Foundation names officers, incoming members for 2018

As Infinite Impact surpasses the $835 million mark, the largest fundraising endeavor in Mississippi history continues to be driven toward a $1 billion goal by the MSU Foundation and its 47-seat board of directors.

Again in 2018, the MSU Foundation is being led by Earnest W. “Earnie” Deavenport Jr. of Greenville, South Carolina, who is entering his third term as board chair. He is joined by returning 2017 officers D. Hines Brannan Jr. of Atlanta, Georgia, vice chair, and William A. “Lex” Taylor III of Louisville, treasurer. The three alumni began new one-year terms January 1.

Mississippi native Deavenport earned an MSU chemical engineering degree in 1960 and received a 2011 honorary Doctor of Science in the fields of business and engineering from the university. He is the retired chairman and CEO of Kingsport, Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical Company.

A 1970 industrial engineering graduate who earned an MBA the following year, Brannan is a retired managing director of Accenture. Fellow alumnus Taylor is chairman and CEO of Taylor Group Inc. and president of Taylor Machine Works Inc. He earned a general business administration degree in 1977.

Other leadership includes John P. Rush, MSU vice president for development and alumni, who serves as board president and CEO; David Easley, executive director of finance, who is chief financial officer; and Jack McCarty, executive director of development, who serves as secretary. All three are MSU graduates.

Beginning inaugural three-year terms in 2018 are:

Timothy S. “Tim” Duncan of Houston, Texas. A 1995 petroleum engineering graduate, Duncan is president and CEO of Talos Energy Inc.

Paul J. Karre of Pawleys Island, S.C. A 1974 graduate in business administration with a management concentration, Karre is the retired senior vice president of human resources and communications for International Paper.

Joffrey R. “Jay” Pryor of Houston, Texas. A 1979 petroleum engineering graduate, Pryor is vice president for business development of Chevron Corp.

Seven alumni who have previously served are returning to the board in new three-year terms. They are:

Hassell H. Franklin of Houston. The 1959 management graduate is chairman and CEO of Franklin Corp.

David B. Hall of Meridian. A 1999 forestry and 2002 MBA graduate, Hall is CEO and president of Hall Timberlands.

Wilbert G. “Mickey” Holliman Jr. of Belden. A 1960 industrial management graduate, Holliman is the retired chairman and CEO of Furniture Brands International. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science by MSU in 2017.

Malcolm B. Lightsey Sr. of Ridgeland. A 1961 bachelor’s and 1963 master’s of mathematics graduate, Lightsey is the retired president and CEO of SunTech Inc.

M. Diane Roberts of Louisville, Kentucky. Roberts, who earned bachelor’s and master’s in zoology in 1963 and 1964, respectively, is a retired associate professor of business at Indiana University East.

Cynthia M. Stevens of Alexandria, Virginia. A 1983 political science graduate, Stevens serves as Management Principal Government Relations for Deloitte LLP.

Anthony L. Wilson of Gulfport. A 1987 electrical engineering graduate, Wilson is the chairman, president and CEO of Mississippi Power Co.

Also joining the board, by virtue of position, are Bradley M. “Brad” Reeves of Ridgeland, the university’s national alumni president, and Thomas B. “Tommy” Nusz of Houston, Texas, in his first year as president of the MSU Bulldog Club. Reeves, who earned a bachelor’s in business administration, with concentrations in management and construction of land development in 2002, is a partner at the law firm of Randall, Segrest, Weeks, Reeves and Sones PLLC. Nusz, a 1982 MSU petroleum engineering graduate, is CEO and chairman of Houston-based Oasis Petroleum, which he co-founded.

For more information on the work of the MSU Foundation and access to the university’s Guide to Giving, visit or follow the MSU Foundation on Twitter @MSU_Foundation.