MSU names foundation board leaders, incoming members

The Mississippi State University Foundation is announcing 2016 leaders and incoming members for the 47-seat board of directors that guides the fundraising arm of the 138-year-old land-grant institution.

Incoming officers with one-year terms that began Jan. 1 are: Earnest W. “Earnie” Deavenport Jr. of Kiawah Island, South Carolina, D. Hines Brannan Jr. of Atlanta, Georgia, and William A. “Lex” Taylor III of Louisville.

Deavenport begins his first term as board chair, following several terms as vice chair. He earned a chemical engineering degree in 1960, and was awarded a 2011 honorary Doctor of Science in the fields of business and engineering, both from MSU. He is the retired chairman and CEO of Kingsport-based Eastman Chemical Co. He also earned a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School in 1985 and received an honorary Doctor of Laws from King College in Bristol, Tennessee, in 2000.
Brannan and Taylor serve as vice chair and treasurer, respectively. Brannan is a 1970 industrial engineering graduate who earned an MBA the following year. He is a retired managing director with Accenture. Likewise, Taylor is an MSU graduate, having earned a general business administration degree in 1977. He is chairman and CEO of the Taylor Group Inc. and president of Taylor Machine Works Inc.
Rounding out the remaining Foundation board officers are MSU personnel. John P. Rush, vice president for development and alumni, is the board’s president and CEO; David Easley, executive director of finance, is chief financial officer; and Jack McCarty, executive director of development, serves as board secretary. All are MSU graduates.

New members beginning three-year terms are:

Randy J. Cleveland of Fort Worth, Texas, received a 1983 bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering. He is president of XTO Energy Inc.
Paula A. Schuerer of Franklin, Tennessee, received a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1992, and a DVM and MBA in 1995. She is veterinarian at Animal Ark Animal Hospital.
Bryan S. Wilson of Fulton received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in entomology from MSU in 1982 and 1984, respectively. He is managing partner of Tacoma Ag.

Board members may be reappointed after vacating the board for at least a year after serving a three-year term. Those incoming members who previously served with the board are:

Tommy Dulaney of Meridian attended Meridian Community College and received an honorary Doctor of Science in public service from MSU in 2015. He is president and CEO of Structural Steel Services Inc.
Linda M. Garrett of Atlanta, Georgia, is a 1969 accounting graduate of MSU who is the retired principal of Garrett Associates Inc. She also holds an MBA from Georgia College.

Mark S. Jordan of Ridgeland is a real estate developer of Mark S. Jordan Companies and earned a landscape architecture degree in 1976.

Mike M. McDaniel of Houston, Texas, is CEO of M3 Resources LLC. He earned a mechanical engineering degree in 1979.
Robert L. Qualls of Little Rock, Arkansas, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics in 1954 and 1958, respectively. He is co-chairman of Taylor Companies, director for Bank of the Ozarks, and the retired president and CEO of Baldor Electric Co.

Mike W. Sanders of Cleveland is a 1964 physical education graduate of MSU and is the retired president and CEO of Jimmy Sanders Inc.
Leo W. Seal III of Bay St. Louis earned a bachelor’s degree in geoscience in 2000. He is president of the Leo Seal Family Foundation.
Douglas T. “Doug” Terreson of Point Clear, Alabama, earned a petroleum degree from MSU in 1984 and is the senior managing director of energy research at Evercore ISI. He also holds an MBA from Rollins College.
Also incoming for the board, by virtue of their positions, are Ronald E. “Ron” Black of Meridian and Wilbert G. “Mickey” Holliman Jr. of Belden. Black begins a second term as MSU Alumni Association president, and Holliman is the incoming president of the university’s Bulldog Club.
Black holds a 1980 bachelor’s degree in marketing and is director of human resources for Southern Pipe & Supply Co. Inc. Holliman earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from MSU in 1960 and is the retired chairman and CEO of Furniture Brands International.


Chartered in 1962, the MSU Foundation has raised more than $1.3 billion in its history. It closed fiscal year 2015 marking the largest giving year ever recorded for Mississippi State with more than $109.6 million raised. The organization administers most of the campus-based fundraising activities and endowment funds, and is currently in the midst of Infinite Impact, its largest capital campaign to date.

For more on the work of the MSU Foundation, visit or follow the organization on twitter @MSU_Foundation.