The Mississippi State University Alumni Association has named its 2014 class of Alumni Fellows to mark the 25th anniversary of the recognition program that began at the land-grant institution in 1989.
The Alumni Fellows program seeks to recognize Mississippi State’s most distinguished alumni by showcasing their talents and accomplishments to current MSU students. Fellows bring outstanding graduates from the university’s eight academic colleges to campus to share professional experiences and provide career guidance to students.
The group officially visited the MSU campus during the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 weekend. Their time on campus included a series of meetings and lectures with students and faculty, both in the classroom and informally. The group was honored in conjunction with the MSU vs. Arkansas football game.
“We are proud to have some of Mississippi State’s most accomplished alumni as our Silver Anniversary fellows group,” said Jeff Davis, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association. “Each of these individuals brings a wealth of experience in their fields to share with students and faculty across the university.”
The group includes (by college):
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Bryan S. Wilson of Fulton, Mississippi, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in entomology from Mississippi State in 1982 and 1984, respectively. Wilson is the managing partner of Tacoma Ag LLC, the company he founded in 2009 that produces generic crop chemicals for sale and use across the U.S. Prior to that position, he held positions with United Agri Products, BASF Corp., and Wilson Ag Service. He is a member of the MSU Bulldog Club board of directors.
College of Architecture, Art and Design
Melodi E. Terhune of Chesapeake, Virginia, holds a 2004 bachelor’s degree in human sciences with a concentration in interior design from Mississippi State. Terhune is a senior certified interior designer and associate for Clark Nexsen in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and she is a LEED Accredited Professional. She serves on the Interior Design Advisory Board at Mississippi State and is past president of the Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers.
College of Arts and Sciences
M. Diane Roberts of Louisville, Kentucky, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology from MSU in 1963 and 1964, respectively. She later earned a doctor of science degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health. At the time of her retirement, Roberts was vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indiana University East in Richmond, Indiana. Her professional career also included positions with Wichita State University, University of Alabama in Huntsville and South Texas Junior College.
College of Business
Boyce Adams Sr. of Columbus, Mississippi, earned a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Mississippi State in 1980. He co-founded BankTEL Systems in 1992 and serves as its president and CEO. BankTEL is on the Inc. 5000 list and has been recognized as one of the fastest growing private companies in Mississippi. Prior to BankTel, Adams developed oil industry software. He currently serves as a member of the MSU College of Business Advisory Board.
College of Education
Larry Box of Starkville, Mississippi, holds three education degrees he earned from MSU—a 1966 bachelor’s, a 1968 master’s and a 1985 doctorate in education. Before he retired, Box served as the Starkville School District Superintendent of Schools from 1991 through 2002. His professional experience also includes serving as assistant superintendent of the Starkville School District, principal of Henderson Junior High School, and principal of Sudduth Elementary School. He began his career as a math teacher.
James Worth Bagley College of Engineering
Robert D. “Rob” Hunter of Birmingham, Alabama, earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from MSU in 1973 and received a Juris doctorate from Cornell University. He is a senior vice president, general counsel and secretary for Altec Inc., a global provider of products and services for the electric utility, telecommunications and contractor industries. Under his leadership, the 2014 Altec legal team was named best in the U.S. in technology by Legal 500. Hunter serves on the advisory boards of the MSU Bagley College of Engineering and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Palliative Care. He was named a Distinguished Fellow by the Bagley College in 2008.
College of Forest Resources
Dr. World L.S. Nieh of Oak Hill, Virginia, is a 1990 MSU graduate with a doctorate in forest products. Nieh’s most recent work includes representing a $20 million National Research Program as Forest Products Program Lead through the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C. His previous experience includes work as a director of Amino Resin Development with Southeastern Adhesives Co. in Lenoir, North Carolina, and a senior development chemist with Georgia-Pacific Resins Inc. in Decatur, Georgia. He earned a bachelor’s degree from National Chung-Hsing University in Taiwan and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech.
College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Wanda L. West of Churchville, Pennsylvania, is a 1988 MSU graduate with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tougaloo College and a doctorate in pharmacology from the Temple University School of Medicine. She works as a veterinary research fellow and attending veterinarian at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in Princeton, New Jersey. West volunteers at various animal shelters and provides free veterinary medical and surgical services.
The 2014 Alumni Fellows are among the university’s nearly 130,000 living alumni worldwide. Each Fellow carries the distinction for life. For detailed biographies on the 2014 selections and other information about Alumni Association programs, visit www.alumni.msstate.edu.
Photography by Russ Houston