Jeff Davis began his position as the executive director of the MSU Alumni Association in November 2013. His wife Jenny and daughters Campbell and Collins also are new members of the Bulldog family.
Having previously served as an alumni association executive at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas, Davis brings years of experience and energy to his new position. As executive director, he serves as the key liaison between the 136-year-old land-grant institution and its nearly 128,000 living alumni. Today, the association includes 95 alumni chapters located across the U.S. and overseas.
Though maintaining a very busy schedule that included his first MSU alumni awards banquet, Davis made time to talk about his new role and passion for Mississippi State University.
What brought you to Mississippi State?
Mississippi State is in my DNA and is a proud part of my family’s history. Along with this being such a dynamic place that values its faculty and staff, MSU has such an incredible reputation across the country as a premier university. The university has tremendous leadership in President Mark Keenum and the administrative team he has in place. There are so many positive things happening here and the future of MSU is incredibly bright. From my first day on campus, people genuinely welcomed me as one of their own, and valued my experience and ideas. I am honored and excited to be part of the Mississippi State family. I look forward to the opportunity of making a positive impact here at State.
Tell us a little about your family connection to Mississippi State.
My grandfather, Richard Warfield Davis, played football at State in the late 1930s, and graduated with an engineering degree in 1940. He loved Mississippi State, and even after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the news of a Bulldog victory would bring a wide smile to his face. He passed away when I was eight, and the opportunity for me to come to Mississippi State, serve his school and wear his colors are things that are so very special to me and to my family. This is a time for me to reconnect to him and my family roots, a chance to be part of his Mississippi State story. I am so blessed for the opportunity to be here and serve his alma mater.
Our family has been so touched by the amount of support and the warm welcome that the MSU and Starkville communities have extended to us. It has felt like home from day one, and we are so blessed to make Mississippi State and Starkville our home.
Having been on board over six months, what are some of your initial thoughts?
Our alumni association has a storied and decorated history. I am so fortunate to follow in the footsteps of my predecessors, Charlie Weatherly, Steve Grafton, John Correro, and Jimmy Abraham, and build on the foundation of success they established. I am honored to serve Mississippi State and its dedicated alumni. I look forward to working with our staff, board, volunteers, and others across campus to continue to advance the alumni association and encourage their support of Mississippi State University.
What do you think is the association’s biggest strength?
It is evident to me that our biggest strength is our people. Mississippi State alumni are proud to be Bulldogs and eager to support MSU. We have a tremendous, hard-working and talented staff, dedicated and loyal board members and chapter leaders, and alumni that love and care about their university. Our folks are true maroon, and they want to be involved in supporting State and helping the university accomplish great things. I have had the opportunity to meet so many of our alumni, and the constant theme is their love for Mississippi State and their willingness to help. I believe we need to continue to invest in and support our chapters and volunteers. They are Mississippi State in their communities, and the impact they have on MSU is enormous.
What are some of the things you would like to see the association emphasize?
I would like for us to look for ways to continue to add value for our alumni and keep them informed about how they can help make an impact at State. I think being relevant in and adding value to the daily lives of our graduates are keys to getting a larger percentage of our alumni involved. I think a great opportunity to add value is by laying the groundwork for building a robust Bulldog Alumni Career Network that provides resources for our graduates in finding their first career opportunity, as well as those transitioning from one career to the next. Another opportunity is to invest in and grow our MSU ring tradition. I think by placing emphasis on our ring tradition, telling our MSU ring story and creating a meaningful way to present class rings will benefit Mississippi State and the alumni association for years to come. I also think by getting input from students, faculty/staff, and alumni, we can solidify our ring tradition as an important part of our university’s history and future.
Alumni and friends may visit with Davis at his office in the Hunter Henry Center’s Alumni Wing, or contact him at 662-325-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.