furnishings Division with its 2005 American Heritage Award. Holliman

also recently was inducted into the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.

'63 PAT F. MOONEY of Lacombe, La., technical assistant to the director of the Propulsion Test Directorate at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, has received NASA’s prestigious J. Harry Guin Outstanding Leadership Award.

'65 LEWIS F. MALLORY of Starkville, chairman of the board of directors and CEO of the NBC Capital Corp., has been inducted into the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame. HARTLEY PEAVEY of Meridian, chairman and CEO of Peavey Electronics, has been voted into Vintage Guitar magazine’s Vintage Guitar Hall of Fame. The magazine’s readers selected Peavey for the honor.

'66 KAY SHIRLEY of Atlanta, Ga., founder and president of Financial Development Corp. in Atlanta, has been recognized by ING U.S. Financial Services in its recognition series called “A Fresh Approach,” for her unique financial planning strategies. Shirley recently was featured in MONEY magazine, and is listed in Barron’s as one of the top 100 wealth advisers in the country. Shirley also is a member of the MSU Foundation’s board of directors.

'69 LAROY RUSHING is a civilian contractor in Kabul, Afghanistan, assisting the U.S. Department of Defense in modernizing the Afghan military. He

is retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and is a former battalion commander of the MSU Army ROTC unit.

'71 GREG HINKEBEIN of Pass Christian, president and CEO of the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, has been awarded NASA’s prestigious Public Service Medal.

'72 VERA SIMPSON GAINES of Senatobia has written a book, Call Me Jobulene: A Story of Courage and Determination, which has been published by Dorrance Publishing Co. and is available in many bookstores. DAVID C. JONES has joined BancorpSouth as senior vice president of commercial lending in Olive Branch. He is a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Banking and the University of Mississippi School of Banking.

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JAMES H. CLAYTON (M.B.A. ’74) of Senatobia, chairman of the board and CEO of Planter’s Bank and Trust Co., has been elected treasurer of the Mississippi Bankers Association.

'74 GAY T. IRBY of Long Beach, deputy chief in the Office of the Chief Information Officer for the Center Operations Directorate at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, has been awarded NASA’s prestigious Exceptional Achievement Medal. DAVE MCDONALD of Marietta, Ga., head baseball coach at Wheeler High A Fall 2005

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CLASS news School, has been named National Coach of the Year for Division I by the American Baseball Coaches Association. In 2002, the Wheeler baseball field was named in his honor. In spring 2005, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a major feature article about McDonald’s experiences in the Vietnam War.

THOMAS J. BUCKLEY (M.B.A. '76 ’78) of Columbus, a director and vice president with T.E. Lott and Co., has received the 2005 Public Service Award from the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants. PATRICIA JONES COWARD of Madison is marketing director for Ridgeland Pointe Assisted Living. DONNA BROWN SOUTH (M.A. ’79) of Panama City, Fla., a mathematics teacher at Bay High School in Panama City, has received the school’s HenshawWhitley Teacher Excellence Award, for making “major contributions to students’ lives and for significantly elevating the profession of classroom teaching in the eyes of the public.” The award includes a check for $10,000.

ROBERT CHAPMAN of Houston, '79 Texas, owner of Utility Sales Agents of South Texas, has been named 2005/06 president of the Electrical Equipment Representatives Association. KEYLON GHOLSTON, Eastern Region sales manager for Delta and Pine Land Co., has been elected president of both the Mississippi Agricultural Industry Council and the Mississippi Seedmen’s Association.

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AUSTIN SMITH of Portland, Maine, has been promoted to senior associate at Scott Simons Architects in Portland. He has more than 20 years of experience in the architectural field.

MICHAEL PETTIGREW, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, recently completed an assignment in Kabul, Afghanistan, with the Office of Military Cooperation as chief of training and fielding for the Afghan National Army. He now is assigned as intelligence cell chief, MNF-I, in Baghdad, Iraq.

'82 VICKI BLAKNEY EVELAND (M.B.A. ’83, D.B.A. ’88), a professor of marketing at Mercer University’s Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics in Macon, Ga., has received the Vulcan Award for Teaching Excellence.

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YASS ALKAFAJI, a certified public accountant and faculty member at Northeastern Illinois University, took a leave of absence to return to his native Iraq as director of administration and finance for the Ministry of Education. He returned to the United States when sovereignty was transferred to Iraq’s interim government. MICHAEL B. HUNTER of Muskogee, Okla., has received a juris doctorate at the University of Tulsa School of Law. Hunter is quality assurance superintendent for Georgia Pacific Corp. CHRISTOPHER W. JONES (M.S. ’85) of Greenville, S.C., has recently published his third book, The Inheritance. Jones also is the author of two other books, The Foursome and The Fraternity. RHONDA KEENUM of Alexandria, Va., has been named by President George W. Bush to the post of deputy assistant to the president and director of public liaison. Keenum recently served as assistant secretary for trade promotion and director general of the United States and foreign commercial service.

'87 LAURA LEIGH RICHARDSON CLARK of Collierville, Tenn., an exercise specialist at Baptist Rehabilitation, has been named one of the 50 Women Who Make a Difference in Memphis for 2005. JOHN M. RHODES, a lieutenant colonel in the Mississippi Army National Guard, is serving as 1-155 Infantry Battalion commander in Iraq. MARK E. TAYLOR of Fort Worth, Texas, has been named associate dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

'88 RENEE COTTON of Clinton, director of corporate health services for Mississippi Baptist Health Systems, has graduated from the Leadership Mississippi program, sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council’s M.B. Swayze Educational Foundation. JOHN D. DAVIS of Flowood, a neurosurgeon on the staff of the Mississippi Neurosurgery and Spine Center, has been elected president of the Mississippi Neurosurgical Society. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. DALE HANCOCK of Madison, customer service center manager for Entergy Services Inc., has graduated from the Leadership Mississippi program, sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council’s M.B. Swayze Educational Foundation.


Class news '89 MOHAMMED HOSNI, professor and head of the department of mechanical and nuclear engineering at Kansas State University, has received that institution’s Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head. THOMAS P. KENDALL of Vicksburg, vice president of commercial lending for Trustmark National Bank, has graduated from the Leadership Mississippi program, sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council’s M.B. Swayze Educational Foundation. MARTHA SCOTT POINDEXTER of Washington, D.C., has been named staff director of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry by committee chairman Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. Poindexter has spent most of her career in Washington, either as a legislative staff member or lobbyist.

'92 RONALD S. MCMINN of Collierville, Tenn., has received a master’s degree in engineering management from Christian Brothers University in Memphis. He is a project engineer for Allied Uniking Corp.

'94 DEXTER L. CRISS (PH.D. ’99), assistant professor of chemistry at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, has received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for his dedication, commitment, and outstanding performance as a faculty member. KIRSTEN J. DORNEY of Asbury, N.J., a veterinarian, recently attended the Southeast Veterinary Conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Along for the trip were husband Mark Rauschkolb (’95) and their two daughters.

'99 JAMES A. PLANT of Orlando, Fla., has joined Andrew General Contractors Inc. as senior project manager. RONALD R. WILSON of Pascagoula, program director for research and development for Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, has graduated from the Leadership Mississippi program, sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council’s M.B. Swayze Educational Foundation.

CHRIS SHIVERS has been named executive vice president of the American Brahman Breeders Association, headquartered in Houston, Texas.

'00 RICHARD SHANE MCLAUGHLIN and Nicole Harris McLaughlin have opened McLaughlin Law Firm in Tupelo.

'01 '95 JOSEPH HAGERMAN, a graduate TERRI TABOR HICKEY of Chicago, Ill., has been named press secretary and spokeswoman for Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Gidwitz.

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DANA BEKURS of Hoover, Ala., director of residence life at BirminghamSouthern College, has received the Mortar Board Community Service Award. THOMAS DUANE GORDON of Canton has been named director of finance at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson. In his spare time, he operates dollymania.net, an online news magazine dedicated to Dolly Parton.

'97 CHRISTOPHER M. CHARLES, a pediatrician at the McComb Children’s Clinic, has won the 2005 Robert S. Caldwell Memorial Award given by the Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi. JOHN M. SHAPPLEY of Hattiesburg, senior vice president and chief credit officer for The First, A National Banking Association, has graduated from the Leadership Mississippi program, sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council’s M.B. Swayze Educational Foundation.

student at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering, has won Metropolis Magazine’s 2005 Next Generation Design Competition. JENNIFER A. WEST of Memphis, Tenn., is enrolled in the master’s program in social work at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She is a member of the Student Government Association and the National Association of Social Workers, Tennessee Chapter.

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KEVA MARTIN MCDONALD has graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law and is preparing for the state bar exam. While a student, she founded the university chapter of the Innocence Project, an organization that seeks to exonerate the wrongly convicted. DESTEN S. SEGREST of Hermanville has been promoted to manager of the Claiborne County Farmer’s Co-operative.

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JOHN FORREST ENGLE of Slidell, La., is a member of the Tulane University School of Medicine’s class of 2009. He also is co-holder of a patent for a surgical device developed during a senior design project while an undergraduate at MSU.

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CLASS news FRANK E. LILLEY JR. of Jackson has completed a year as George Mitchell Scholar at the University of Limerick, Northern Ireland. The scholarship is named for the former U.S. Senate majority leader, who had a pivotal role in the Northern Ireland peace process. C. ALLEN NICHOLS of Fairlawn, Ohio, director of Wadsworth Public Library, has been named the 2005 Alumnus of the Year by the Kent State

University School of Library and Information Science. Nichols received a master of business administration degree at MSU.

Alexander Wilson Byers, Sept. 5, 2004, to KIM M. BYERS (’98) and husband Steve of Columbus, Ohio. Cecelia Ruth Dixon, Jan. 25, 2005, to JONATHAN DIXON (’02) and ERIN SPEIR DIXON (’98) of Clinton. Parker James Dobson, April 25, 2005, to DUANE DOBSON (’94) and AMY PARKER-DOBSON (’00) of Ocean Springs. Mia Camille Grass, April 11, 2005, to JANELLE MASSEY GRASS (’95) and M. KEVIN GRASS (’95) of Franklin, Tenn.

Laurel Reagan Hand, July 22, 2005, to SHANE HAND (’94, M.S. ’97) and PAIGE PASSONS HAND (’94, M.S. ’96) of Wake Forest, N.C. Lauren Grace Hinton and Katherine Michelle Hinton, Aug. 26, 2004, to MICHELLE MINGA HINTON (’95) and husband John of Alpharetta, Ga. Kayden Leigh Huffman, April 15, 2005, to WENDY CRUMP HUFFMAN (’00) and husband Richard of Houlka. Walker Camden Long, Dec. 18, 2004, to CASEY LONG (’02) and JACQUELINE MCMILLIN LONG (’01, M.B.A. ’02) of Hattiesburg.

Aubrey Lauren McKenzie, Sept. 8, 2004, to T. SCOTT MCKENZIE (’96) and Amy MCKENZIE (’95, M.TX. ’96) of Brandon. Christopher Stevenson and Sadie Jules Stevenson, June 7, 2005, to TONYA COVINGTON STEVENSON (’99) and husband Christopher. Jason Scott Walker Jr., April 21, 2005, to JASON WALKER (’95) and wife Caroline of Memphis, Tenn. Jacob Garrett Whitehead, April 26, 2005, to TRACY WHITEHEAD (’94) and wife Michele of Athens, Ga.

L.T. GUESS (’34)—93, North Manchester, Ind.; retired product specialist for Alcoa Aluminum, May 9, 2005. OSCAR R. HENDRIX (’34)—95, Madison; retired professor and former director of student personnel and guidance at the University of Wyoming and World War II veteran, April 16, 2005.

JAMES MONROE ALFORD JR. (’37)—89, Charlotte, N.C.; retired Southern Bell Telephone Co. employee and World War II veteran, May 30, 2005. FRANK F. HILL JR. (’37)— Columbia, S.C.; retired manufacturer, July 6, 2005. MURRAY F. RAY (’37)—91, Meridian; former employee of the

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Henderson McNeel Architects in the firm’s Tupelo office. JENNIFER HOLLIS of Jackson is an intern architect with Johnson Bailey Henderson McNeel Architects in the firm’s Jackson office.

KAREN CAUTHEN of Tupelo is an intern architect with Johnson Bailey

BIRTH announcements

IN memoriam AMBROSE PRENTISS FATHERREE SR. (’26, M.S. ’45)—103, Jackson; MSU’s oldest alumnus, retired director of vocational and technical education for the state Department of Education and retired president of the Mississippi Rural Rehabilitation Corp., June 22, 2005. JOHN LEWIS WILLIAMS (’33)— 97, Decatur, Ga.; retired International Harvester employee, May 29, 2005. 54 54

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IN memoriam Mississippi Law Enforcement Association, June 27, 2005. WILLIAM MILTON ROBERTS (’37)—91, Fairhope, Ala.; retired manager of Pickwick Electric Cooperative in Selmer, Tenn., and World War II veteran, July 24, 2005. MARGARET H. ARMSTRONG (’38)—89, Meridian; homemaker and former schoolteacher, May 18, 2005. JOHN WILLIAM BURRESS (’39)— 89, Tupelo; retired pharmacist and World War II veteran, March 31, 2005. CHARLES E. ESTESS (’39)—89, Clinton; retired U.S. Army colonel, retired county agent for Hinds County, and World War II veteran, June 7, 2005. MITCHELL B. BUTTS (’40)— Kennesaw, Ga.; retired International Paper Co. employee, March 2, 2005. JOHN S. FERRETTI (’40)—86, Shelby; retired founder and president of John S. Ferretti Building Materials and World War II veteran, May 28, 2005. WILLIAM BENNETT TAYLOR JR. (’40)—85, Raymond; retired businessman and World War II veteran, March 27, 2005. JACK HUDSON LUCAS (’41)— retired attorney and vice president and legal counsel for J.W. Underwood and Co., June 4, 2005. JULIUS C. REEVES (’41)—85, Jackson; retired Mississippi Department of Natural Resources employee and World War II veteran, June 11, 2005. TOXIE H. TULLOS (’41)—89, Ridgeland; retired loan officer for the United States Department of Agriculture Farmers Home Administration and World War II veteran, July 25, 2005. RODERICK A. HICKMAN JR. (’42)—84, Monroe, La.; retired professor of mathematics at Northeast Louisiana University and World War II veteran, Dec. 24, 2004. JOHN E. HUGHES JR. (’43)—83, Greenwood; retired farmer, member of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, former president of the Leflore County

School Board, and World War II veteran, Aug. 4, 2005. RYAN MCMURTRAY (’43)—83, Roswell, Ga.; retired engineer for Amoco Oil Co. and World War II veteran, June 4, 2005. FITZ ROBERT MORGAN JR. (’43)—81, Morgan City; retired farmer and World War II veteran, March 4, 2005. WILLIAM SLEDGE TAYLOR JR. (’43)—83, Como; cattleman, farmer, owner of W.S. Taylor Co., and World War II veteran, April 1, 2005. COSPER LEE TULLOS (’43)—89, Altamonte Springs, Fla.; retired management agronomist, March 31, 2005. WARREN T. MCCREIGHT (’44)— Laurel; retired assistant executive director of the Pat Harrison Waterway District, Jan. 20, 2005. THOMAS K. GRIFFIS SR. (’47)— 82, Meridian; Mason and World War II veteran, March 15, 2005. PAUL VICTOR LACOSTE SR. (’47)—81, Jackson; retired owner of Con-Plex construction company, real estate developer, and World War II veteran, May 5, 2005. SAMUEL RICHARD PINSON (’47)—79, Belzoni; retired farmer and bank courier and World War II veteran, March 6, 2005. WILLIAM M. BACKSTROM (’49)— Clarksdale; retired accountant, June 23, 2005. JOHN WILLIAM CHATHAM JR. (’49)—81, Starkville; Methodist minister and World War II veteran, March 3, 2005. CURRY S. PICKENS (’49)—82, Clinton; retired branch manager for the Federal Aviation Administration and World War II veteran, June 1, 2005. ELMO JEWEL BOUCHILLON (’50)—88, Tupelo; retired U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee and World War II veteran, June 12, 2005.

E. EARNESTINE RUTHERFORD DOHERTY (’50)—75, Alameda, Calif.; retired director of civilian training for the U.S. Naval Supply Center in Oakland, Calif., June 20, 2004. LOREN ELI O’NEAL (’50)— Success Community; retired schoolteacher, owner of A-One-All Pest Control, and World War II veteran, March 11, 2005. EUGENE A. PATOUT (’50)—New Iberia, La.; co-owner of PatoutGreenwood Insurance Agency, Feb. 20, 2005. ALLINE SALTER (’51)—82, Philadelphia; retired English teacher and three-time winner of the Mississippi Economic Council’s STAR Teacher award, April 2, 2005. JOHN E. TAYLOR (’51)—86, Canton; retired director of the chemical division of MFC Services and World War II veteran, June 13, 2005. JACK HOLMES THOMAS SR. (’51)—80, Starkville; retired U.S. Department of Agriculture employee and World War II veteran, March 11, 2005. HOYT B. WOOD (’52, M.S. ’54)— 75, New Albany; retired teacher and former first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, June 28, 2004. JOHN TIPTON LEWIS (’53)—72, Raymond; retired brigadier general in the Mississippi National Guard, March 9, 2005. AARON S. KING JR. (’54)—73, Yazoo City; former dentist and owner of Stricklin-King Funeral Home, June 16, 2005. K. WAYNE FREEMAN (’55)—72, Snellville, Ga.; farmer and newspaper editor, March 23, 2005. MARY VIVIAN MCKELL (’55)— Mobile, Ala.; homemaker, April 23, 2005. JEFF GREGORY (’57)—74, Long Beach; retired Internal Revenue Service manager and Korean War veteran, May 26, 2005.

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IN memoriam HAROLD NOBLE HUTCHISON (’57)—70, Clinton; retired accountant and auditor for the state Tax Commission and former member of the Mississippi National Guard, Oct. 14, 2003. WILLIAM FRANCIS CASKEY SR. (’58)—75, West Point; retired agent for GM&O and Illinois Central railroads and Korean War veteran, June 9, 2005. WYLIE E. DRAYTON SR. (’58)— Daphne, Ala.; retired plant manager for International Paper Co., May 30, 2005. ROBERT KELLIS HUBBARD JR. (’58)—Starkville; retired minister and sales representative, March 25, 2005. MARY HELEN JOHNSON ROOK (’58)—95, Caledonia; retired schoolteacher and librarian, June 11, 2005. ROBERT DELANEY MONTGOMERY (’60)—71, Pearl; president of Engineering Associates Inc., May 11, 2005. RICHARD K. YERGER (’60)—76, Ocean Springs; retired Internal Revenue Service agent, April 22, 2005. ROY L. HORTON (’61)—75, Clinton; certified public accountant and a former vice president of Deposit Guaranty National Bank, March 6, 2005. ELIZABETH MAY FULTON (’64)— 78, Philadelphia; retired schoolteacher, April 24, 2005. OLLIE DEAN MCWHIRTER (’64)— 91, Starkville; retired schoolteacher, home economist and 4-H specialist, May 1, 2005. HAROLD R. MCDONALD (’65)— 84, Madison; retired Internal Revenue Service employee and World War II veteran, April 5, 2005. WENDELL D. KOT SR. (’68)—59, Jackson; retired U.S. Army colonel, founder and instructor for the JROTC program at Yazoo City High School, and Vietnam War veteran, April 16, 2005. RALPH B. THOMPSON (’69)—64, McCool; retired case worker for the state Welfare Department, May 5, 2005.

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JOHN BERKELEY WALKER (’69)—58, Leland; farmer, March 29, 2005. BILLY L. OWEN (’72)—53, Florence; certified public accountant, March 23, 2005. KENNETH R. SMITH JR. (’73)—56, Memphis, Tenn.; retired quality engineering manager and Vietnam War veteran, Aug. 23, 2004. ROBERT CALVERY (’75)—62, Flippin, Ark.; superintendent of the Flippin School District and former teacher and coach. LOUIS JAMES FAGAN III (’75, M.A. ’77)—52, Tupelo; director of community services for Itawamba Community College, March 29, 2005. FRED C. HANCOCK (’75)—62, Terry; field supervisor for the state Employment Security Commission, May 25, 2005. MARGARET GILLESPIE SEWELL (’75)—58, Jackson; director of fundraising and field services for the American Heart Association and community volunteer, April 10, 2005. JAMES S. MCKINNIE (’76)—51, Byram; accountant and auditor for the state Department of Transportation, July 4, 2005. ROBINA MORRIS WHITE (’78)— 49, Kennesaw, Ga.; retired insurance medical underwriter and past president of the Georgia Association of Home Underwriters, March 5, 2005. W.A. SPEIGHTS (’84)—77, Madison; former chief security officer for the Governor’s Office, former director of the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s Cattle Theft Bureau, and World War II veteran, May 14, 2005. JAMES C. EDWARDS (’89)—66, Ethel; retired superintendent of education, May 24, 2005. MATTHEW ROBINSON BOUCHARD (’94)—37, Starkville; research associate in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Basic Science Department at MSU, April 2, 2005.

JASON MICHAEL MORRIS (’01)— 25, Starkville; research technician for the Department of Forestry at Mississippi State, April 25, 2005. Alice Turner Andersen (attended)—Madisonville, La.; owner of Andersen Medical Gas and Inspection Co., June 9, 2004. Ronald McLain (attended)—58, Philadelphia; co-founder of McLain Mechanical Contracting, March 5, 2005. Samuel Webb Scales (attended)—84, Starkville; retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, former civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army, and World War II veteran, March 25, 2005. Floyd Russell Smith (attended)— Amory; former Mississippi highway patrolman, retired Amory postmaster, and World War II veteran, Sept. 22, 2004. Marion Amelia Cartledge Hall (former employee)—77, Starkville; retired Transportation Department employee at MSU, June 15, 2005. James Kenneth Jones (former employee)—81, Amory; professor emeritus of physical education at Mississippi State, May 18, 2005. Tom Womack (former employee)—87, West Point; administrative secretary for the MSU Development Foundation 1964-1985, May 28, 2005. Paula Jones Salter (friend)—45, Forest; retired deputy director of economic development for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and former stockholder in Scott Publishing Co., May 1, 2005.


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he 2006 edition of the popular Mississippi State University calendar is ready for holiday orders. The 14month, 9� x 12� hanging wall calendar features an exciting new design, beautiful photos of campus scenes by awardwinning photographers Russ Houston and Megan Bean, as well as listings of holidays and important events.

This colorful and useful calendar is a great holiday gift for the MSU faithful. To order by credit card online via our secure Internet transaction server, go to https://www.ur.msstate.edu/calendar, or call the MSU Foundation at 662-325-7000.

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Mississippi State University Alumni Association P.O. Box AA Mississippi State, MS 39762-5526 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

Mississippi State University complies with all applicable laws regarding affirmative action and equal opportunity in all its activities and programs and does not discriminate against anyone protected by law because of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, handicap, or status as a veteran or disabled veteran.


Mississippi State Alumnus Fall 2005