Alumni chapters play vital role with scholarships

Grenada-Montgomery Chapter president Stephanie LeClair with scholarship recipient Grace Worthy.

Since the early 1900s, alumni of Mississippi State University have taken an active role in providing student scholarships. Mississippi State currently has 93 chartered chapters worldwide, and many of them award funds to talented students by initiating fundraising efforts within their local chapters.

Each of MSU’s alumni chapters have an opportunity to ease the financial burden of incoming freshmen, transfers and those already enrolled by providing a scholarship. Approximately $167,000 has been awarded from chapter scholarships in 2015-16 to support more than 170 students in academic disciplines across campus.

“We are very grateful to our alumni chapters that play an integral role in supporting students and their education with scholarships,” said Jeff Davis, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association. “Our chapters award deserving students the funds needed to attend MSU, and this provides a great way for our alumni to give back in a tangible, meaningful way.”

Local chapter members serve as MSU representatives in their communities through events including socials, student recruitment parties and community service projects. Their work also extends to scholarships as they raise money collectively to benefit future Bulldogs from their geographic area.

Chapters across the country hold many different fundraising events throughout the year, and two of the most popular fundraisers are golf and tennis tournaments.

Managed through the Mississippi State University Foundation, annual scholarships and endowments for scholarships sponsored by chapters play a significant role in helping students attend Mississippi State. Many chapters award multiple scholarships each year to recipients who meet established criteria. Since some scholarships have not financially reached a level to award, individual gifts from local alumni, friends and parents are extremely important to keep these chapter scholarships active.

Officers of the Panola County Chapter (L-R) are Thomas Toney, Lisa Newcomb and Clay Seale flank scholarship recipient Keith Thornton (center) and his mother.

Gifts may be designated to a specific chapter’s annual scholarship or a chapter’s endowment to provide financial awards for more students in the future. As with all gifts to the university, a contribution automatically activates membership within the Mississippi State University Alumni Association.

To get involved with an MSU alumni chapter, visit or contact Michael Richardson or Janet Downey with chapter programs at 662.325.7000.

For assistance with establishing chapter scholarships or supporting them, contact a local chapter or Leanna Smith, stewardship coordinator with the MSU Foundation, at 662.325.4214 or Gifts may also be made online at

By Laura Ladner