STATEMENTS: Around Campus

For the third consecutive year, Mississippi State University’s exceptionally maintained campus has earned recognition as part of the Professional Grounds Management Society’s 2017 Green Star Awards competition. MSU was one of four Honor Award recipients in the University and College Grounds (Mid-Size) categories.

Mississippi State architecture student Zachary Henry was one of seven students recognized by the 2017 HERE+NOW: A House for the 21st Century Residential Student Design Competition. The fifth-year student from Powell, Tennessee, received honorable mention for his project, “Affordable Housing for the 21st Century: A Housing Solution for Poverty in the Neglected Mississippi Delta.”

Mississippi State architecture seniors Omkar H. Prabhu, a native of Mumbai, India, and Curtis M. Reed of Montgomery, Alabama, took first- and second-place, respectively, in the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association Sustainable Versatility Design Awards challenge.

Merrill Warkentin, the James J. Rouse Professor of Information Systems in MSU’s College of Business, is one of five scholars worldwide to be recognized with the 2017 Outstanding Service Award by the International Federation for Information Processing.

Mississippi State’s Carl Small Town Center received two statewide awards for its “Marking the Mule” project focused on advancing citizen engagement in the Marks community. Director Leah F. Kemp recently accepted a 2017 Public Outreach Award from the Mississippi Chapter of the American Planning Association. The award recognizes an individual or program that uses information and education to raise awareness about the value of planning among communities and locales. The project also received an AIA Design Award from the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Emily Salmon-Wal, a graduate student and Mississippi State research engineer based in Vicksburg at the Institute for Systems Engineering Research, received a scholarship from the Gulf Region Intelligent Transportation Society.

During the December MSU Class Ring Ceremony, MSU President Mark E. Keenum proudly presented the students with their rings at the Chapel of Memories. Each honoree was recognized and given an opportunity to ring a special gold cowbell three times, signifying the university’s trifold mission of learning, research and service. At the ceremony’s close, recipients joined in unison to place the rings on their fingers in anticipation of becoming future Bulldog graduates. Official MSU rings are available for purchase through the MSU Alumni Association.

Mississippi State continues to rank high among America’s top universities for veterans. The university earned the 2018 Military Friendly Schools Gold Medal for its veteran-oriented campus culture, as well as being ranked No. 44 out of more than 600 colleges surveyed for the Military Times Best: Colleges 2018 rankings.

The Gillon family celebrated Thanksgiving in a new home after the ninth Mississippi State Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity home was dedicated during a ceremony in Starkville. MSU, City of Starkville and Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity officials came together to celebrate the new home, built by volunteers for Kareema Gillon and her two young children, Korrine and Dorione. As part of the university’s Maroon Edition program, MSU students, faculty and staff volunteered to build the house.

Nearly 130 students are new members of Mississippi State University’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. Membership is limited to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of second-term juniors.

A Virginia student recently completed a graduate degree at Mississippi State as the university’s third Janos Radvanyi Memorial Scholar. Christina E. Gusella of Alexandria received a master’s in history, with research focused on cultural diplomacy of the former Soviet Union. She also was a Department of History teaching assistant preparing for a career in academia.

MSU senior Mallory Eubanks of the sociology department was selected by the Washington Spirit 16th overall in the National Women’s Soccer League draft becoming the highest draftee in program history.

Marion W. “Will” Evans, head of the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, received the Sarah Mazelis Award for outstanding performance by a practitioner at the American Public Health Association annual meeting.

Wendy Herd, an associate professor of English is Mississippi State’s selection for 2017 Humanities Teacher of the Year. She was among some 30 higher education representatives the Mississippi Humanities Council recognized for outstanding achievements.

Debra S. Munsell is now leading the implementation of MSU-Meridian’s new graduate program in physician assistant studies.
George Hopper, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station director and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences dean at Mississippi State, received a 2017 Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors ESS Excellence in Leadership Award during the APLU’s recent annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Jonas King, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, is receiving a new innovator grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit organization established in the 2014 Farm Bill. He is one of only seven national recipients of the second annual New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award.

Another Mississippi State junior architecture student will experience the trip of a lifetime and learn more about her field this summer through firsthand visits to some of the world’s most renowned buildings. Maria I. Ory of Destrehan, Louisiana, will use the $20,000 Aydelott Travel Award to visit and research buildings in Austria, China, Mexico and Spain. She is the third MSU recipient since the endowed award was established in 2016.

Bronson Strickland, a wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture extension professor, has been named the St. John Family Endowed Professor of Wildlife Management in the College of Forest Resources.

After more than a year serving in an interim role, Nicole Rader, a Mississippi State sociology professor, is now associate dean for academic affairs in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. She succeeds Rick Travis, who moved into the dean’s position in 2016.

Pamela Scott-Bracey, an award-winning College of Education faculty member at Mississippi State recently was named Collegiate Teacher of the Year by the Southern Business Education Association.

Angie Chrestman, a Mississippi State alumna with approximately 15 years of career services experience is now leading MSU’s Career Center. She served as the interim director since Scott Maynard retired in 2017 after leading the center for nine years.

Thomas R. Gregory III, a Mississippi State alumnus and community planner for the university’s Carl Small Town Center, recently was elected to a one-year term as president-elect of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Planning Association. In January 2019, he will begin a two-year term as the organization’s president.

Licensed psychologist and assistant professor E. Samuel “Sam” Winer is being recognized as an APS Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science.

Dr. Sharon Grace, a clinical professor, and Dr. Gary D. Norsworthy, an adjunct professor, in the College of Veterinary Medicine are major authors of “The Feline Patient, Fifth Edition.” This is the fifth time these MSU-associated veterinarians have teamed up to produce a textbook for the practicing veterinarian.

Katherine Flowers of the university’s English department received the James Berlin Memorial Outstanding Dissertation Award, an international recognition of the Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Marisa G. Laudadio, a political science/pre-law and communication/public relations double-major from Walnut, is among 73 undergraduate students from around the country to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts for the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government’s prestigious Public Policy and Leadership Conference. She was accompanied by MSU political science and sociology double-major Emily L. Tingle of Vicksburg, who was selected in 2017 but unable to attend last year’s conference.

A faculty member since 2011, Julia Osman accepted the position of director of Mississippi State’s Institute for the Humanities. The associate professor succeeds William Anthony Hay, who completed his successful term and continues his full-time work as an associate professor in MSU’s Department of History.

Computer engineering senior Khalil N. Markham of Biloxi, who is also part of the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College has been selected for the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ Junior Summer Institute in Public Policy and International Affairs. MSU’s third PPIA Fellow in four years, he is receiving a $1,000 stipend, meal stipend, housing accommodations and round-trip airfare. As part of the fellowship experience, he will engage in discussions with other emerging leaders from around the country who are driven to make a difference through service to their communities.

After a national search, Allen S. Parrish has been named associate vice president for research and professor of computer science and engineering at Mississippi State. He is a professor and founding chair of the Department of Cyber Science at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He previously served as associate vice president for research at the University of Alabama.

Former national presidents of the MSU Alumni Association gathered in the Hunter Henry Center’s lobby as part of Former National Presidents Day on March 9. The group is collectively recognized biennially for their loyal service. Those former national presidents in attendance included: FRONT ROW (L-R) Gary Blair, Charles Cascio, B.B. Hosch, Betty Black, Clay McWilliams, Bill Long, A.D. Hunt, Camille Young and Steve Taylor; MIDDLE ROW (L-R) Joe Bryan, Ronnie Walton, Brad Reeves, David Jones, Walter Becker Jr., Jackie Ford and Lamar Connerly; BACK ROW (L-R): Jeff Davis, the association’s executive director, Jerry Toney and Tommy Roberson.

Jana Berkery

Trish Cunetto

Georgia Luann Carter

Foundation fills three fundraising posts

In an effort to further fundraising priorities for Mississippi State University, the MSU Foundation has placed three veteran staff members in new roles.

Starkville native Jana Berkery became assistant director of development for the College of Business and its Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy in January. She joins Zack Harrington, a veteran fundraiser and fellow alumnus who is the college’s director of development, as the pair seek major gifts for both units.

Berkery graduated from MSU in 2005 with a degree in sports communication and a minor in marketing. She began working at her alma mater in 2011 as coordinator of annual giving for the Bulldog Club athletic fundraising organization. She also has previous higher education experience with Mississippi University for Women and University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Succeeding Berkery as director of annual giving is Georgia Luann Carter, a Canton native who assumed the position in February. In the role, she will direct fundraising efforts that typically focus on gifts made to any MSU area on a continuing basis.

Carter also will be responsible for securing annual gifts for the institution and its academic colleges through direct marketing efforts and overseeing the university’s Bulldog Calling Center with some 20 student employees who work to build partnerships and update database records for MSU graduates and friends.

Carter holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Delta State University. Before coming to MSU, she served as a resource manager with Luckie & Company in Birmingham, Alabama, and in marketing and sales with Birmingham Printing. Her previous experience included various marketing roles with department stores including Parisian, Profitt’s and McRae’s.

The MSU Library has a new fundraiser in Trish Cunetto. She welcomed responsibilities with major gift fundraising for the MSU Library, one of six presidential libraries in the nation, in February. Since 2012, Cunetto has served as the College of Education director of development and will continue in that role simultaneously.

A 1986 elementary education graduate and Starkville resident, Cunetto initially joined the MSU Foundation fundraising team following an accomplished career in the classroom. A Columbus native, she was a public-school teacher for 25 years. She began her career at Lower Elementary in Quitman, then taught at West Side Elementary in West Point before serving as a kindergarten teacher at Starkville’s Sudduth Elementary. She has a long list of career-related leadership activities including service with then-Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s Teacher Advisory Committee and the Mississippi Superintendent’s Advisory Committee.

All MSU Foundation fundraising personnel are working to further the university’s Infinite Impact campaign. A complete list of personnel and a link to the university’s Guide to Giving can be found at Also, the latest foundation news is available on Twitter @MSU_Foundation.

Longtime faculty member Dan Seale is the inaugural James R. Moreton Endowed Fellow in the College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State University. The James R. Moreton Fellow in Sustainable Bioproducts was established through a gift from James Reginald Moreton, a 1956 mechanical engineering alumnus. After a career in banking as founder and CEO of First Federal Savings and Loan, Moreton moved into the industrial access mat business.

Air Force ROTC cadets at Mississippi State are supervising the military branch’s national student community service operations. The university’s Detachment 425 defeated a University of Tennessee, Knoxville peer organization in competition to become national headquarters for the Arnold Air Society. The prestigious designation is a first in AFROTC’s seven-decade history on the Starkville campus.

MSU landscape architecture students recently designed and presented campus master plans for a Memphis-area high school. Seventeen undergraduates and two master’s students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences landscape architecture major spent the semester reimagining the master plan of Bolton High School in Arlington, Tennessee. Located in a small town just northeast of Memphis, the high school plans to return to its rich agricultural roots as an agriculture optional school.

Administrators from Mississippi State University and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture signed a cooperative agreement designed to train workforce entrants for the midwestern state’s burgeoning poultry industry. The newly developed program includes three semesters in Nebraska and a semester in Mississippi State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Upon completion of the program, students will earn an Associate of Applied Science in Animal Science degree from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, with a concentration in poultry science.

Eighteen architecture students in Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design recently presented master plan and building proposals for a forestry and wildlife outreach center in Mississippi’s largest urban natural area. The student projects were part of MSU Assistant Professor Jacob A. “Jake” Gines’s fall-semester introduction to mass timber studio course supported by the Mississippi Forestry Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Mississippi Forestry Association.

Four of Mississippi State’s distance education programs are recognized in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report online programs rankings, with two programs ranking in the top 50 nationally. The MSU College of Business’ Distance MBA program remains one of the best in the country at No. 22 in U.S. News’ Best Online MBA Program rankings, once again achieving the highest ranking of any online MBA program in Mississippi. The ranking also marks the fourth consecutive year MSU’s Distance MBA program has ranked in the top 25 nationally.

Mississippi State is among more than 100 senior higher-education institutions being praised by the international honor society for students at two-year colleges. The university recently was named to the 2018 Transfer Honor Roll of Phi Theta Kappa.

Junior Emmalyne J. Kwasny, who is focusing on journalism in the university’s Department of Communication, has been named the Southeast Journalism Conference’s College Journalist of the Year. As editor-in-chief of The Reflector, MSU’s twice-weekly broadsheet, she also was honored with fourth place in the Best of the South special event reporter/editor category and third in design and page layout during the onsite competition.

Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University, has been elected to the board of trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH).

Mississippi State University’s Office of Public Affairs is being hailed as one of the nation’s top communication and marketing teams by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District III. MSU won the Platinum Award — the CASE III competition’s top prize — for its “We Ring True” branding initiative. MSU also gained top honors in the advertising subcategory for the university’s 2017 television commercial and won two Awards of Excellence in the programs and projects subcategory for the university’s branding strategy and for external communications, which includes media and public relations, social media and advertising.

A new report from the National Science Foundation again finds Mississippi State ranked among the nation’s top 100 research institutions and the Magnolia State’s leading research university. The recently released NSF Higher Education Research and Development Survey for Fiscal Year 2016 places the university at 93rd overall among public and private institutions in the country, based on $239.4 million in total research and development expenditures. It is ranked 60th among non-medical school institutions, and 64th among public institutions.

Professor of Educational Leadership Dr. Linda T. Coats of MSU’s College of Education, center right, and Community Outreach Veterinarian Dr. Brittany S. Moore-Henderson of MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, center left, were among campus and community leaders recognized during the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning’s annual Diversity Awards ceremony for their impact in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect.

BULLDOGS land double Final Four appearances