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features 02

Nunnelee recalls MSU experience, influences


Experience, training prepares Extension for emergencies


‘Express Yourself’ allows participants to share creative spirit


Mississippi State University: what’s in a name?

Editorial offices:


Private giving to MSU soars; impact felt university-wide


The end result: Daria Pizzetta


Summer/Fall 2011 | Vol. 86 | No. 4 USPS 354-520 This is Our State.


Mark E. Keenum (’83, ’84, ’88)

Vice President for Development and Alumni John P. Rush (’94, ’02)

Alumni Association Executive Director and Associate Vice President, Development and Alumni Jimmy W. Abraham (’75, ’77)

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

102 George Hall, P.O. Box 5325, Mississippi State, MS 39762-5325 Telephone, 662-325-3442 Fax, 662-325-7455 E-mail,

Contact Libba Andrews at 662-325-3479 or


During a recent visit to speak with community leaders in Clay County and the Rotary Club in West Point, U.S. Congressman Alan Nunnelee returned to a place where his political life began: Mississippi State University.

April 27, 2011, began like most days in northeast Mississippi, with school, jobs and other day-to-day activities keeping residents busy. By day’s end, however, communities throughout the region had been hit by a series of powerful tornadoes that left paths of destruction and death.

Through Express Yourself, a program at Mississippi State’s T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability, individuals with severe disabilities get to do what the name implies: express themselves as artists.

Mississippi State University has a history that past, present, and future generations can be proud of, but what’s in a name? Would MSU be what it is today if it had kept its original name?

Mississippi State University has more than 121,000 living alumni, and Sarah Reaves has proudly taken her place among recent graduates with a degree she earned by way of a special scholarship. She is a shining example of how private gifts to Mississippi State further the goals of talented and committed students.

MSU graduate Daria Pizzetta competes with architects who went to the most prestigious schools around the country, such as MIT, Harvard, and Yale. But, she believes MSU graduates stand up to those of any school, and her goal is to help current MSU students achieve their dreams of becoming architects.

Allen Snow (’76)

Associate Editor Harriet Laird


Matt Watson (’05) Eric Abbott (’07)


Russ Houston (’85) Megan Bean Beth Newman

20 Campus news 30 Alumni news 42 Foundation news 47 Class news 49 In memoriam

Mississippi State University Alumni Association National Officers Jerry L. Toney, ’96, national president Camille Scales Young, ’94, ’96, national first vice president Tommy R. Roberson, ’67, national second vice president Jodi White Turner, ’97, ’99, national treasurer Karen Dugard Lawler, ’82, ’94, immediate former national president

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 1

NUNNELEE recalls MSU experience, influences By Robbie S. Ward, Photos by Russ Houston

2 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011


During a recent visit to speak

ing to their ideas and answering

marketing. Visiting with the EcoCar

with community leaders in Clay

questions. Thinking back to his

team for the second year, Nunnelee

County and the Rotary Club in West

college days and experience with his

supports practical solutions and

Point, the congressman returned to

three children—Reed, Emily and

research and development to help

a place where his political life began:

Nathan—Nunnelee knows college

solve challenges Mississippians and

Mississippi State University.

students have less of a filter with

the rest of America face.

.S. Congressman Alan Nunnelee visits plenty of places in the First District of Mississippi when the House of Representatives has a break. However, he tries to visit a place just outside his district whenever he gets a chance—a place that shaped the businessman’s and former state senator’s early beginnings.

Plenty has changed at the land

their questions than older crowds.

Nunnelee sees prices at the pump

grant university since he arrived

“College students are willing to

on campus in the fall of 1976 as a

challenge the status quo and ask why,”

and continued instability in the

freshman. However, the institution’s

Nunnelee said. “I love being around

Middle East as reasons why national

values remain constant—teach-

college students because of that.”

policy leaders, researchers and in-

ing, research, and service. Another

Meeting with the EcoCar student

spiking toward four dollars a gallon

dustry must partner to create more

constant for Nunnelee—from his

team, which recently completed a

freshman year in college to this

three-year competition of designing

A lifelong fiscal conservative, he

freshman year as a congressman—is

and building a biodiesel extended-

embraces the philosophy of the fed-

the energetic atmosphere at MSU.

range electric vehicle, Nunnelee

eral government cutting back during

fuel from within the country.

“Campus always has so much life

issued a challenge to them. He wants

hard times. However, his years as

to it,” he said, walking to the Colvard

their help to make the United States

appropriations chairman in the

Student Union for a meeting with

energy-independent by the end of

Mississippi Senate taught him the

the university’s EcoCar team, a

this decade.

importance of setting priorities, and

group of students which has reengi-

“We have a challenge before us

neered a GM sports utility vehicle to

today, and it’s your generation that

reach 118-miles-per-gallon.

will tackle it,” Nunnelee said to the

“It’s not something new,” he said

When the Tupelo native visits

group of a dozen students with ma-

of government support for research.

campus, he usually receives invita-

jors from mechanical engineering to

“Queen Isabella recognized the im-

he views research as an appropriate duty of government.

tions to speak to university leaders

portance when she funded a research

and groups. Nunnelee enjoys speak-

operation headed by Christopher

ing at groundbreakings, such as the recent event for the new facility in the MSU Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park. However, Nunnelee especially likes engaging with students, listen-

When I lost my sight, I found that God compensates by strengthening something else.

Columbus to find a route to India. “I think Mississippi State is perfectly positioned to play a role in achieving energy security in this nation,” he said. “Mississippi State represents the intersection of engineering and agriculture and

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 3

“I made it through a very difficult time in my life because of the people here.”

special meaning to him. During Nunnelee’s senior year—a time without his sight—he had a map of campus in his mind. However, he had problems if he left points of

business, and all of those things are going to be a part of the solution.” After finishing his public appearances for the day, Nunnelee turned toward the personal side of his visit to campus. He took a few minutes

seem to change with time. He recalls

reference such as sidewalks. The day

parking and campus traffic as top

he took a chance and cut across the


Drill Field, the tree got him.

“Probably the same as they are now,” he said with a laugh. While Nunnelee became interest-

“I did something I knew I shouldn’t do,” Nunnelee said, noting that he was running late that day. “I

to visit with his Bulldogs—Emily, a

ed in politics and made many friends

got tied up in one of the branches

recent graduate who works in the of-

as a student, he also experienced

of that tree and couldn’t figure out

fice of sponsored programs admin-

something hard for many college

where ‘out’ was.”

istration on campus, and Nathan, a

students to imagine. The summer

senior biochemistry major.

before he began attending MSU, his

himself from the tree, the more lost

doctors discovered a disease affect-

he got. Finally, a friend saw Nun-

Tupelo native back to his college ex-

ing his vision and informed him that

nelee’s losing battle with the tree and

perience, one of the most enlighten-

he would lose his sight.

helped him back to the sidewalk. He

Visiting campus also takes the

ing and challenging times of his life.

Nunnelee spent a year and a half,

The more he struggled to untangle

will always remember friends and

Nunnelee began serving his first

beginning his junior year, unable to

MSU faculty who helped him during

term in Congress in January, but his

see. Reflecting on those challenging

one of the toughest times of his life.

political career officially began in his

times, Nunnelee said he thinks of so

sophomore year at MSU, when he

many people who encouraged and

may have wanted to drop out,” he

decided to run as a Suttle Hall repre-

helped him.

said. “I made it through a very dif-

sentative in the Student Association.

Walking along to the Drill Field

Asked what issues he campaigned

near McCool Hall, he pointed out

on, Nunnelee said some things don’t

“that tree” near McCool Hall. It has

4 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

“Friends encouraged me when I

ficult time in my life because of the people here.” Corneal transplant surgery

allowed Nunnelee to have limited

said. “He’s also a very good MSU

Nunnelee finding funds to budget

vision after finishing school at MSU.


the program.

An avid baseball fan, he recalled

Another Tupleo native and MSU

“He’s blazed trails that have made

watching the Diamond Dogs play

alumnus, Glenn McCullough Jr.,

Mississippi a better place,” Mc-

after the surgery.

former chairman of the Tennes-

Cullough said. “And he’s doing the

see Valley Authority, was mayor of

same thing in Congress.”

“I will never forget sitting at Dudy Noble Field after my fourth year of

Tupelo when Nunnelee served in the

school and actually watching a curve

Senate. Discussing Nunnelee’s elec-

other elected officials and state lead-

ball,” he said. “I knew in my mind

tion to the House of Representatives,

ers, and it’s easy to see why when

what a curve ball did, but I’d never

McCullough said his experience

visiting with him. He’s friendly,

Nunnelee as a politician and an

working with Nunnelee showed that

elected official. He rarely speaks

Mississippi is in good hands with

from prepared remarks, opting

him in Congress.

• U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee visits with MSU’s EcoCar team. The congressman said energy independence rates as one of our nation’s top priorities.

Nunnelee garners praise from

seen one in my life.” Still today, Nunnelee has issues with his sight. Unable to see with his right eye, he has limited vision in his left eye with the help of a contact lens. However, people who have known him for years recognize his sharp memory. Nunnelee sees a connection between his limited sight and keen memory. “When I lost my sight, I found that God compensates by strengthening something else,” he said. “In college, if I put something down, I had to remember exactly where I put it.” That sharp memory also helps

instead to speak from the heart. “I think people feel you’re more

McCullough recalled working with then-Sen. Nunnelee to

real if you’re not reading,” he said.

support programs to help people

informed and has a take-charge atti-

“They don’t know if you wrote it or if

take courses at area community

tude. However, he knows he’s still a

somebody else did.”

colleges to earn a general equiva-

politician during interviews. Among

lency diploma, allowing them

all the sensitive issues he faces as an

low state senator, Mississippi Insur-

better employment opportunities.

elected official, as an MSU alumnus

ance Commissioner Mike Chaney

With 30 percent of Mississippians

he has a keen awareness of another

said what the congressman may lack

not graduating from high school

university in his district.

in sight is clearly compensated by

on schedule, the state contin-

compassion, faith and integrity.

ues to look for opportunities to

port in the fall during the Egg Bowl,

encourage people to advance their

Nunnelee grinned.

A longtime friend and former fel-

“He’s someone who is a deeply dedicated public servant,” Chaney

education. McCullough recalls

When asked which team he’ll sup-

“No comment,” he said. •

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 5


By Bob Ratliff pril 27, 2011, began like

at 4:31 p.m., killing 16 residents.

sissippi State University Extension

most days in northeast

Within seconds, more than 80

Service staff in Monroe County.

Mississippi, with school,

percent of the town was destroyed,

Stokes is an area agronomist, and

jobs and other day-to-

including all but one of 15 busi-

McClenton is the Extension coun-

day activities keep-

nesses. Most of the few remaining

ty director. Neither is a stranger

ing residents busy. By

structures were in shambles.

to emergency situations. Stokes

day’s end, however, communities

Emergency responders worked

is a member of the Mississippi

throughout the region had been

through the night to rescue survi-

National Guard, and McClenton

hit by a series of powerful torna-

vors trapped in the rubble and to

is a volunteer firefighter. Both are

does that left paths of destruction

meet the immediate needs of those

among more than 150 MSU Ex-

and death.

left homeless. By the next morn-

tension Service personnel trained

Hardest hit was the small town

ing, emergency aid and volunteers

to work in disaster areas under

of Smithville in Monroe County.

began flowing into Smithville to

the Federal Emergency Manage-

An EF-5 tornado — the clas-

begin the long recovery process.

ment Agency Incident Command

sification reserved for the most

Among the trained volunteers

powerful and destructive storms

were B.J. McClenton and Charlie

— hit the community of about 900

Stokes, both members of the Mis-

6 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

System. “Each situation is different, but experience and training help pre-

pare you to be aware of what’s go-

“The expertise

ing on around you and to respond

available in each

appropriately,” said McClenton.

county Extension

“Basic people skills are also impor-

office will be dif-

tant in emergency situations, and

ferent, but Inci-

Extension has a long tradition of

dent Command

working with the public, both in

System training

groups and one-on-one.”

and profes-

The MSU Extension Service

sional develop-

has an office in each of the state’s

ment activities

82 counties. Staffing typically

prepare county

includes an office associate, a 4-H


youth agent, one or more special-

to be valuable members of their

emergency management

ized agents and a county director.

communities’ emergency response

director. They were assigned to

The county director usually has a

teams,” Stokes said.

prepare a furniture warehouse in

specialty area, such as livestock,

Following Mississippi Emergen-

Smithville to serve as a storage

row crops, horticulture, family

cy Management Agency protocol,

area for food and other emergency

resource management, or food

the MSU Extension personnel

supplies. MSU’s Research and Ex-

and nutrition.

volunteered through the county

tension Center in Verona loaned

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 7

Each situation is different, but experience and training help prepare you to be aware of what’s going on around you and to respond appropriately.

the response team a forklift and pallets for use in the warehouse.

Nevins and nutrition educator

Livestock producers in Monroe

Naomi Fulton. Office associates

and surrounding counties were

Francis Craig and Brenda Allen

among those who suffered damage

ued to assist with the Smithville

helped direct calls that came into

from the storm.

recovery for several weeks, as did

the county office about recovery

Monroe County 4-H agent James


McClenton and Stokes contin-

8 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

“There was widespread damage to pastures and fences from

downed trees,” McClenton said.

to providing a service, it was also

programs are available to the

“The county staff spent as much

an opportunity for the students,

state’s Emergency Management

time as possible during the weeks

especially those who did not grow

Agency. In recent years, Extension

following the tornado assist-

up on a farm, to learn firsthand

Service personnel have been an

ing with fence repair and tree

what it takes to run a livestock

active part of the Katrina recovery,


operation, especially when the

the cleanup efforts during and af-

unexpected happens.”

ter last year’s Gulf oil spill and this

Graduate students and faculty members from the MSU Depart-

MSU Extension personnel

year’s flooding in the Delta, as well

ment of Animal and Dairy Sci-

also assisted cleanup and other

participation in tornado recovery

ences also helped with fence repair

recovery programs in Chickasaw,

work in 2010 and again this year.”

and pasture cleanup in Monroe

Webster and other counties hit by

The MSU Extension Service’s

County. The campus-based faculty

the late-April storms.

included Lamar Adams, Jamie

“As part of the nation’s Land-

work is carried out through four base programs: 4-H youth devel-

Larson, Ann Leed, Ty Schmidt

Grant System of universities,

opment, agriculture and natural

and Jane Parish.

Mississippi State’s mission

resources, family and consumer

includes providing educational

education, and enterprise and

very important because fence

outreach and research support

community resource development.

damage was so widespread that

to all residents of the state,” said

State specialists and area agents as-

large numbers of cattle were being

Gary Jackson, director of the MSU

sist the county staffs in delivering

confined to small pens on some

Extension Service. “In emergen-

educational outreach programs

farms,” said Parish, an Extension

cies, the expertise of our personnel

and providing university research-

beef cattle specialist. “In addition

and the resources of our outreach

based information. •

“Getting fences back up was

• MSU Express Yourself artist Shannon Herod communicates with tracker Barbara Boydstun about her painting.

‘Express Yourself’ allows participants to share creative spirit By Robbie S. Ward | Photos by Beth Newman


hannon Herod

lenges. She said she sees them all

looked at the

as treasure chests, just waiting to

sky-blue and

be unlocked.


“Many of our artists are told

canvas with a gi-

how to do everything in their

ant rainbow and

lives,” Duncan said. “Express Your-

a wooden cabin and knew her art

self allows them to explore their

piece wasn’t finished.

independent, creative sides.”

She had envisioned an old log

The university center has helped

in the foreground, with flowers

dozens of people connect with

growing near it.

their “inner artist” who otherwise

“I’ve got more to do to it,” said

couldn’t. The program follows

the painter and poet. With an art-

principles developed more than

ist’s sensitivities, she embraces her

a decade ago by abstract artist

unique perspective.

Tim Lefens to involve able-bodied

Born with cerebral palsy, Herod understands that many people can’t appreciate her traits because they

people acting as “hands” for disabled people. Often, an artist uses laser lights

tend to focus on what she is unable

to guide a “tracker,” who is acting

to do. Transported by motorized

as the painter’s hands. Many who

wheelchair and unable to use her

participate in the program cannot

arms, the 47-year-old Columbus na-

verbally communicate with their

tive resides at a local facility for persons with developmental challenges— and few op-

“Many of our artists are told how to do everything in their lives. Express Yourself allows them to explore their independent, creative sides.””

portunities to showcase her special creative spirit.

trackers. While each relationship

Fortunately, through Express

is different, they typically develop

Yourself, a program at Missis-

a unique communication to pro-

sippi State’s T.K. Martin Center

duce the finished work.

for Technology and Disability, she

Lefens created the New Jersey-

and others with severe disabilities

based Artistic Realization Tech-

get to do what the name implies:

nologies. Most often called A.R.T.,

express themselves as artists.

the nonprofit organization works

Judy Duncan, Martin’s case

to promote art techniques through

manager, has come to know many

27 studio programs around the

people with more severe chal-


Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 11


• Thalamus Brown and Judy Duncan, case manager at the T.K. Martin Center, enjoy colorful moments during a painting session. Duncan started MSU’s pro-

developmental center resident,

gram about five years ago after

said he didn’t enjoy the experience

Lefens spoke on campus. While

at first and stopped going. One of

Lefens-inspired, Express Yourself

Brown’s best friends and room-

at the Martin Center remains an

mate, T.J. Bovastro, continued to

independent operation.

be a regular participant, however.

Though his organization cur-

Bovastro, who dubbed himself

rently is opening new programs

“Sir Mix a Lot” for his particular

in Idaho, Virginia and New York,

creative style, died before com-

Lefens said he regularly encoun-

pleting his last canvas. After the

ters resistance in some locales.

funeral, Duncan asked Brown if

“Luckily, there are places like T.K. Martin where they had the vision to grab on to the breakthrough and run with it,” he said. Twice a month, Herod and

he could return to the studio to complete Bovastro’s effort. The finished work now is on display at the center’s entrance, and Brown continues to paint. Asked

other artists visit the campus

how he feels about expressing him-

studio for 90-minute sessions.

self through art, his eyes widened

Most reside at a Starkville develop-

as he explained what the experi-

mental center; others, in nearby

ence meant to “Sir Mix a Lot.”

communities. Thalamus Brown, another

“I keep coming to keep him here,” said Brown, also born with

cerebral palsy. “It also teaches me about myself.” MSU’s program currently receives funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Members of the public also are permitted to purchase

• Janey Linley poses with daughters Megan, left, and Paige and a favorite Express Yourself painting. Linley began purchasing Express Yourself paintings when her daughters attended the T.K. Martin Center.

the work, with proceeds from each sale split between the center and the artists. Dozens of their paintings line the center’s hallways. Janey Linley was one who saw

ley said. “I see abilities they have.” One recent day at her home, a tear rolled from Herod’s cheek as she discussed her life, how others don’t see

the paintings when 6-year-old

beyond her wheelchair and physical

daughters Paige and Megan attend-

limitations, how so many consider

ed the center. Paige has cerebral

her as somewhat less than a person.

palsy. While Linley now owns four

A smile replaced the tear as she spoke

paintings, one featuring two figures

about her feelings when someone

with a heart between them has spe-

purchases a painting. It makes her

cial meaning. She said it reminds

feel empowered, she added.

her of her love for her daughters, and all with cerebral palsy. “I don’t see their limitations,” Lin-

“I might have cerebral palsy, but I won’t let anyone tell me what I can’t do,” she said. •


Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 13

Mississippi State University:

What’s in a Name? By Ashley Cole Loftin


ississippi State Uni-

and a name establishes. If not for

calculations, by downloading the

versity has a history

Mississippi State’s move from col-

actual datasets. Using this database,

that past, present,

lege to university, it may easily have

the SSRC, the oldest center at Missis-

and future generations can be

remained at a standstill–a college

sippi State University, has developed

proud of, but what’s in a name?

of which few had heard and about

a Culturomics Laboratory. The

Would MSU be what it is today if

which even fewer had written.

laboratory is currently investigating

it had kept its original name? In 1878, the Agricultural and

Mississippi State went from a

overall cultural returns on invest-

college to a university in order

ment as they apply to advertising

Mechanical College of the State of

to offer more educational oppor-

icons. Measures of interest include

Mississippi was born as the state’s

tunities to future generations. It

initial appearance in American

land-grant college. In 1932, the

allowed the school to offer a greater

publications, maximum penetration,

name changed to Mississippi State

variety of studies.

and duration and rates of growth.

College. Finally, in 1958, Mississippi State University was born.

The Social Science Research

Culturomics is becoming an in-

Center at MSU is using the newly

tegral part of a new thread of social

The university’s earlier names

launched Google Ngram Viewer

science research. The public release

were praised in the past and remain

to study the social penetration of

of the Ngram database allows, for

a part of its identity. The original

different name changes in the uni-

the first time, a readily available

name impacted the university’s

versity’s history.

approach to quantify and measure

future; it is a permanent brand

In December 2010, Google

important aspects of culture. The

and a major component of history.

launched a database containing 15

Culturomics Lab uses the American

However, for MSU, the year 1958

million scanned books, available

English Google Ngram database

marked a new era.

for easy public access through the

to study the incidence of particular

Ngram Viewer or, for more complex

words or phrases among Ameri-

A name defines, a name creates,

•The team comprising the Culturomics Laboratory at the SSRC includes (sitting from left to right) Sangeetha Shivaji, research associate I; Arthur Cosby, center director; Willie Brown, graduate research assistant; (standing from left to right) Ashley Cole Loftin, facilitator and research assistant; Stephanie Aanstoos, undergraduate research assistant; Jessica Shappley, graduate research assistant; Matilda Asuzu, undergraduate research assistant; and Laura Walton, coordinator of the Media Collaboration Laboratory at the SSRC.

14 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State College

Mississippi Agricultural & Mechanical College

0.00001800% 0.00001600% 0.00001400% 0.00001200% 0.00001000% 0.00000800% 0.00000600% 0.00000400% 0.00000200% 1870














can written words, giving Missis-

College (in red) grew even more rap-

sippi State’s centennial, the period

sippi State students and faculty the

idly in American writing, reflecting

around 1978, is marked by rising

opportunity to be among the first

Mississippi State’s growing presence

incidence of Mississippi State

to explore the emerging field of

in American culture. The slight

University in the Ngram database.


bump in the occurrence of Mis-

As discussions about the history of

sissippi State College in American

Mississippi State arose, the centen-

tion to the diverse capabilities of the

writing during the latter part of the

nial also was marked by “cultural

Ngram database, the team decided

1930s most likely correlates with the

bumps” in mentions of the Missis-

to explore MSU’s history to try to

60th birthday of Mississippi State,

sippi Agricultural and Mechanical

answer the age-old question: What’s

while the final and most extreme

College and of Mississippi State

in a name?

peak likely reflects more frequent


As a starting point and introduc-

While Mississippi State’s true first

mentions in American writing on

The name Mississippi State Uni-

name was The Agricultural and

the occasion of Mississippi State’s

versity defines who the university is

Mechanical College of the State of

80th birthday.

as a family and as a university. The

Mississippi, this title was typically

With each name change, the team

university is proud, competent, and

shortened to the Mississippi Agri-

sees the level of cultural penetration

passionate about its future. Missis-

cultural and Mechanical College. As

of the institution into American

sippi State University holds strong

can be seen in the figure above, the

writing increasing. More generally,

in the written world. Like the name,

name (in green) began to catch hold

the team sees the length of time a

the university has evolved over

within written American culture

university name change requires to

time, thanks to the people who are

around the beginning of the 20th

take hold in American culture.

devoted to it and continue to change

century, growing steadily to reach its

While the institution officially

peak about 1930. This peak and sub-

became Mississippi State University

sequent fall in written usage of Mis-

in 1958, it took until about 1963

years and beyond become

sissippi Agricultural and Mechanical

for Mississippi State University to

available in the Google Ngram

College coincides, of course, with

appear more frequently than the

database, studies can be conducted

the 1932 introduction of the school’s

previous college labels. The data

to determine how and why Mis-

new name: Mississippi State College.

also reflect the effect of signifi-

sissippi State University has been

cant events in its history. Missis-

written and talked about. •

The incidence of Mississippi State

it for the better. When data for more recent

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 15

Private giving to MSU soars; impact felt university-wide By Amy D. Cagle, Photo by Megan Bean


ississippi State University has more than 121,000 living alumni, and Sarah Reaves has proudly taken her place among recent graduates with a degree she earned by way of a special scholarship. She is a shining example of how private gifts to Mississippi State further the goals of talented and committed students.

At the close of fiscal year 2011, gifts from alumni, friends and

ogy degree while maintaining a 4.0

corporations reached a staggering

grade-point average. She is proud of

$80.3 million, marking the single

her accomplishment and extremely

most successful giving year in Mis-

grateful for the opportunity to

sissippi State history. The all-time

graduate without student loans.

high number reflected an increase

“When I was offered MSU Prom-

of 23 percent over fiscal year 2010

ise, my parents were thrilled because

when $65.1 million was raised. The

they were concerned about the

outpouring of financial support is

financial strain a college education

already benefiting nearly every facet

would place on our family. It was

of Mississippi State, especially the

a definite comfort to have tuition

university’s students.

paid, and I was lucky the scholarship

In recent years, Mississippi State’s student enrollment has surged. Because of this rapid influx of students,

16 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

provided more than just financial assistance,” Reaves explained. As part of an accompanying

the university is working diligently

Promise Student Support Program,

to advance the educational goals of

recipients of MSU Promise Awards

all its students, while taking steps to

are given an opportunity to settle into

ensure their success through pro-

college life and gain beneficial study

grams which help them transition

skills. Promise recipients are offered

into college life and make satisfac-

two college support courses and one-

tory progress toward a degree.

on-one counseling with a mentor.

Reaves was among a group of


graduated in May with a psychol-

“I will never forget how Mississip-

beneficiaries of university scholar-

pi State shaped me into the scholar

ships funded with private gifts

I am today,” said Reaves, who looks

during the record giving year. As

forward to a career in academia as

an MSU Promise recipient, she

she pursues a graduate degree at

Georgia Institute of Technology. “I

to pursue their academic goals as

projects – an academic building

have definitely been a blessed Bull-

part of the Judy and Bobby Shack-

to create more centrally located

dog because of MSU Promise.”

ouls Honors College.

classrooms and planned athletic

Reaves’ accomplishment is just

In addition to scholarships, fiscal


one of many inspiring philanthropy

year 2011 also brought much-

stories at Mississippi State which

needed faculty support in the form

stream of annual support provided

take shape with each successful

of development opportunities and

the basis for successful fundrais-

giving year.

the creation of several endowed

ing efforts as alumni and friends

positions. Gifted students need

continue to understand the critical

unprecedented success in fundrais-

exceptional mentors and Mississippi

need for private gifts. The percent-

ing for Mississippi State,” said John

State is working to attract high-

age of graduates who contributed to

P. Rush, vice president for develop-

caliber faculty from across the globe

the university reached 18 percent,

ment and alumni, who serves as

as teachers and researchers.

which ranks above several major

“Fiscal year 2011 ushered in

MSU Foundation CEO. “Gener-

Gifts for faculty awards reward

ous investments from alumni and

MSU professors for cutting-edge

friends are paving the way for an

research, innovative classroom in-

even stronger institution, and their

struction and service activities with

gifts will allow the university to pur-

financial stipends. The awards are

sue national standing,” he added.

presented university-wide to recipi-

Besides MSU Promise, contribu-

ents selected by the university’s eight

tions for other scholarship programs

academic colleges, MSU-Meridian

are assisting the university as it

and the University Libraries.

During fiscal year 2011, a steady

peer institutions in the measure of support among former students.

“I will never forget how Mississippi State shaped me into the scholar I am today.”

works to provide access and educa-

Several endowed chairs and

tion to as many students as possible.

professorships were secured for

Among them are the Legacy Schol-

different academic areas, among

fiscal year 2011 were part of the

arships which help recruit talented

them the College of Agriculture

ongoing specialized initiative known

entering freshmen and provide

and Life Sciences, the College of

as StatePride. The initiative, which

them with four-year financial

Business and the James Worth

seeks funds specifically for student

awards, and Loyalty Scholarships

Bagley College of Engineering. The

scholarships and faculty support, has

which provide two- and four-year

establishment of these endowed

surpassed $64 million as it enables

financial awards based on merit.

positions brings the total number

MSU to focus on priorities set forth

at Mississippi State to 56.

by MSU President Mark E. Keenum.

The prestigious Presidential

Many of the contributions during

Endowed Scholars Program is still

The Mississippi State campus

going strong through the creation

infrastructure also benefited from

tered in 1962 to help the university

of separate endowments which

fiscal year gifts. The Lloyd-Ricks-

attract support from private sources.

provide four years of study from

Watson building reopened in fall

More information on fundraising

their earnings. Recipients of these

2010, the result of numerous private

and the StatePride initiative at Mis-

scholarships are among the most

gifts along with state funds for its

sissippi State can be found on the

elite students in the nation and

refurbishment. Private gifts were

MSU Foundation’s website at

choose to come to Mississippi State

also secured for future construction

The MSU Foundation was char-

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 17

D aria PIZZETTA The End Result:

By Sheri Pape

As a child, Daria Pizzetta dreamed of growing up and following in her father’s footsteps. Don Pizzetta owned a construction company in Biloxi, Miss., and Daria admired her father’s hard work and determination. “I always enjoyed watching my father work and knowing at the end of what he did there was a tangible, lasting result,” said Pizzetta. “I was intrigued with the process of how he got a building built.” However, running a construction company was not the ideal job for a “lady,” according to Pizzetta’s father. So she pursued the next best thing – architecture. In 1978, Pizzetta moved to Starkville to study at the state’s only School of Architecture. After an intense four years of training in Starkville and her fifth year studies at the R&D Center in Jackson, she earned her bachelor’s degree in 1983. “There were 25 students who graduated with me from the architecture program,” she commented. “In architecture, you build strong relationships with your classmates because of the amount of time you spend with them in the studio and the workload the major demands. All nighters in the studio were typical.” Upon graduation, Pizzetta returned to her home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and took a job with Shaw Walker Architects. “Shaw Walker was an excellent firm to work at as a young architect,” said Pizzetta. “I learned so much about how a project is actually designed and documented, and still apply these skills today. They gave me my first small project, a travel agency in Gulfport, and let me run with the design. It was thrilling to see it built.” Pizzetta moved to New York City in 1984 to pursue further opportunities in her profession. In 1992, she joined the firm that would become H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture LLC as an architect and designer. In 2010, she was named a partner in the firm. H3, founded by renowned architect Hugh Hardy, is a recognized leader in planning and designing public buildings such as performing arts centers, theaters, museums and libraries. They specialize in creating spaces that are unique, innovative and integrated with the surrounding architectural context.


“People do not come to H3 for a run-of-the-mill building, but because they value architecture and desire a unique design,” she described. “As a designer, I have the opportunity to creatively solve problems related to our projects, yet have a real, tangible result at the end.”

18 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

During her time at H3, Pizzetta, who specializes in cultural and library facilities, has worked on varied projects all over the country.

undergraduate architecture students at Mississippi State. “As an MSU graduate, every day I compete with architects who

Some of her major projects include the Cleveland (Ohio) Public

went to the most prestigious schools around the country such as MIT,

Library, the Richard B. Fisher Building at the Brooklyn Academy

Harvard and Yale,” stated Pizzetta. “I believe MSU graduates stand up

of Music, the Manhattan headquarters for Scholastic Inc., and the

to the graduates of any of these schools, and my goal is to help current

Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Library.

MSU students achieve their dreams of becoming an architect.”

Recently, Pizzetta led the architectural team for a new building at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) in Fort Worth, an organization dedicated to the conservation and knowledge of

In recent years, Pizzetta has discovered how to pair her love of design with another passion – cake decorating. “I take model making to a higher level through the medium of

botanical resources. The institute houses over 1 million specimens

baking,” she said. “Forming a structure out of cake employs many

in its library of dried plant samples, and is expected to become

of the same abilities and techniques as designing a building.”

the first building in Tarrant County to achieve the Leadership in

As with her professional career, Pizzetta’s culinary skills have

Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating

been recognized and rewarded. In 2008, she won the blue ribbon

System™ Platinum certification.

at the New York State Fair for both cake decorating and soup,

“BRIT is a wonderful client. They are very focused on their mission of conservation, and embraced the challenge of creating a

which was a gumbo recipe adapted from the Jackson Junior League cookbook Southern Sideboards.

functional building that is also one continuous green experience,”

Though architecture is the career path Pizzetta has chosen,

stated Pizzetta. “This building will use substantially less energy for

the most important job in her life is being a mother. She and her

heating and cooling. It features a variety of interesting renewable

husband, Charlie, are the proud parents of two daughters, Stephanie

materials, and a living roof planted in native grasses to resemble the

and Charlotte. The family loves to travel and entertain friends,

Fort Worth prairie.”

and Pizzetta devotes much of her spare time volunteering at her

“It was also one of my favorite project teams,” she continued. “The contractor worked closely with the design team to solve any

children’s schools. Pizzetta is a member of the American Institute of Architects

conflicts during the construction phase instead of merely presenting

(AIA), the American Library Association, for whom she has

them as problems.”

recently completed a new planning primer, Building Blocks for

With all of her success, Pizzetta has maintained close ties to

Planning Functional Library Space, 3rd Edition, as well as the

her home state. She was the primary planner and project manager

Society of College and University Planners. She represented

for the new United States Federal Courthouse in Jackson, a new

her hometown of Biloxi as a team member on the Mississippi

400,000 square foot facility designed under the General Services

Renewal Forum: Governor’s Commission on Recovery,

Administration Design Excellence program. She is currently

Rebuilding and Renewal.

working with Biloxi’s Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum to design a new facility that will replace the museum destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. “My grandfather was a shrimper and reigned as the King of the 1972 Biloxi Shrimp Festival,” added Pizzetta. “It will be my proudest moment to see this museum, so closely linked to my heritage, finally become a reality. Through this project, I can give back to my family, my city and my state.” Pizzetta has also built a close relationship with students and faculty from MSU. Through her encouragement, H3 began hiring co-op students from the School of Architecture to serve in one-year internships with the firm. Pizzetta makes it a point to make her firm known on campus in order to attract MSU’s many bright and talented students to New York City. In 2001, Pizzetta established an endowed scholarship in memory of her mother, Stephanie Mihojevich Pizzetta, to assist

MSU co-op student, Meredith Yale, and Daria Pizzetta at H3’s New York office. Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 19




summer ALUMNUS

Academic Advisers

gain national

recognition Burrell, left, and Huntington

Two Mississippi State student advisers are receiving major

Huntington and Burrell, along with other winners, officially

recognitions from a national association for their efforts to

accept the honors at the association’s Oct. 2-5 annual conference

assist students.

in Denver, Colo. Earlier, the Mississippi State women advanced

Instructor Carolyn E. Huntington of the university’s animal and dairy sciences department and Rita A. Burrell, graduate and distance education manager for the Bagley College of

to the national competition after being selected for the university’s 2011 Irvin Atly Jefcoat Excellence in Advising Awards. Since 1983, NACADA has honored individuals and

Engineering, each will receive honors this fall from the National

institutions making significant contributions to the improvement

Academic Advising Association.

of academic advising. The organization of more than 10,000

Huntington, also interim academic coordinator for the

members seeks to promote quality academic advising and

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been chosen for

professional development of faculty, professional advisers,

an Outstanding Advising Award in NACADA’s faculty academic

administrators and others to enhance student development.

advising category. Burrell is a selection for an Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit in the primary role category.

Over the years, MSU nominees consistently have been among top NACADA winners.

Student is

As spring tornadoes devastated parts of the South, Mississippi State broadcast


meteorology graduate student Ryan L. Stinnett was tracking those very weather systems during a final round of an

AS WEATHER hits close to home 20 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

international forecasting competition. For the Alabama resident, who went on to win place first in a three-week-long challenge, the killer tornadoes were much more than meteorological data and computer models. The weather got personal as the models showed Ryan L. Stinnett

twisters likely to appear in his hometown.

MSU EcoCar team again finds

SUCCESS General Motors vice chairman and global chief technology officer Thomas Stephens, left, visits with members of MSU’s EcoCar team, including, left to right, Matthew Doude of McCool, Julian McMillan of Brookhaven, and Brian Benoy of Dallas, Texas.

Faced with an unforeseen--and major--problem but pushing forward nonetheless, Mississippi State’s 2011 EcoCar team finished the international challenge with high honors.

competing with the malfunction. Team leader Matt Doude, a McCool native who recently earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, said the less-than-

The university group was among 16 entries completing the threeyear competition in Detroit, Mich., and Washington, D.C., in June. Just as the team’s Saturn VUE sports utility vehicle was being loaded for shipment to the finale of the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors-sponsored event, members identified the cause of a persistent overheating problem--a blown head gasket.

ideal circumstance taught him and other team members many positive lessons. “We came together to arrive at the best solution,” he said. “We didn’t give up.” While MSU placed first in 2010 and third in 2009, this year’s team was held to a sixth-place overall finish. It did place first in a number of

A key engine component, the head gasket would haunt the team throughout the intense matchup with 15 other top universities from the United States and Canada.

categories, including student presentations. Molen also was honored with the Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award, with judging based primarily on student recommendations.

Unable to locate a replacement part in this country, they had one

With EcoCar now history, Team MSU already is preparing for the

shipped overnight from Germany. Even with the gasket in hand, there

next challenge. It previously accepted an invitation to enter EcoCar2,

was a critical decision of whether to repair the vehicle or continue

another three-year challenge that, this time, involves a Chevy Malibu.

His parents and other family members live near Birmingham in Jefferson County and this wasn’t the first time he personally

third consecutive year, Mississippi State’s

damage. Ultimately, what became one

forecasting team won the championship.

of the largest single-system tornado

Beyond the team’s honor, Stinnett was

outbreaks in U.S. history left many

had to deal with the effects of powerful

among 64 top student participants advancing

millions of dollars in damage and more

tornadoes. As a freshman at Oak Grove High

to an extended round of the competition.

than 200 deaths in Alabama and 30 in

School in Bessemer, his school was hit by an

Doug Gillham, MSU’s faculty adviser for

F5 tornado, the highest and most destructive

the forecasting team, said Stinnett’s win “puts

level in National Weather Service ratings.

an exclamation point on the entire season.”

This year, he was one of hundreds of

Having tracked the dangerous weather

Mississippi alone. “It gave me a reality check,” he said, adding that while his parents made it safely, several friends lost all their possessions.

participants in the WxChallenge, an annual

system for days before the clouds turned

weather forecasting contest open to North

destructive, Stinnett said he knew the

in May, Stinnett now is making plans for a

American students and professionals. For the

recent fast-moving front would cause

career in television weather forecasting.

Having received an MSU master’s degree

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 21




summer / FALL


Va. medieval history

SCHOLAR HEADS honors college Snyder Christopher A. Snyder heads Mississippi State’s Shackouls Honors College as the inaugural dean. Jerry Gilbert, university provost and executive vice president, said Snyder’s appointment as dean represents an elevated leadership role from the previous position of college director. Snyder officially began work Aug. 1, he added. An authority on medieval history, Synder has been serving

“We are delighted to have a person of Dr. Snyder’s caliber to assume the role as the first dean,” Gilbert said. “He will have an opportunity to build on a solid foundation of excellence and take us to a new level.” Following his visit to Starkville, Snyder said the students with whom he had interacted impressed him with their eagerness to take on new challenges.

since 2006 as director of the honors program and professor of

“My first priority will be getting to know them better and

European history at Marymount University in Arlington, Va.

hearing their ideas about honors education so we can, together,

Gilbert said MSU takes pride in the stature and strides achieved by the Shackouls Honors College since 2006, when a $10 million gift by Bobby and Judy Shackouls of Houston, Texas, led to its creation. The college currently enrolls more than 1,000. For more, visit


20,000 WITH RECORD ENROLLMENT MILESTONE 22 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

create a rigorous and distinctive curriculum for the college,” Snyder said. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in medieval history from Emory University, and a bachelor’s in medieval and renaissance studies from West Virginia University.

Mississippi State University surpassed the 20,000 student enrollment milestone with a 2011 fall semester headcount of 20,424, a 3.97 percent increase from last year. The gain of 780 students from last year’s 19,644 total shows MSU on the rise for the seventh consecutive year. “Despite difficult economic times, we have worked hard to ensure that Mississippi State continues to offer the highest quality educational experience. Included in that experience is a friendly, welcoming and nurturing atmosphere that provides an environment for students to succeed,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum.

Keenum part of effort to assess world food needs MSU President Mark E. Keenum, left, joined other panelists recently at a Global Agricultural Development symposium that addressed U.S. progress on worldwide food security. Courtesy, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Joining former U.S. cabinet officers, international agency representatives and other policy makers, Mississippi State

most in need around the world, especially

the world, and MSU has hosted a number

innocent children.”

of the groups.

He was the sole U.S. university

“I see a great opportunity for our

President Mark E. Keenum is part of an

representative at the event chaired by

faculty, staff and students to be involved

effort to assess strategies to deal with

former agriculture secretary

in an effort that has global implications

world food needs.

Dan Glickman.

and global benefits,” Keenum said.

The university’s chief executive

During his presentation to

A former USDA undersecretary,

was among invited panelists at a recent

approximately 300 participants, Keenum

Keenum recently launched the

Washington, D.C., symposium convened

outlined the unique contributions land-

International Institute at MSU to

by the Global Agricultural Development

grant institutions make to research,

coordinate and focus university

Initiative, a part of the Chicago Council

outreach and product development that

involvement in academic, research and

on Global Affairs. Keenum is serving a

target both domestic and international

outreach opportunities around the world.

three-year appointment on the council’s

hunger issues.

advisory group. “We are addressing the progress of

Keenum said he long has been active

“More than a billion people on our planet are hungry,” Keenum said.

in international affairs and agricultural

“There are tremendous needs that

U.S. leadership on issues related to global

development, especially with the

institutions like Mississippi State can

food security,” Keenum said, observing

Cochran Fellowship Program of the U.S.

help address with technical assistance

that the group is on record in support of

Department of Agriculture. That effort

and research designed to help people

Congressional funding “to help those

provides training for Fellows from around

help themselves.”

become the future leaders of our state and

and the College of Business with 2,221.

Among the enrollment gains, figures show increases in African American student enrollment, and the university

nation,” Keenum said. Keenum has set an enrollment goal of

Other current MSU enrollment information includes:

continues to attract a high percentage of

22,000 by 2015, and he said current enrollment

Mississippi students.

shows the university is on track toward meeting

enrollment, an 8.7 percent increase from

that objective.

last year.

“We tell students that no matter their interest or career path, Mississippi State can help them get there. This all-time record enrollment figure, especially the high

--A 20.7 percent African American

Fall enrollment includes 700 students at the university’s Meridian campus.

--72.7 percent of MSU students are from Mississippi.

The College of Arts and Sciences remains

percentage of students from Mississippi, is

the largest academic unit with 5,241 students,

a strong indication of the confidence those

followed by the College of Education with

students have in our ability to help them

3,816, the College of Engineering with 3,172,

--51 percent of students are male, and 49

percent female. --An average ACT score of 23.6.

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 23




summer / FALL


MSU again on national community service honor roll Mississippi State is being included for the third consecutive

“It helps them to become better citizens, but also they are

year on the President’s Higher Education Community Service

practicing skills that will help them as they pursue a career,”

Honor Roll for engaging students, faculty and staff in meaningful

Smith said. “Service involves critical thinking, problem solving

community service.

and cooperation, all of which help them to be successful in the

Administered by the federal Corporation for National and

professional realm.”

Community Service, the recognition includes higher education

Activities and service initiatives that qualified MSU for the honor

institutions that provide significant support for volunteering, service-

included, among others, research conducted by the Mississippi

learning and civic engagement activities.

Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Forest and Wildlife

CNCS was created by Congress in 1993 to connect Americans

Research Center and the College of Veterinary Medicine; student

of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to give back to their

efforts coordinated by the Maroon Volunteer Center; Mississippi

communities and their nation. The Washington, D.C.-based agency

in Motion; Day One Leadership Community; Service DAWGS;

merged the work and staffs of two predecessor organizations,

Early Childhood Institute; LeaderSTATE Development Camp; and

ACTION and the Commission on National and Community Service.

summer engineering academies and learning programs.

MSU is among five of the state’s senior colleges to be included on

In recognizing this year’s winners, Patrick A. Corvington, chief

the recently announced 2010 honor roll. More than 640 nationwide

executive officer of CNCS, said that more college graduates are

were recognized for their positive impact last year on issues from

going into the world with a commitment to public service. They

literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth.

have the knowledge that they can make a difference in their

Cade Smith, MSU assistant dean of students, is responsible for

own communities and their own lives through service to others,

student leadership and community engagement.

he added.

He said service is part of the land-grant institution’s core mission.

“We salute all the Honor Roll awardees for embracing their civic

When students take part in service projects that help others, they are

mission and providing opportunities for their students to tackle

also helping themselves, he observed.

tough national challenges through service,” Corvington said.

Waide named professor of the year by SA Instructor Whit Waide is the

“We are honored to be able to

Mississippi State University Student

administration. He also serves as

present this award to such a deserving

Association’s selection for its 2010-

student pre-law adviser.

individual who earnestly works every

11 Professor of the Year Award. The award is designed to identify


political science and public

Additionally, he is a member of

day to have his students succeed

the campus Honor Code Council,

while learning in a fun environment,”

the individual considered by the

chair of the publication board for

said SA President Rhett Hobart.

student body as the most influential

the Reflector student newspaper

teacher who makes an exceptional

and faculty adviser to Kappa Alpha

the great dedication and passion

impact on their lives on a daily basis.

social fraternity.

Professor Waide shows for each of

Since joining the faculty in 2006,

A West Point native, Waide is a

“This award is a testament to

his students, as well as Mississippi

Waide has taught law and government

graduate of Millsaps College and the

State University,” the Greenville

classes in the department of

University of Mississippi law school.

junior added.

24 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

Peaveys help send grads toward

THEIR FUTURES Nearly 2,400 Mississippi State students were candidates for spring-semester diplomas. The university held two commencement programs, one Friday night [April 29] and one Saturday morning. Being honest is one key to having a

Hartley Peavey encouraged graduates to

She suggested graduates also consider

successful career, Hartley Peavey told

take an honest assessment of their own talents

supporting these programs with their time and

Mississippi State graduates at spring

and gifts to help determine who they want to

resources or find other ways to give back in


be and what they want to do as they navigate

their communities.

Peavey, an alumnus of the university who founded Peavey Electronics Corp.,

through life and careers. He reflected on his own experiences,

Hartley Peavey is a native of Meridian; Mary Peavey, of Starkville.

was speaker for one of the university’s two

which led him to found what has become one

Also a Starkville native, Richard

commencement programs. Alumna Mary

of the world’s largest musical instrument and

Holmes entered MSU in the summer of

L. Peavey, his wife and president of their

professional sound equipment manufacturers.

1965. He went on to receive a general

Meridian-based international business,

“I had to do one of the hardest things I’d

addressed graduates at the Friday

ever done. I had to look in the mirror and be

night program.

honest with myself,” Peavey said of giving up

Nearly 2,400 students were candidates for spring-semester diplomas. Also from East Mississippi, two other distinguished graduates were honored during the commencement programs. On Friday night, Macon native Earnest

liberal arts degree in 1969 and a master’s in microbiology in 1972. His entry to MSU helped pave the way for

his dream to become a guitarist in a rock band

an African American student population that

and instead embracing the talents he had for

today is almost 3,900--20 percent of the total

building equipment.

enrollment and a larger proportion of black

“Success, I think, is feeling good about what you do,” Peavey said, adding that money is not the correct measure of

students than at any other historically white land-grant institution in the nation. Deavenport, a 1960 chemical engineering

W. “Earnie” Deavenport, the retired head

success. He also encouraged students to

graduate, retired in 2001 as Eastman’s

of Eastman Chemical Co. now residing in

practice “stick-ability.” He said being able

chairman and chief executive officer. He

Kiawah Island, S.C., accepted an honorary

to persevere through difficulties to finish

also holds a master’s degree from the

doctorate for contributions in the business and

projects is of utmost importance.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an

engineering fields. Saturday morning, Dr. Richard Holmes of Columbus, the first African American to

Both Hartley and Mary Peavey encouraged graduates to be givers.

honorary doctor of laws from Kings College. He has been actively involved for many

“When you do go out and get that job, I

years with MSU and its Bagley College of

attend MSU, received an honorary doctorate

hope that you will give back,” Mary said. She

Engineering, including current service as a

for contributions to the practice of medicine

told graduates about her own work supporting

member of the Dean’s Advisory Council.

and the expansion of educational opportunity. He

after-school programs so that young people

Additionally, he serves on the MSU

currently practices in Columbus and Meridian.

can be in positive, supervised environments.

Foundation Board of Directors.

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 25




summer / FALL


MSU taking orders for

Cristil biography Orders now are being accepted for the biography of Mississippi State’s legendary sports broadcaster. “Jack Cristil: The Voice of the

of the local U.S. Highway 82 Bypass in his honor. Praising Salter for his extensive preparation to write the book, Cristil told

Bulldogs” is written by university alumnus

the large audience in attendance, “My

and veteran newsman Sidney L. “Sid”

parents came from the old country, and

Salter. Printed by Pediment Publishing

my father died when I was very young

of Battle Ground, Wash., the 224-page

(and) I didn’t really know him. My mother

hardcover edition also comes with a

reared six children, so she didn’t talk very

free compact disc of the radio veteran’s

much about things of that nature to us. I

greatest Bulldog football and basketball

was just a kid, you know.

game calls. Best-selling author and fellow alumnus

“(Sid’s) found out more about my parents than I ever knew,” the

John Grisham is providing the book’s

broadcasting icon continued. “He’s done

foreword. Grisham also has granted use of

a world of research, and it’s been very

the first non-coach/non-athlete inducted

Jack’s performance in the audio CD of his

interesting to me. I don’t know how

into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

novel “Bleachers” to be used on the audio.

much we’re going to get into the final

Scheduled to ship Nov. 4—in time

The book’s author also has carved out

portion of the book, the ballgames and the

a career of distinction in his home state.

for Christmas—the $29.95 book/CD

ramifications thereof, but I’m very, very

In early March, Salter returned to his alma

package may be ordered online at www.

pleased with the methods he’s using, and

mater as journalist-in-residence.

I’m amazed at the amount of research he’s



Editions also should be in bookstores by Nov. 1. All book-sale proceeds will support

A longtime Tupelo resident, Cristil

MSU’s 2004 Alumnus of the Year, the Philadelphia native was a John C. Stennis Scholar in Political Science as a student.

served as the “voice of the Bulldogs” from

At age 24, he became publisher and editor

1953 until his retirement earlier this year

of the weekly Scott County Times in

the newly established Jacob S. “Jack”

due to health reasons. During a 58-year

Forest, continuing in that role for many

Cristil Scholarship in Journalism in MSU’s

career, he called more than 1,500 play-by-

years before becoming Perspective editor

communication department.

play actions.

at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

“It has been a real joy to work with

His distinctive voice and focused

Salter is a two-time winner of the J.

Jack Cristil in telling his story,” Salter

descriptions of actions on the field and

Oliver Emmerich Award, considered the

said. “Jack has worked hard and been a

court earned him numerous honors,

premier annual honor of the Mississippi

full partner in this process.

including the Lindsey Nelson Award as the

Press Association. In 1996-97, he became

“The truth is that Jack’s life story

nation’s premier sports broadcaster. He also

the first holder of the Kelly Gene Cook

would have been an extraordinary story

received the prestigious College Football

Chair of Journalism at the University of

without his association with Mississippi

Foundation Chris Schenkel Award and


State,” Salter added. “I think that’s the

the Ronald Reagan Lifetime Achievement

surprise of this book for Jack’s longtime

Award of the National Association of

largest newspaper, Salter served as

fans and friends.”

Sportscasters and Sportswriters.

weekday host for a statewide talk show

Cristil spoke about the book recently during a campus ceremony to name part 26 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

He was named Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year a record 21 times and became

In addition to duties at the state’s

covering politics and other current issues on the Super Talk Mississippi Radio Network.

MSU loses

beloved mascot

Stevenson named

MSU diversity, equity director

TaTonka TaTonka Gold, Mississippi State’s beloved mascot from 2001-09, was euthanized July 5 at the College of Veterinary Medicine after his health had steadily declined over the past few years. Also known as “Bully,” “Tonka” and “T-Money,” Bully XIX was born in 2000


and served faithfully as the mascot for nine years, attending many Bulldog football and basketball games, alumni functions, and State-themed parties. In 2006, he sired State’s

A Mississippi State alumnus long

Previously, the Brooksville native

current mascot, Bully XX (Champ), who took

experienced in developing diversity

was assistant dean for diversity

over his father’s duties as MSU’s mascot in

programs on campus is the new

and student development in MSU’s

2009 and still serves the role today.

director of the university’s Office of

James Worth Bagley College of

Diversity and Equity Programs.

Engineering. Among other positions

technician at MSU’s College of Veterinary

on campus, he has served as an

Medicine, served as his foster mom and

assumed his new role April 1, after

admissions counselor in the Division

social secretary.

serving as interim director since

of Student Affairs.

Tommy J. Stevenson officially

June. He and others in the office

Before going on to earn a

Lisa Chrestman, an animal health

TaTonka was the first mascot purchased outright by the MSU athletic department. His

work to ensure the land-grant

doctoral degree from Bowling Green

predecessors were donated either by alumni,

institution adheres to all federal

(Ohio) State University, Stevenson

students or university employees.

guidelines related to equal opportunity

received his bachelor’s and master’s

and regulatory compliance.

degrees from MSU.

“We are excited to have Dr.

“I really care about Mississippi

Stevenson as a permanent member

State, and I am grateful for the

of the leadership team and look

opportunities that MSU has given

forward to his continuing leadership

me,” he said. “I hope everyone who

in increasing diversity on our

works at this great institution has

campus,” said Provost and Executive

similar experiences.

Vice President Jerry Gilbert. Stevenson serves on President

“I believe that Mississippi State is a great place where people can

Mark E. Keenum’s executive

come and achieve their personal

council. Assisting the president,

and professional aspirations,”

Gilbert and other campus leaders

Stevenson added.

in achieving the goals of a diverse

For more about MSU’s Office of

faculty and staff also is among his

Diversity and Equity Programs, visit

primary responsibilities.

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 27




summer / FALL


Egg Ball to benefit

MISSISSIPPI KIDS COUNT Those who want to continue a tradition of helping the state’s

Center, said that last year’s event had 375 in attendance and

children can begin Nov. 25 at the 2nd annual Mississippi KIDS

raised approximately $70,000. Proceeds go to Mississippi

COUNT Egg Ball.


Join others who want to improve the lives of Mississippi’s young people, families and communities through support of the

The event begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person. Funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Mississippi

KIDS COUNT program at Mississippi State. Mississippi KIDS

KIDS COUNT operates under the Mississippi State SSRC

COUNT is the leading resource for comprehensive research and

Family and Children Research Unit, investigating issues that

information on the state’s children and is a catalyst for enhancing

affect the health, safety and well-being of children and families.

positive outcomes in their lives. Event organizers have scheduled an evening at the Hunter

“Mississippi State is proud to be the home of Mississippi KIDS COUNT,” said the university’s first lady Rhonda Keenum.

Henry Center filled with entertainment by the King Beez of

“I see firsthand the significant contributions made on behalf of

Memphis. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served, and a silent

the state’s children and am excited to be a part of this tradition,

auction featuring autographed cowbells, vacation packages, and

bringing alumni and friends together to lift up our kids in such a

artwork will be held.

unique way.”

Linda H. Southward, Mississippi KIDS COUNT director and research professor in the MSU Social Science Research

28 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

Tickets are available for purchase at For more information, call 662-325-1590.

OSWALD ASSUMES ROLE AS DEAN OF BUSINESS The new dean of Mississippi State’s College of Business began her role in July. Sharon Oswald, previously management department head at

Oswald has been a featured speaker on such topics as U.S. health care reform implementation, including at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Prague and other locations in the

Auburn University for 12 years and the Colonel George Privett

Czech Republic. Her most recently published work includes a

Professor, has more than 20 years experience as a teacher

20-year chronicle of health care reform in the Czech Republic.

and administrator, with special focus on strategic planning

In addition to administrative and service activities, Oswald

and management. Previously, she was administrative director

has been a strategic planning consultant and facilitator for

and director of employment and development for an Alabama

numerous businesses and organizations. She has developed a

medical center.

series of 10 management training classes for medical center

Oswald holds a doctorate in business administration and an MBA from the University of Alabama. She also is an Auburn journalism graduate. “Dr. Oswald has an outstanding record of scholarship and

managers, among other accomplishments. Formerly director/coordinator for the Southern Management Doctoral Consortium, she currently serves on the editorial boards for both The Mid-Atlantic Journal of Business and

research and a strong dedication to undergraduate and graduate

the Journal of Management Studies. She is a member of the

education, including international experience,” said MSU Provost

Academy of Management, Southern Management Association,

and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert.

Beta Gamma Sigma, Alpha Kappa Psi, and Sigma Iota Epsilon.


308 E. PEARL ST., SUITE 101 JACKSON, MS 39201

· 25,000 people work Downtown · Apartments are 100% leased · Over 100 events annually Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 29




summer / FALL




The 2011-12 national board of directors is led by officers (L-R): Karen Dugard Lawler, immediate former president; Jodi White Turner, treasurer; Jerry L. Toney, president; Camille Scales Young, first vice president; and Thomas R. “Tommy” Roberson, national second vice president.

The 2011-12 national board of directors is comprised of individuals from around the country who will serve from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012. NATIONAL PRESIDENT:



Jerry L. Toney, ‘96

Jodi White Turner, ‘97, ‘99

Cheryl W. Thurmond, ‘81



Camille Scales Young, ‘94, ‘96


Karen Dugard Lawler, ‘82, ‘94



Thomas R. “Tommy” Roberson, ‘67


Audrey T. “Taneka” Milliner, ‘07

David Randall “Randy” Allen, ‘87

30 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

Sandra L. Murray

CENTRAL 1 REGION DIRECTOR: Lea Margaret M. Hamilton, ‘90



Thomas R. “Tommy” Byrd, ‘81

Sarah R. McDonnell, ‘03


Steven A. “Steve” Corbitt, ‘76

Andrew C. Frank, ‘91

Angela W. Dallas, ‘82 John K. Pitts, ‘04



Bradley M. “Brad” Reeves, ‘02

Donna B. Rupp, ‘93

H. Riley Nelson, ‘99, ‘01

Daniel J. “Jason” Ryder, ‘00



Hillary Phillips Jordan, ‘03

John Paul “J.P.” Walker, ‘05



Lori B. Perkins, ‘93


Colleen F. Johnson, ‘83

Ronald E. “Ron” Black, ‘80



Thomas P. “Tom” Kendall, ‘89


Jon D. Sanders, ‘93, ‘94

Christie D. Walters, ‘98



WASHINGTON COUNTY CHAPTER DIRECTOR: Charles “Parker” England, ‘01, ‘02

Christine E. Cuicchi, ‘94, ‘99

James D. “Jim” Pepper, Jr., ‘69, ‘91




Kenneth “Rhett” Hobart

Jessica H. Maholm, ‘02

John “Carl” Weihing, ‘70



Meghan J. Millea

Courtney A. Jones, ‘02, ‘06


Susan J. Hill, ‘93

Gary A. Futch, ‘75


Daniel E. “Danny” Hossley, ‘65

Amanda L. Bell



Kimberly C. “Kim” Fandel, ‘87, ‘94


David T. Cozart, ‘86

William H. “Beau” Lacey, ‘69, ‘72

James J. “Jim” Rouse, ‘62

Jonathan J. Lee, ‘00, ‘02

Kieu-Anh Tran, ‘96



Paige H. Hunt, ‘00, ‘06

Beth C. Clay, ‘67


Michael W. “Mike” Criswell, ‘80


John C. Dowdle, ‘97




Matthew B. “Matt” Frederiksen, ‘00

Paul R. Hopkins, ‘91

Jimmy W. Abraham, ‘75, ‘77

Stephen R. Woo, ‘94, ‘95

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 31



11June Picnics

summer / FALL


‘CELEBRATE MISSISSIPPI’ Each summer, several Mississippi

State alumni chapters around the country

perform for the New York City crowd. On June 18, the Mississippi Society

gather together with other universities

of Washington, D.C., hosted the 21st

from the state to “Celebrate Mississippi.”

Annual Mississippi on the Mall. Held at

These events bring together thousands of

Henry Bacon

alumni and friends who proudly celebrate

Ball Field, alumni visited with MSU staff

their Southern heritage and traditions.

and chapter representatives.

On June 11, the 32nd Annual

The Atlanta, Ga., chapter participated

Mississippi Picnic in Central Park was

in Mississippi in the Park on June 25.

hosted at Bandshell and 72nd Street in

Held at Chastain Park in the Buckhead

New York City. The picnic featured many

district, alumni and friends dined on

of Mississippi’s most talented artists

Southern foods while listening to live

displaying and selling artwork, Mississippi

music provided by Homegrown, SaNa

writers signing books, as well as the

Blues and The Electromatics. This picnic

ever-popular delicious Southern cuisine

was organized by the Mississippi Society

featuring a “Taste of Mississippi.”

of Georgia.

Guests enjoyed down-home blues

Alumni from the Atlanta metro area gather for a June 25 picnic in Chastain Park.

For more chapter events happening this

performed by Mississippi’s own, Eddie

year, please visit www.alumni.msstate.

Cotton. Jon Paris was also on hand to


The Mississippi Society of Washington, D.C. hosts the 21st Annual Mississippi on the Mall.

Senior Celebration honors

newest members of

ALUMNI FAMILY On April 14, the Alumni Association welcomed the 2011 graduating class as the newest members of Bulldog alumni. More than 1,000 students attended the event held at the Hunter Henry Center gardens. 

 The annual Senior Celebration was cosponsored by the Division of

the growing alumni base. Commencement ceremonies were held April 29 and 30. Mississippi State now boasts nearly 121,000 alumni around the world, with a goal of having 40,000 active members of the Alumni Association by

Student Affairs and the Student Association. The festivities included

the end of the year. To join your Alumni Association and help us reach our

crawfish, MSU ice cream, live music, and lots of fun. 

goal, make a gift to the MSU Fund. For details on how to join, please visit

This year, the university welcomed more than 2,000 new individuals to

32 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

The Road Dawgs Bus traversed the south during May

ROAD DAWGS HIT 12 CITIES IN 5 DAYS Even though it was summer in the south,

“This year, the Road Dawgs tour was

served as the corporate sponsor for the tour. 

the spirit of fall kicked off in May with the

about much more than Mississippi State

2011 BancorpSouth Road Dawgs Tour.

football,” said Jimmy Abraham, associate

friends all around the state and region, and

vice president for development and alumni

see the excitement surrounding our program

the Alumni Association and the Bulldog

and executive director of the MSU Alumni

and Mississippi State as a whole,” Mullen

Club that encourages enthusiasm and

Association. “It was about our university

said. “We haven’t accomplished all the

school spirit for the upcoming football

letting our state know that we care.” 

goals we’ve set, but we’re working together

Road Dawgs is a partnership between

season. Several university representatives

Road Dawgs resumed on Thursday with

“It was great to get out and visit our

to reach the mountaintop. And the support

joined Coach Dan Mullen for alumni

breakfast in Columbus, lunch in Tupelo,

and enthusiasm we saw at each stop along

gatherings across Mississippi, Tennessee

and dinner in Memphis, Tenn. The bus

the way shows that the people of our state

and Georgia. 

took a detour on the way to Tupelo to visit

are ready to take the next step.”

The 12-city tour began in Brookhaven on Monday, May 9, where the roadies met a packed house at Poppa’s restaurant.

Smithville, a town ravaged by a tornado in April. 

 Mullen met with Smithville High School

Road Dawgs concluded on Friday, May 13, with lunch in Nashville, Tenn., and dinner in Atlanta, Ga. 

They then made stops in Biloxi, Lucedale,

principal Chad O’Brian and students

Laurel, and Meridian before returning to

displaced by the storm. O’Brian then joined

largest ever, and many of our events were

Starkville Tuesday night. 

the Road Dawgs crew for a tour of the

standing room only,” said Abraham. “We

cleanup efforts. MSU representatives met

are very thankful for the support the alumni

Bulldogs traveled to Vicksburg to meet

with Smithville mayor Gregg Kennedy and

chapters have given to the Road Dawgs

with the Warren County Chapter and visit

other town employees, residents

tour, and we appreciate so much all the

alumni affected by the rising floodwaters of

and volunteers. 

Bulldog fans who came out to visit

Wednesday morning, the band of

the Mississippi River. The team received a

Among the stops during the week, the

“Our attendance this year was the

with us.”

bird’s-eye view of the river region as they

Road Dawgs bus made appearances at five

flew north to Greenville for Wednesday’s

BancorpSouth branches across the state.

visit the Alumni Association Facebook

dinner event. 

This is the second year BancorpSouth

page at

For photos of the Road Dawgs events,

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 33




summer / FALL


Alumni celebrate


the Alumni Association and associate vice president for development and alumni. “We enjoy this special time each year reminiscing and reliving many wonderful maroon and white memories.” 

 This year, more than 170 alumni attended the class reunions, making it one of the highest attended reunion events in years. Pictures of the event can be viewed on Facebook at msstatealumni. Next year, the Alumni Association will host reunions for the classes of 1937, 1942, 1947, 1952, 1957, and 1962.

The 2011 class reunions were held March 25-26 on campus. This year, the association celebrated anniversaries for the classes of 1936, 1941, 1946, 1951, 1956, and 1961. Reunion attendees enjoyed an open house and gathering Friday afternoon at the alumni headquarters in the Hunter Henry Center. Class photos were taken that afternoon, and class receptions were held that evening. 

 On Saturday, alumni enjoyed a group breakfast and campus tours, as well as a grand luncheon at the Bryan Athletics Administration Building. Many attendees enjoyed an afternoon baseball game, where the Bulldogs beat SEC opponent Auburn 15-8. 

 “Class reunions are a wonderful opportunity for us to welcome our alumni back home,” said Jimmy Abraham, executive director of

Dr. Roy Ruby, retired MSU administrator, speaks to fellow members of his 1961 graduating class.

BYRD AND COATS HONORED WITH FACULTY AWARDS Dr. Sylvia Byrd and Dr. Karen Coats were both honored as 2011 recipients of faculty awards sponsored by the Mississippi State University Alumni Association.
 Byrd, an associate professor in the department of food science, nutrition and health promotion, received the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award. She is a 1982 graduate of Appalachian State University with a bachelor of science in home economics. Byrd received her master’s degree in health education in 1985 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, followed by a doctoral degree from Mississippi State in 1993 in nutrition. Byrd believes in empowering her students to excel (Left to right) Byrd, Abraham and Coats 34 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

in the classroom and in the real world. She creates high


former national presidents

establish scholarship

Former national presidents of the Alumni Association board of directors present the university with a check to establish a scholarship in honor of Drs. Jimmy and Patti Abraham in February.

In its 126-year history, the MSU

Foundation, the endowed scholarship

“Patti and I are humbled and

Alumni Association has actively

is an open fund that can benefit from

honored that our former national alumni

participated in the fundraising efforts

additional contributions.

association presidents chose to establish

of the university. Last winter, a group

The national presidents scholarship

this scholarship in our name,” stated

of former presidents of the national

has been established in honor of Jimmy

Abraham. “Mississippi State means so

board of directors established a student

Abraham, associate vice president for

much to both of us, and we are proud

scholarship in honor of the association’s

development and alumni and executive

that this will help future generations of

current executive director.

director of the MSU Alumni Association,


The National Alumni Presidents

and his wife, Patti. Abraham began work

Additional donations can be made

Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to

for MSU in 1977 in the Division of

to the National Alumni Presidents

entering freshmen or community college

Student Affairs, and joined the Alumni

Endowed Scholarship fund at any time.

transfer students who have proven

Association in his current role in 2005.

For more information, contact the MSU

academic excellence and leadership

Patti is a retired director of the MSU

Foundation at 662-325-7000.

potential. Established through the MSU

Research and Curriculum Unit.

expectations and thrives on challenging her students to go

Coats received her bachelor of science and master of science

beyond the textbook. Her passion for teaching and nutrition

degrees in 1981 and 1983, respectively, from Southeastern

extends beyond the MSU campus. She founded the weeklong

Louisiana University. She earned her doctorate from Louisiana

Fun with Food summer camp, helping elementary students

State University in 1987.

understand culinary and nutrition principles. “Dr. Byrd is an excellent example of the quality of our

As a mentor to graduate students, Coats gives encouragement and support to her students on a daily basis. She provides

teachers at Mississippi State,” said Dr. Jimmy Abraham, associate

constructive criticism that results in the betterment of her

vice president for development and alumni and executive director

students. Coats is more than simply a mentor, she is a friend. Her

of the Alumni Association. “Her passion for empowering her

students are provided with the skills to become better leaders and

students to achieve is second to none.”

better people.

Coats, a professor in the department of biological sciences and

“Dr. Coats is an outstanding mentor and someone who gives

an adjunct professor with the College of Veterinary Medicine,

encouragement and unwavering support to others,” said Abraham.

received the award for Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor.

“She is so very deserving of this award.”

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 35



MSU recognizes ALUMNUS NEWS summer / FALL


President Mark E. Keenum serves lunch at MSU’s annual staff luncheon in May.

More than 3,000 individuals provide professional and support staff services to Mississippi State University within the various

drinks, door prizes and live entertainment for

Abraham, associate vice president

all university staff members.

for development and alumni and

The Office of the President, university

executive director of the MSU Alumni

departments, colleges, and administrative

vice presidents, Alumni Association, and

Association. “The Alumni Association

offices. On May 6, the university honored

Professional and Support Staff Advisory

is proud to be one of the sponsors for this

these hard working individuals at the Staff

Council sponsored the event. 

event each year.”

Appreciation Day in the Junction.

 The “Luncheon in the Junction” was held on a beautiful, sunny afternoon with free food,

“The hard-working and dedicated

Mississippi State is grateful for the

staff members at Mississippi State do so

service of all of its dedicated staff members

much for our university,” said Jimmy

who make it such a great university.

ALUMNI ASSOCIATIO In February, the Greater Chattanooga, Tenn., Alumni Chapter became the 92nd chartered group for the MSU Alumni Association. Karen Lawler (center), 2010-11 Alumni Association national president, presents representatives Steve Brandon (left) and Dax Turner (right) with a banner for the new Chattanooga Chapter.

36 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

Approved by the national board of directors, the announcement was made at the association’s annual awards banquet.




available soon in


This fall, the state of Texas will join the efforts of Mississippi and Tennessee to make a statement with an official Mississippi State University affinity license plate. The new Texas M-State tag can be purchased through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles during tag renewal. 

 Designed by, the tag will feature the M-State logo, Bully spirit mark, and the phrase “Go Bulldogs.” The price of the tag, which is in addition to the annual tag fee, ranges from $55 for one year to $295 for 10 years. A portion of the proceeds will be distributed for scholarship support to Texas students who attend Mississippi State. 

 Individuals interested in the new MSU specialty plate can register at to be informed about the release date. Registering for the e-mail list is not a commitment to purchase a plate, but an interest poll for Texas residents. Affinity license plates help alumni and friends promote Mississippi State on the roads and highways. Show your pride and help support our Bulldogs by purchasing one during your next tag renewal.




“We are very excited to welcome the Greater Chattanooga chapter as our newest group,” said Jimmy Abraham, associate vice president for development and alumni and executive director of the MSU Alumni Association. “The Chattanooga group will be a great asset to the university in promoting Mississippi State in their area.”

The newest chapter began the formation process in May 2010.

Alumni and friends in the Chattanooga area are encouraged to join.

Throughout the year, dedicated volunteers hosted gatherings for

Information about events can be found on their chapter page at alumni.

alumni and friends, such as game-watch parties, informal socials, and You may also contact the chapter president, Dax

organizational meetings.

Turner, at or by phone at 901-326-0587.

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 37




summer / FALL


Karen Dugard Lawler Outgoing Letter

Karen Lawler (center) with MSU President Mark E. Keenum (left) and Alumni Association Executive Director Jimmy Abraham (right).

Dear Fellow Bulldogs, As I write you this letter, my year of service as your national alumni president has come to a close. I have been honored and

convincing win the Bulldogs and Coach Dan Mullen gave us as they beat Michigan 52-14.

privileged to represent the Mississippi State University Alumni

I want to encourage each of you to get involved in your local

Association. It has been such a rewarding opportunity to attend

chapters. The Alumni Association annually hosts more than 500

numerous alumni and MSU functions, and experience the passion

events nationwide. I would also like for you to consider giving

and excitement everyone shares for our great university.

back to our university through the Annual Fund and StatePride:

I would like to thank Dr. Jimmy Abraham and his staff, the

An Initiative for Student and Faculty Support. With your help we

leadership of the university, MSU alumni and friends, alumni

can keep the momentum going. Visit the association’s website at

chapters, and the student body for all your hard work and for the calendar of events and Annual

dedication. Due to your commitment in 2010, MSU experienced a

Fund information. If you are a new graduate beginning your

record breaking fall enrollment of 19,644 students, an increase in

career, I strongly recommend you seek out alumni in your area.

alumni giving percentages despite a challenging economic climate,

You will find the common bond among Mississippi State alumni is

and the largest active membership of the Alumni Association with

very strong and supportive. Don’t forget to bring a future student

39,418 members. Also, the Alumni Association welcomed our

with you. One event could be enough to encourage someone to

92nd chapter in Chattanooga, Tenn. What an incredible year!

become a lifelong Bulldog.

We kicked off the New Year “ringing responsibly” at the Gator

As my term as national president ended on June 30, I am very

Bowl. Thousands of MSU alumni and fans crowded the streets

pleased that Jerry Toney will succeed me as your 92nd national

of Jacksonville, Fla., with cowbells in hand. There was fun and

alumni president. Jerry is “true maroon,” and his dedication and

activities for all. The festivities started with the Gator Bowl

love of MSU is evident through his service with the Starkville chapter

Parade. What an unbelievable sound to approach the parade from

and the national alumni board. Jerry will do an outstanding job.

blocks away and here cowbells ringing. As we got closer, the

We can take great pride in our university and the positive

cowbells stopped and one side of the street started yelling maroon,

direction we are headed. Again, thank you for giving me the once-

and the other answered with white. It gave me goose bumps!

in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve you and MSU as your national

Later that evening, thousands of MSU fans made their way to

alumni president. Mississippi State has given me many special

the MSU Bulldog New Year’s Eve Celebration. A Michigan fan

memories and opportunities, and I am thrilled that I have been

asked me if we brought the entire state of Mississippi. I informed

able to give back to our university. Always remember, you can

him we brought the entire Bulldog nation. After ringing in the

make a difference!

New Year in a sea of maroon and white, MSU fans started the

Forever Maroon and White! Go Bulldogs!

New Year off with a pre-game party and pep rally. The Alumni Association staff and Alumni Delegates worked hard to make

Karen Dugard Lawler

sure all the hungry fans were fed before heading to the stadium…

2010-2011 National President

they even made sure we had our New Year’s Day black-eyed peas.

MSU Alumni Association

The grand finale to an amazing Gator Bowl experience was the

38 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011


BULLDOGS visit the

Mediterranean From the time Libba Andrews, associate director of the MSU Alumni Association, checked in at the Memphis

the beautiful Tuscan Region,” Andrews said. Among the exotic ports of call, the Insignia cruise

International Airport, she knew that the Traveling Bulldogs

ship stopped in Florence, Rome and Amalfi, Italy, as

trip to the Mediterranean was going to be a blast. Libba

well as Athens and Santorini, Greece. Travelers enjoyed

and her husband, Andy, joined 22 MSU alumni and friends

excursions, guided tours, and learning about local culture

on a cruise through Turkey, Greece and Italy in April.

and cuisines.

“Right away, we met MSU alumni travelers from

“The places we experienced were incredible, rich in

Vicksburg,” said Andrews upon her arrival to the terminal.

both history and beauty. However, I don’t think anything

“This group, later nicknamed the Sensational Six, had been

can top the personal relationships that were begun, and

planning and anticipating this vacation for months. Each

in some cases enhanced, because of the bond shared with

member of the group had taken a location, researched it,

Mississippi State,” she continued.

and become the resident expert about that part of the trip.” The first night of the cruise, the host company, Go

The Mediterranean cruise is one of 14 trips the MSU Alumni Association promoted in 2011. Each year, the

Next, arranged a private reception for the MSU travelers.

Traveling Bulldogs embark on adventures across the globe,

Bulldogs from Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee,

creating new memories and building relationships with

Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, and California joined

fellow Bulldogs.

together for conversation, networking and fun. The 12-

In 2012, the Alumni Association will offer vacation

day trip visited some of Europe’s most breathtaking and

packages to 14 locations including Great Britain, Ireland,

historical wonders.

France, Iceland, and Tahiti. For information on the 2012

“We explored the ruins in Ephesus, Turkey, toured the

trips or if you have questions about Traveling Bulldogs,

sun-splashed coast of the French Riviera, traveled up the

contact Libba Andrews at landrews@alumni.msstate.

craggy hills overlooking the turquoise sea to the summit

edu or 662-325-3479. You also may visit www.alumni.

of Mount Etna, and explored the land of the Godfather and

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 39




summer / FALL


Alumni Association

The Alumni Association staff and



participation and services offered,

national board of directors executive

the Alumni Association will strive to

committee recently revised the

support Mississippi State University

strategic plan for 2011-14. Now

through this strategic plan.” 

available online, the plan outlines the

With more than 92 chapters

intentions and goals to reach MSU’s

worldwide, the mission of the Alumni

nearly 121,000 alumni.

Association is to foster lifelong

“Our main goal as an organization is

support for the university’s mission

to meet the needs of alumni and friends

through programs, activities and

of MSU worldwide,” said Jimmy

events for its alumni, future alumni

Abraham, associate vice president

and friends.

for development and alumni and

The new strategic plan can be

executive director of the MSU Alumni

viewed by visiting the alumni website at

Association. “In our efforts to increase

GREAT FOOD FROM OUR PLAYBOOK SpicyCheeseburger Sliders(makes 8 burgers) Ingredients: 1 pound ground beef (96% lean) 9 small whole wheat hamburger buns, split, divided 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder 2 slices pepper Jack cheese, cut in quarters 1. Tear one hamburger bun into pieces. Place in food processor or blender container. Cover; pulse on and off, to form fine crumbs. 2. Combine bread crumbs, beef, garlic and chili powder in medium bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into eight 1/2-inch thick mini patties. 3. Place patties on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 9 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 10 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally. Evenly top with cheese during last minute of grilling. 4. Place burgers on bottoms of remaining eight buns. Top with desired Toppings. Close sandwiches.

For great BEEF recipes and nutrition information go to: Mississippi Beef Council • 680 Monroe St. Suite A • Jackson, MS 39202 • (601) 353-4520 Sponsored 40 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

by Mississippi’s Beef Producers through the Beef Checkoff Program

Charitable IRA Legislation is back for 2011. Individuals 70 1/2 or older can make tax-free gifts of up to $100,000 to qualified charitable organizations like Mississippi State University, using funds transferred directly from an IRA through December 31, 2011. Know Your Benefits.

• The transfer generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so you will benefit even if you do not itemize tax deductions. • The transfer will count against the unsatisfied required minimum distribution from your IRA. • You can witness the difference the philanthropic dollars make to us. We Can Help.

Contact Vance Bristow, director of planned giving, at 662.325.3707 or

Post Office Box 6149 | Mississippi State, MS 39762 662-325-7000 |

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 41




summer ALUMNUS



INITIATIVE If Cindy Stevens could voluntarily lobby

consuming. You have to start at the bottom,

StatePride initiative, she undoubtedly would.

establish relationships, and build your

She is among a growing list of supporters

contacts on Capitol Hill. Then, you’ve got

for the effort which seeks to secure more

to build extensive contacts off the ‘Hill’ as

scholarships for MSU’s students and support

well. It is a very rewarding and exhilarating

for its distinguished faculty university-wide.

experience,” Stevens said.

A 1983 political science graduate,

Stevens has worked with Deloitte for

Stevens recently established a scholarship

15 years. In her current role as a principal

and a faculty award through the initiative.

in Deloitte’s Government Relations group,

She devotes as much time as possible to her

she serves as primary contact with members

alma mater and encourages other alumni

of the U.S. Congress on legislative and

and friends to follow her example regarding

regulatory issues that impact the accounting

causes they deem worthwhile.

profession. She is involved in shaping public

For nearly 25 years, Stevens has worked in government relations in the fast-paced Capitol Hill environment of Washington,

42 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

“In Washington, lobbying is very time

for support of Mississippi State University’s

policies of interest to the firm and the profession. Stevens serves as treasurer of the Deloitte

D.C. The majority of that time, she has

Federal Political Action Committee, one

pursued goals for Deloitte, LLP, one of the

of the largest non-connected PACs in

nation’s leading professional services firms.

Washington, and also serves on the firm’s

The Mississippi native took a keen interest

public policy committee. Prior to Deloitte,

in politics during her college years, and she

she spent five years as director of public

credits the university for much of her success.

affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,


Generous contributions

propel StatePride forward

STATE For donors like Cindy Stevens, who share a deep appreciation

for deserving students and academic scholarships to help the

for the education they earned at Mississippi State, the StatePride

university compete for the best and brightest students. StatePride

initiative is a giving opportunity worthy of exploration.

also continues to create development opportunities for top

Contributions for student scholarships and faculty positions are

ushering in a new level of excellence for Mississippi State. Support for these areas is an on-going priority for the university over the course of StatePride, which has successfully surpassed the halfway mark.

Generous gifts from alumni and friends have moved StatePride

closer to its $100 million goal. As of May, the initiative stood at more than $65 million. This amount includes matching funds provided through a special partnership with MSU Athletics.

performing faculty university-wide in the areas of teaching, research and service.

Visit the MSU Foundation online at

or request a copy of our brochure to learn how you can be a part of

StatePride. Mississippi State will continue to place an emphasis on StatePride priorities through December 2012.

Individuals, corporations or organizations with specific giving

questions may contact Jack McCarty, executive director of

For the upcoming academic year, StatePride contributions

will provide scholarships for MSU students, both need-based

development for the MSU Foundation, at 662-325-9580 or e-mail him at

and another three as director of federal

big things,” said W. Martin “Marty”

Stevens grew up in Louisville,

affairs for the U.S. Board of Trade.

Wiseman, institute director and MSU

and briefly attended the University of

professor of political science, who has

Southern Mississippi. She completed her

known Stevens for a number of years.

undergraduate education at Mississippi

Despite a busy career, Stevens takes

time to maintain her MSU relationships.

She voluntarily serves on advisory boards

Stevens assists MSU in many ways,

State. Her late father, Robert L.

for the College of Arts and Sciences

including providing financial support

Stevens, and her sister, Rita Stevens,

and the John C. Stennis Institute of

for the university. Most recently, her

also graduated from MSU. She credits

Government. For her professional and

gifts established the Cynthia M. Stevens

them, as well as her mother, Mary, for

personal accomplishments, Stevens was

Loyalty Scholarship and the Cynthia M.

providing her with strong values and a

honored as a 2010 Alumni Fellow by the

Stevens Distinguished Faculty Award. The

great work ethic.

MSU Alumni Association.

Loyalty Scholarship will assist an entering

Through the years, she has volunteered

Early in life, Stevens set her sights

freshman or a community college transfer

on a career as a political consultant.

much of her time to MSU, particularly

student with demonstrated leadership

However, she soon realized her career

with the Stennis Institute. She began

ability. The named faculty award provides

path wasn’t clear-cut. A desired career

her involvement with the institute while

a financial stipend for a College of Arts and

in politics became, instead, a successful

enrolled as a student in the College of Arts

Sciences faculty member.

career as a lobbyist.

and Sciences. “Cindy’s value has come not just from

Stevens’ gift is matched by Deloitte at

“I wanted to prepare individuals

a 1:1 ratio, through the firm’s matching

who desired to run for office–provide

her ability to help students and others

gifts program, and is also matched by the

them with talking points and, in

from her alma mater get connected in

MSU Bulldog Club through the initiative.

essence, package them for the media.

Washington, but equally importantly as

StatePride will continue to raise funds for

Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find an open

a role model for the student from small

student scholarships and faculty support

door to this since the profession was male

town Mississippi who is striving to do

through 2012.

dominated then,” Stevens recalled.

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 43




summer / FALL


She continued, “I was extremely

Maintaining a strong connection to

interested in politics and got involved in

Mississippi State has been a focus for

local gubernatorial campaigns. I spent

Stevens since she joined the Stennis

a great deal of time learning about the

Institute board four years ago. The institute is

research and analysis of specifically

often called on to provide technical assistance

Southern politics.”

and consultation to local governments and

Fellow MSU graduates, the late

community leaders regarding economic and

U.S. Sen. John C. Stennis and the late

community development matters. Because

Congressman G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery,

the institute is based at Mississippi State, it

were leading politicians during this

also extends efforts to students enrolled in

time. It was Montgomery’s influence

the College of Arts and Sciences who seek

that opened doors for her. Following

careers in public service.

graduation from MSU, Stevens had the

Nobody reaches anywhere in life by themselves. The most powerful thing we have is information we can use to provide insight,” Stevens explained. “We should respect people for their accomplishments, then, the loyalty and pride they find within themselves will reflect back.

In addition, Stevens has been a

opportunity to work for the longtime

tremendous asset to the Stennis-Montgomery

congressman as a legislative assistant for

Association. A memorial to the two men, the

two years. The position is what originally

student organization focuses on preparing

State University to forge new ground

brought her to Washington.

members for political and public-service

as a learning institution by stimulating

“To this day, when I mention Sonny

careers. The arts and sciences students

scholarship growth and rewarding faculty

Montgomery’s name, former and current

who are members visit Washington for

members for furthering their development

members of Congress praise him and

Washington Week, and Stevens counsels

as extensions of the university’s mission,”

his dedication to our country and our

them with career advice during this time.

Stevens said. “I hope my fellow alumni will

veterans,” Stevens said. “The experience

“Cindy’s personal story of a small town

he allowed me to gain was invaluable,

girl who graduated from MSU, went to

and I will be forever grateful.”

Washington, and worked her way up the

Stevens is definitely proud of the

“StatePride funds allow Mississippi

join me and support StatePride as I have enthusiastically chosen to do.” Stevens, who lives in Alexandria,

ladder to become a partner in Deloitte never

Va., maintains ties with Mississippi State

land-grant university education she

fails to impress our students,” Wiseman said.

because “my university cared about me

received and the degree she earned from

“She is undoubtedly one of MSU’s greatest

as an individual. The people at MSU,

Mississippi State. She credits a number

assets in the area.”

my professors and advisers, knew what I

of esteemed professors with giving her

“Furthermore,” Wiseman added, “Cindy

wanted to do and they went out of their way

great tutelage, and takes pride in the fact

takes a back seat to no one when the subject

that the university continues to draw

turns to her educational background. Her

professors from diverse backgrounds into

life is spent in the midst of individuals with

her MSU degree enables her to make a

its faculty base.

Ivy League educations from Harvard, Yale,

difference in the lives of others.

“Mississippi State’s political science department, in particular, is one of the finest

Princeton, and other noteworthy institutions.” For Stevens, motivating MSU students to

to steer me on that course.” The success Stevens has achieved with

“Nobody reaches anywhere in life by themselves. The most powerful thing we

in the South,” she said. “The university

succeed with scholarships as they learn and

have is information we can use to provide

has a culture of helping individuals who

research with the university’s faculty is worth

insight,” Stevens explained. “We should

demonstrate that they are serious about

an investment in StatePride. She challenges

respect people for their accomplishments,

their education, and are willing to go the

other alumni and friends to consider

then, the loyalty and pride they find within

extra mile to fulfill career aspirations.”

supporting the initiative.

themselves will reflect back.”

44 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011

Foundation names


executive director of development ward

knowledge of Mississippi State will be strong assets as he works with university leadership and constituents to advance our university,” said John P. Rush, vice president for development and alumni. McCarty has more than 16 years of total experience in development, with 10 years specifically devoted to the MSU Foundation. From 1994 to 2001, he was development director for various units in MSU’s Division of Agriculture, Forestry and

A veteran fundraiser and

Veterinary Medicine. He left campus for a time to serve as director of

Mississippi State alumnus is the MSU

development operations for Ducks Unlimited Inc., Southern Region,

Foundation’s new executive director

before returning in 2007.

of development. Jack R. McCarty of

In 2009, McCarty was honored as a “Top 40 Under 40” by the

Starkville assumed the role in May.

Mississippi Business Journal. The awards program recognizes

He is a Starkville Public Schools

Mississippians who have established themselves as business and

graduate who received an MSU

community leaders before the age of 40.

agriculture degree in 1991. Most recently, McCarty led development efforts of the College of Business, one of the South’s oldest

In his new role, McCarty will lead the efforts for the StatePride initiative. He will also serve as secretary for the MSU Foundation board of directors. Established in 1962, the MSU Foundation now administers most

programs of its kind. He was responsible for all fundraising activities

campus fundraising activities and endowment funds. For the past

in the major academic unit, including its Richard C. Adkerson School

three fiscal years, the foundation has raised in excess of $60 million

of Accountancy.

from individual donors, corporations and foundations. Its current

“Jack’s extensive professional experience combined with his vast

endowment stands at more than $300 million.

Alumnus Summer/fall 2011 45




summer / FALL


Henry remembered for Achievements, Generosity The connection alumnus Hunter W. Henry

For his professional and personal

Center houses operations for the Division of

Jr. shared with Mississippi State University

accomplishments, Henry was honored extensively

Development and Alumni and recognition for the

was marked by his exceptional personal

by Mississippi State. He was selected as a

university’s most generous donors. Henry made

involvement. The San Marcos, Texas resident,

Distinguished Engineering Fellow by the James

a lead gift for the building, and challenged other

who died June 4, 2011, took great pride in his

Worth Bagley College of Engineering. In 1988,

alumni and friends to contribute.

long association with his alma mater.

he was named National Alumnus of the Year and

Henry’s giving also extends to faculty

Over the course of his life, Henry was

was among the 10 most prominent Mississippians

awards, an endowed chair in chemical

known by fellow alumni and friends for both

recognized on the 100th anniversary of land-grant

engineering and an endowed lecture series. He

his leadership and his generosity. He often

colleges. He received the university’s highest

was joined in his benevolent support of MSU

described his philanthropic endeavors to others

tribute, an honorary doctoral degree, in 2001.

by his late wife, Lila Harlow Henry, and their

by saying, “what benefits individuals are the things that give me the most satisfaction.”

Henry dedicated countless hours by serving

three sons, Hunter “Ticket” Henry, Robert

in an advisory capacity. He was a longtime

Henry and the late James Henry. The family

member of the MSU Foundation board of

established student scholarships in the

of McComb in 1928 and grew up in Canton,

directors, serving several terms as treasurer.

colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business

where his parents were business owners. They

He also served as vice chairman of the steering

and Engineering.

instilled in him the value of an education, along

committee of MSU’s highly successful

with a passion to make a positive impact on the

State of the Future capital campaign. For his

generosity will remember his willingness

lives of others.

Henry was born in the Mississippi town

The many beneficiaries of Henry’s

volunteerism with MSU, he was recognized

to assist them, particularly his scholarship

After graduation from MSU in 1950 with

nationally with the Bill Franklin Volunteer

recipients. He corresponded with them

a chemical engineering degree, Henry began

of the Year Award from the Council for the

frequently and felt an overwhelming pride in

his career with Gulf Oil Co. He joined Dow

Advancement and Support of Education.

their accomplishments as each earned an MSU

Chemical the following year, and would enjoy

A significant part of Henry’s legacy is the

degree. His significant impact on the people

a 42-year career with the company. In 1993, he

alumni and development center which was named

and programs of Mississippi State University

retired as president of Dow Chemical USA.

in his honor. Dedicated in 2002, the Hunter Henry

will continue in perpetuity.

46 Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011




summer / FALL


’59 Wayne Brown

’75 Michael Ballard

of Lucedale has retired as state

(M.A. ’76, Ph.D. ’83) of Ackerman,

Transportation Commissioner for the

university archivist and coordinator of

Southern District.

the Congressional and Political Research

’65 Fred Hight Jr.

Center for MSU Libraries, has written The Civil War in Mississippi: Major

of Leakesville has received a Paul Harris

Campaigns and Battles, published by

Fellowship from the Greene County

University Press of Mississippi. He also

Rotary Club.

is the author of Civil War Mississippi: A

Promotional Products and National Scrubwear in Meridian.

’84 Mark Gillie of Leakesville, recently retired Greene County Extension director, has received a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Guide and numerous other books.

’85 Aubrey Jackson

(M.S. ’70, Ph.D. ’72) of Litchfield Park,

Lee Hedegaard

of Collierville, Tenn., is vice president

Ariz., has been certified as an Expert

of Lucedale has received the Silver

Systems Engineering Professional by

Beaver Award, scouting’s highest national

the International Council on Systems

volunteer award.

Mike Steede

Lockheed Martin Business Unit to achieve

’77 Granville Tate,

(M.S. ’99) of Lucedale has retired as

that level of recognition.

an attorney with the Brunini Firm, was

’68 John B. Noblin

Engineering. He is the first in his

’72 Watts Ueltschey,

among that firm’s MSU graduates who were recognized as leaders in their field

an attorney with the Brunini Firm, was

by Chambers USA: America’s Leading

among that firm’s MSU graduates who

Lawyers for Business in 2011.

were recognized as leaders in their field by Chambers USA: America’s Leading

’78 Elizabeth Mullins

Lawyers for Business in 2011.

has been promoted to president of the

’73 Chris Shapley,

Medical Group division of Baptist Health Systems in Jackson. For 13 years, she has

an attorney with the Brunini Firm, was

been director of clinic administration for

among that firm’s MSU graduates who

the Medical Foundation.

were recognized as leaders in their field by Chambers USA: America’s Leading

’82 Nancy Dorman-Hickson

Lawyers for Business in 2011.

of Birmingham, Ala., has co-authored a

’74 Danny P. Hollingsworth

book, Diplomacy and Diamonds, which will be published in October. She

(M.B.A. ’77) of Morristown, Tenn., has

also publishes a newsletter, “Nancy’s

been named president of Piedmont College

Sweet Tea and Grits News,” at www.

in Demorest, Ga. He previously was

executive vice president and chief financial officer of Carson-Newman College. He is a former director of the Adkerson School of Accountancy and interim dean of business at MSU.

Deborah Haggard, a veteran member of the Mitchell Companies sales team, has been promoted to general manager of M’Prints

of engineering services in his division of Thomas and Betts in Memphis, Tenn.

MSU Extension director for George County.

’87 Edward T. Simmons, a shareholder with The Koerber Co. in Hattiesburg, has passed the examination and met the experience requirements to be classified as “Accredited in Business Valuation” by the American Institute of CPAs.

’90 Joseph Vice of Ocean Springs is a partner in the recently opened Mississippi Coast OB/ GYN clinic in Lucedale.

’91 Dale Pohl of Bay St. Louis, an elementary art teacher in the Bay-Waveland School District, has been named Waveland Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year.

’92 Shelley Powers of Jackson, communication director for the Public Employees’ Retirement

System of Mississippi, has been named Employee of the Quarter for the first quarter of FY 2012.

Natalie Moses Smith of Jackson, an account executive for 16WAPT and, has received the 2010 Hearst Television Eagle Award for sales excellence. She also was recently named one of the state’s “50 Leading Business Women” by the Mississippi Business Journal.

’97 Keesha Middleton of Jackson, a student at Mississippi College School of Law, has received the school’s

a student at Mississippi College School of Law, has received the John B. Farese Memorial Trial Advocate Award and the Family Law Section of the Mississippi Bar Award.

’03 Arthur Calderon of Madison, a student at Mississippi College School of Law, has received the school’s Mission First Legal Aid Office Top Volunteers Award, the MLi Press/ Lenore Prather Award, and the Adams &Reese Pro Bono Award.

an associate with Heidelberg, Steinberger,

Tom Wallace of Leakesville is administrator of Greene County Vocational-Technical School, which recently was named a Center for Excellence by the state chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.

Colmer & Burrow P.A. in Pascagoula, will serve on the 2011-13 board of directors for the Young Lawyers Division of the Mississippi Bar.

Christopher D. Meyer has joined Burr & Forman LLP as an

’99 Christinia Townsend

associate in the firm’s Jackson office. He

of Yazoo City, a student at Mississippi


College School of Law, has received the

practices in the construction law service

school’s R. Jess Brown Scholarship.

’06 Ashley Hendricks,

’00 Brian Cobble,

a student at Mississippi College School of

senior forester for Suwannee County,

General Practice Scholarship.

Fla., has been named National Tree Farm Inspector of the Year by the American Tree Farm System. He was Florida Tree Farm Inspector of the Year in 2010.

Matt Frederiksen of Birmingham, Ala., has been named SQL applications implementation manager with SourceMedical in Birmingham.

Law, has received the school’s Litigation and

’09 Craig and Katy Harrell of Lucedale have opened Singing River Animal Clinic in Lucedale.

Tanika Lankford, a library media specialist in Meridian, has recently published her first children’s book, Sweet Tea.

Ethan Richard Ardoin, N ov. 17, 2010, to Kelli Smith Ardoin (‘’08) and husband Jason of Lucedale.

Vera Kate Berryhill, May 20, 2011, to Paul B. Berryhill (’03, M.Tx. ’04) and Lisa Adcock Berryhill (’03, M.Pa. ’04) of Memphis, Tenn.

Bristol Grace Betts, Feb. 23, 2011, to Kimberly Steward Betts (’02) and Kenneth Betts (’01).

James Augustus McDonald Frederiksen, March 28, 2011,

to Matt Frederiksen (’00) and Melanie Frederiksen (’00) of Birmingham, Ala.

Sarah Alexis Patterson,

Oct. 23, 2010, to Amy Shumpert Patterson (’97, M.B.A. ’10) and Anthony Patterson (attended ’95’97) of Tupelo.

Jake William Roberson, March 1, 2011, to Daniel Roberson (’99) and wife Victoria of Memphis, Tenn.

John Maxwell Rush, May 31,2011, born to John P. Rush (’94, ’02) and wife Jennifer of Starkville.


Jessica Dupont,

Birth Announcements


Marie Upton Scholarship Award.

’02 Carrie R. McCormick,




spring ALUMNUS

• H.R. Chilton (’37)—96, Coronado,

• Kenneth Maurice Hatten (’50)—

• Robert Duane Talley (’67)—

Calif.; retired civil servant and World War II

79, Gulfport; certified public accountant

Pooler, Ga.; retired football and

and Korean War veteran, March 8, 2011.

retired from Wright, Ward, Hatten

basketball coach, June 5, 2010.

• James M. Lewis Jr. (’38)—95, Brookhaven; retired from Copiah-Lincoln

& Guel CPA, Nov. 12, 2009.

• Andrew Clifton Hutto Jr. (’51,

Community College and World War II

M.S. ’53)—89, Gretna, La.; oil industry

veteran, Feb. 4, 2011.

employee, realtor, school teacher, and

• Charles Downer Sr. (’40)—Green Valley, Ariz.; retired U.S. Air Force colonel,

World War II veteran, March 4, 2011.

• Thomas Boisture (’55)—79, Little

retired director of defense industrial

Ferry, N.J.; retired vice president of

resources for the Office of the Assistant

player personnel for the New York

Secretary of Defense, and World War II

Giants, March 11, 2011.

veteran, Feb. 2, 2011.

• Thomas Walter Landrum (’40)—92, Roswell, Ga.; retired executive vice president with Westinghouse Electric Corp. and World War II veteran, May 18, 2011.

• Billie Henry Fowlkes (’41)—91,

• William Irving Jackson (’55)—77, Elkton, Va.; retired from the U.S. Navy, April 26, 2011.

• Donald W. Boatwright (’57, M.S. ’58)—81, Starkville; retired assistant

• Gary Green (’88)—Franklin, Tenn.; financial adviser for Morgan Keegan & Co., April 15, 2011.

• Stephen F. Ray (attended)—39, Madison; access control project manager for Capitol Hardware Co., Feb. 7, 2011.

• Lemoyne S. Graham (friend)—88, Lucedale; retired school teacher, April 1, 2010.

• Myrtle Ann Stinson (friend)—74; Lucedale; homemaker, Nov. 5, 2010.

• Hazel Natalie Summerour (friend)—84, Lucedale; retired home economics teacher with George County School System, Oct. 30, 2009.

professor in the Department of Aerospace

Amory; owner of gasoline distribution

Engineering at Mississippi State and

Carl J. “Jack” Gordon Jr.

business, civic leader, and World War

Korean War veteran, Feb. 14, 2011.

state senator

II veteran, June 25, 2011. The Fowlkes

• James G. Hamill (’57, M.S. ’61)—80,

Carl J. “Jack” Gordon Jr. of Okalona,

Auditorium in Colvard Student Union at

Starkville; professor emeritus of agricultural

a longtime state senator, former state

MSU is named for him.

economics at Mississippi State and Korean

representative, and businessman, died

War veteran, Jan. 20, 2011.

May 7, 2011. He was 66.

• S. Jay McDuffie (’43)—88, Nettleton; family doctor in Nettleton for 55 years, and

• Tommy Barbee Taylor (’57)—

first medical doctor at the North Mississippi

77, Carrollton; retired Humphreys

the second longest serving state legislator.

State Hospital in Tupelo, April 20, 2011.

County agent for MSU Extension and

He served 36 years, eight in the House of

aquaculture specialist at the Delta

Representatives and 28 in the Senate. He

Starkville; retired district program leader

Research and Extension Center at

chaired a number of committees during

with MSU Extension, March 16, 2011.

Stoneville, Jan. 3, 2011.

his tenures, including Appropriations,

• Belton E. Berry (’47, M.S. ’52)—90,

• John F. Clifton Sr. (’48)—Katy,

• Cecil J. Davis (’59)—Lucedale;

Texas; retired agricultural/horticultural

retired engineer for Ingalls Shipbuilding in

expert in the Mississippi Delta and World

Pascagoula, Nov. 11, 2010.

War II veteran, April 3, 2011.

• James C. Cherry (’49)—87, Odessa, Texas; retired engineer and World War II veteran, June 4, 2011.

• Raymond Dale Hodges Sr.

• Thomas B. Turner (’59)—Marvell,

A 1969 Mississippi State graduate, he was

Education, Public Employees and Retirement, and Buildings and Grounds. With a heart for education, he helped mold the 1982 Education Reform Act

Ark.; retired farmer and businessman,

providing for public kindergartens, and

Nov. 5, 2010.

was instrumental in improving Mississippi’s

• Walter Y. Joe (’61)—76, Houston, Texas; retired engineer for Boeing, having

community colleges and universities In March 2011, the Jack Gordon

(’49)—83, Zachary, La.; owner of R. Dale

previously worked for North American

Scholarship was established at Mississippi

Hodges Consulting Engineers and Land

Aviation, Rockwell, and general Electric,

State in his honor.

Surveyors, May 20, 2011.

Jan. 27, 2011.

• Wayne N. Morgan (’49)—87,

• Andrew Jackson Huff Jr.

Zellwood, Fla.; retired restaurant owner

(’64)—67, Baton Rouge, La.; retired CEO

and World War II veteran, March 21, 2011.

of Regions Bank of Louisiana, Aug. 1, 2010.

Please send

obituaries to Allen Snow, P.O. Box 5325,

Mississippi State, MS 39762-5325

or e-mail to

11-130 Alumnus Summer 2011_Covers.indd 3

9/8/2011 5:12:44 PM


Post Office Box AA One Hunter Henry Boulevard Mississippi State, MS 39762-5526 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

Made with recycled paper. Discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran’s status is a violation of federal and state law and MSU policy and will not be tolerated. Discrimination based upon sexual orientation or group affiliation is a violation of MSU policy and will not be tolerated.

11-130 Alumnus Summer 2011_Covers.indd 4

9/14/2011 1:35:28 PM

Mississippi State University Alumnus Summer/Fall 2011  

Mississippi State Alumnus Vol. 87, No. 1