Class Notes


The city of Lucedale declared August 4 to be James E. Corley Day. Corley (B.S. mechanical engineering, ‘63) received this honor in recognition of his civic work and years of volunteer service to the city. He returned to Lucedale in 1995 after retiring from an engineering career.

Louis Valentine (B.A., M.A. management; ‘65, ‘66), who was recently sworn in as alderman-at-large for Lucedale, was named to the Mississippi Municipal League Hall of Fame.



William P. “Bill” Gardner (B.S. banking and finance, ‘74) has been named a Forbes Coaching Council Contributor, whose work can be found on the publication’s website. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he owns a leadership coaching and development business.

Mike Smith (B.S. electrical engineering, ‘75) retired after 47 years with Singing River Electric. He began his career with the utility provider in 1970 as a cooperative-education student and retired as manager of the organization.

John Clark (B.S., M.S. horticulture; ‘78, ‘80) was named to the Arkansas Agricultural Hall of Fame. A distinguished professor at the University of Arkansas, he is considered one of the country’s preeminent experts in the field of fruit crop genetics and breeding.

Lynn Phillips-GainesLynn Phillips-Gaines (B.A. communication, ‘78) is ranked among the Best-In-State Wealth Advisors by Forbes.

Tracy L. Harris III (B.S. animal science, ‘79) was promoted to vice president of sales for professional brands with Central Life Sciences. He has been with the company for more than 16 years, most recently serving as senior director of sales for the Professional Agricultural Products division.



Ted Kendall IV (B.S. agricultural economics, ‘82) was named by Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue as chairman of the Farm Service Agency State Committee. The group helps administer agricultural conservation, production adjustment, price support and livestock programs in the state.

Tom Reisenbichler (Bachelor of Architecture, ‘82) was named one of the “Dallas 500” for 2018 by DCEO magazine, an honor that recognizes the most powerful and influential business leaders in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He is managing director of the Dallas branch of Perkins+Will, a global architecture and design firm.

Cindy Stevens (B.A. political science, ‘83) has been appointed managing principal of the Alexandria Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. She is management principal, government relations of Deloitte LLP.

Sukant Misra (M.S., Ph.D. agricultural economics; ‘86, ‘89) was named vice provost of international affairs at Texas Tech University. He served in numerous positions since joining the university in 1993, most recently as associate dean for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Prior to joining Texas Tech, he worked at the University of Georgia.

Brian Marsh (B.S. mechanical engineering, ‘87) was named president and CEO of Goodwill Arkansas.

Archimania, an architecture collective based in Memphis, Tennessee, was ranked 13th in Architect magazine’s 2017 top 50 firms for design. Todd Walker (Bachelor of Architecture, ‘87) is a partner and principal for the firm, which employs many Mississippi State alumni as architects and designers.

U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr Thomas Brian Bailey (B.B.A., ‘89) retired from service in Mobile, Alabama. He first enlisted in the National Guard in 1986 before joining ROTC at Mississippi State and ultimately earning an Army commission. He began his Coast Guard career at Air Station Clearwater in 1998.

Britt Virden (B.A. political science, ‘89) of the law firm Campbell DeLong, LLP in Greenville, was selected as a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a national organization of trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of civil jury trials in America. He most recently served the nonprofit as chief operations officer. Prior to joining Goodwill in 2013, he held leadership positions with Envirotest in Arvada, Colorado, and Essilor Laboratories of America in Dallas.



Marion Harris (B.S., M.S. mathematics; ‘91, ‘93) has been named vice president of the Mobility Business Group of Ford Motor Company. He previously served as chief financial officer and treasurer of Ford Motor Credit Company. He has been with Ford since 1999.

Amy Smith Thompson (B.A. psychology, ‘95) is now student services manager for Mississippi State-Meridian. She was previously assistant director of student affairs at Concorde Career College in Memphis, and has taught in community colleges in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arkansas.

Janna Hadden (Bachelor of Professional Accountancy, ‘94) was named deputy director for the Mississippi Department of Transportation Budget Division, which she has served for eight years. She previously worked for the Supreme Court of Mississippi as deputy finance director.

“The Fighter,” the latest novel by Michael Farris Smith (B.A. communication, ‘94) was released in March. It can be found in stores along with the Mississippi Author Award winner’s other titles, “Rivers” and “Desperation Road.”

Amy Smith Thompson (B.A. psychology, ‘95) is now student services manager for Mississippi State-Meridian. She was previously assistant director of student affairs at Concorde Career College in Memphis, and has taught in community colleges in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arkansas.

Live Oak Engineering recently marked a decade of existence. Now with offices in Biloxi and Birmingham, Alabama, the firm was established by Patrick Plourde (B.S. civil engineering, ‘96) in his own garage.

John Rounsaville (B.S. agribusiness, ‘97; Master of Agribusiness Management, ‘98) was named Mississippi’s director of USDA Rural Development by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. He previously served as state director during the administration of President George W. Bush. He has two decades of experience in economic and community development, infrastructure planning and public policy.



Jane Hulon (Ph.D. education, ‘00) became the eighth president of Copiah-Lincoln Community College in July. She most recently served as vice president of the Wesson campus but had also been vice president of instructional services, academic dean of instruction and director of planning and research.

Kris Patrick (B.S. chemical engineering, ‘00; MBA, ‘09) has been named the president of Ergon Refining Inc. and Ergon–West Virginia Inc. He will provide leadership in manufacturing operations, supply and distribution, planning, and sales and marketing. He joined the company in 2000 as a process engineer and most recently served as senior vice president of refining, planning and supply. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.

Larkin Kennedy (Bachelor of Business Administration, ‘01) has been named president and CEO of Rush Health Systems in Meridian, becoming the fifth person to lead the organization. He has been with Rush since 2010, previously serving as vice president of physician and clinic services, administrator of Rush Foundation Hospital and president of the health systems’ hospital division.

Stephen T. Masley (B.B.A banking and finance, ‘02) was named a “Rising Star” by Mid-South Super Lawyers. He is a Jackson-based litigator with McGinchey Stafford and focuses on the area of consumer finance.

Hunter Butler (B.S. biological engineering, ‘03) was honored as the Early Career Pediatrician of the Year in the state of Tennessee by the Tennessee chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has been a pediatrician at Springfield Children’s Clinic and Pleasant View Children’s Clinic since 2011.

Josh Foreman (B.A. communication, ‘05) and Ryan Starrett recently published “Hidden History of Jackson,” which details little-known stories from the area.

Jonathan Johnson (B.S. civil engineering, ‘06) has been named principal owner of Pickering Firm Inc., which is headquartered in Memphis. He is based with the civil engineering team at the company’s Flowood office.

Libby Huff King (B.A. communication, ‘06) was promoted to sales director for Trezevant, a senior living community in Memphis that she previously served for five years as sales counselor. She also worked as advertising director for RSVP magazine.

Jibonananda “Jibo” Sanyal (M.S., Ph.D. computer science; ‘09, ‘12) was a Knoxville Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree for 2017. He is a scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and team leader for Scalable and High Performance Geocomputation at the lab.

Michael Robert (B.S. mathematics, ‘08) has earned a Fulbright scholarship for Zika research. The professor in University of the Sciences’ Department of Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, will use his funding to conduct research in Argentina this summer.



Aaron Feld (B.B.A. management of construction and land development, ‘10; M.S. kinesiology, ‘13) was named strength and conditioning coordinator for the University of Oregon’s football program. He joins the Ducks having spent the last three years with the University of Georgia as assistant coordinator.

Meryl Fisackerly (B.A. communication, ‘10) is now director of programs and events for the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce. She previously worked in sales for Columbus Brick Company and donor relations for Palmer Home for Children. She succeeds Emily McConnell (B.A. communication, ’14; M.S. kinesiology ‘16), who left the position to serve as project manager for Golden Triangle Development LINK.

Scott Waller (B.S. interdisciplinary studies, ‘10) was named president and chief executive of the Mississippi Economic Council, the state chamber of commerce. An 11-year veteran of the council, he had served as interim leader since Blake Wilson retired in June after 19 years.

Kellon Lawrence (B.B.A. ‘11, MBA, ‘12) has joined Morgan Stanley in Jackson as a financial adviser. He earned his Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2017.

Army National Guard 2nd Lt. Aubrey Miller Faulk (B.S. psychology, ‘13) completed Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. As seventh in his class, he graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate with Honor and Distinction. He is assigned to the Mississippi 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, known as “Dixie Thunder.”

Kelly Brewer (MBA, ‘14), who serves as director of engineering for the Portland, Maine-based Tilson, has been named a Top Young Professional in New England by Engineering News-Record. She is one of just 11 professionals in the region to earn the recognition this year.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Hunter S. Hespen (B.S. criminology, ‘14) was named the 2017 junior sailor of the year serving at Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor, Washington.

Dak Prescott (B.S. interdisciplinary studies, ‘14; M.S. workforce education leadership, ‘15) leads all NFL players in jersey sales, according to the NFL Players Association’s sales figures for March through November 2017. The Cowboy’s quarterback joins QBs Tom Brady, Patriots, and Russell Wilson, Seahawks, as the only players to hold the top position for consecutive sales quarters.

Leighton Hill (B.A. communication, ‘17) is now media and marketing coordinator for Ross & Yerger Insurance. Headquartered in Jackson, it is one of the largest independent, privately-held insurance agencies in the Southeast.

Jo Ann Streiff Herold (attended) was recognized by the American Marketing Association of Atlanta for exceptional marketing and community efforts at the American Marketing Association awards. She is chief marketing officer for the Honey Baked Ham Co. and previously held executive positions for Arby’s Restaurant Group and Interface Inc.



Eleanor Ann Lawrence, Nov. 13, 2017 to Rae Ann Lawrence (’13, ’15) and Kellon Lawrence (’11, ’12) of Jackson.