L - R: Williford, Blair and Terpstra
Three dedicated alumni are selections for Distinguished Service Award recipients. MSU graduates Gary A. Blair, Betty Grace Millard Terpstra, and Stephanie M. Williford were honored for their service in 2014.
Blair is an Arkansas native who has become one of Mississippi State’s most loyal graduates and supporters. He is a longtime resident of Brookhaven who currently works as vice president and branch manager for Southern AgCredit ACA.
Following graduation from MSU in 1981 with a degree in business and agriculture, Blair first joined the Hinds County chapter and later became a leader in the Lincoln County chapter. He has held a number of offices at the chapter and national level. From 1995 to 2005, he was on the National Alumni Board and from 1999-2005 was on the National Executive Committee. He was national president in 2003-2004, and he has been first and second vice president.
Fellow honoree Terpstra is a 1976 graduate of MSU who holds a degree in social work. She is a Mississippi native who has lived for many years in the Washington, D.C., area, where she has served as chairman of the board of the D.C. alumni chapter for the past three years.
Terpstra is owner of her own lobbying and public affairs firm, Terpstra Associates, and she has found internships for many MSU students and helped graduates find permanent employment. She helps organize the annual Stennis-Montgomery Association trip to Washington and similar efforts to help young Bulldogs gain network skills and make connections for future careers. She is a board member of the Stennis Institute of Government and has been an alumni adviser for the Stennis-Montgomery Association for 15 years.
The third Distinguished Service honoree is Williford of Mobile, Alabama, who is currently a senior regional leader for Primerica Financial Services. She holds two education degrees from Mississippi State, a bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and a master’s degree in counselor education, both earned in 1972.
Williford has served as president of the Mobile, Alabama, chapter twice and was chapter secretary from 1994-1996. She is currently in her fourth stint as vice president. Her service also includes six years on the national board. She has served as the chapter’s student recruiter for numerous times, served on the scholarship committee for at least a decade, and assisted with the annual golf tournament for each of its 17 years.