STATEMENTS: Around Campus

For his development of a Cumberland Gap Civil War driving tour, doctoral student Lucas Wilder is being honored with the 2018 Bearss Fellowship Award from the National Park Service. The annual award is presented to a scholar researching American history.

Steve Parrott, a Mississippi State alumnus with 34 years of information technology experience, is the university’s chief information officer.

Dominic Lippillo, an associate professor in the university’s Department of Art, is among nine visual artists from around the region receiving a $5,000 State Fellowship from Atlanta, Georgia-based nonprofit South Arts.

Dennis Smith, professor and head of the Department of Chemistry, has been named director of the university’s Marvin B. Dow Advanced Composites Institute, which is located at the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory in Starkville. He will continue to serve as head of the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Catherine N. Patriquin, a senior music education /instrumental major from Ocean Springs, was honored with the 2018 Keyone Docher Student Achievement Award during MSU Libraries’ 12th annual Charles H. Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran announced a $7 million federal transportation grant for Mississippi State University to develop an approximately two-mile multimodal corridor on Hightower Road. The 2017 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant was approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Senior art/graphic design major Lori L. Nesbitt of Winona is one of only four university students selected by an international panel of jurors to receive a Certificate of Excellence in the Fine Art-Student category of Creative Quarterly: The Journal of Art and Design.

Brian S. Locke, a retired lieutenant colonel, was named director of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at Mississippi State. The Montgomery Center is based in Nusz Hall, a world-class facility that opened in 2016 and provides 7,500 square feet dedicated to the university’s veteran community.

Senior Celebration

Each April, the MSU Alumni Association and the MSU Alumni Delegates host a Senior Celebration to honor Mississippi State University seniors as they prepare for spring graduation. The 2018 party was held in April at the Hunter Henry Center. Graduates received their first alumni T-shirt as a free gift. A crawfish boil, ice cream, soft drinks, and live entertainment highlighted the occasion.

Picnics bring Bulldogs together

Summertime provides the perfect atmosphere for gathering family and friends and strengthening their Mississippi State University connections. The MSU Alumni Association and several of its chapters have a long tradition of hosting summer picnics that not only bring together Bulldogs of all ages, but also celebrate the university’s beloved home state of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Society of Washington, D.C., gathered for its annual picnic on the National Mall in June. In its 28th year, the event featured live music, a catfish dinner and lots of Southern hospitality.

Also, in June, the Greater Atlanta Chapter gathered for a multi-day celebration in Georgia, consisting of a “Mississippi Night” with the Atlanta Braves followed by the ninth annual Mississippi in the Park picnic at Chastain Memorial Park in Buckhead. The MSU Alumni Association hosted a tent for the picnic, and “Bully” the mascot made a special appearance.

For more information on MSU alumni events in your area, please visit

Jennifer B. Easley, business manager of the Bagley College of Engineering, recently was selected to become president-elect of the Society of Research Administrators International/Southern Section with membership representing 14 states from Virginia to Texas, plus Puerto Rico. Easley currently is serving as president of the Alabama-Mississippi Chapter, and her MSU colleague Stephanie Hyche, associate director of the Office of Sponsored Projects and leader of the new Proposal Services Office, also has been chosen to serve this year as president-elect of the chapter.

A distinguished faculty member in Mississippi State’s Bagley College of Engineering will advance her research in Australia after being named a Fulbright U.S. Senior Scholar. Cindy Bethel, an associate professor in MSU’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, will continue researching therapeutic robots at the University of Technology Sydney during the 2018-19 academic year.

Brent Funderburk, a longtime faculty member and retired head of the MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design’s Department of Art, received a “Judge’s Recognition Award” in the 11th Biennial National Art Exhibit at the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Faculty and students in Mississippi State’s College of Forest Resources took top honors at the 41st annual meeting of the Southeastern Deer Study Group, marking the first time in the conference’s four-decade history that one school has swept the competition. MSU graduate students in MSU’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture took first, second and third place in the annual student oral presentation competition. Steve Demarais, the Dale H. Arner Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management, received the prestigious Deer Management Career Achievement award, which was established in 1995 to recognize outstanding contributions to white-tailed deer ecology and management.

Assistant Professor Rachel Allison is receiving an Early Career Gender Scholar Award by Sociologists for Women in Society–South. The award is presented to a junior researcher who has authored groundbreaking work advancing the scholarship of gender and has received a doctoral degree within the last six years.

A tropical cyclone authority at Mississippi State, Kimberly Wood, an assistant professor, is a new selection for the American Meteorological Society’s Early Career Leadership Academy.

For the fourth time in seven years, a Mississippi State student has received the highly coveted Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Nicholas A. “Nic” Ezzell, a senior physics major from Laurel, is the land-grant institution’s newest recipient of the prestigious award and the only Mississippian to receive the honor this year. Ezzell, who has accumulated significant research experience as an undergraduate student, is a member of MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College.

Two faculty members in Mississippi State’s College of Business are being recognized for their publication of leading research in the prestigious journal Family Business Review. Daniel T. Holt and Kincy Madison, faculty members in MSU’s Department of Management and Information Systems, along with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Franz Kellermanns, are winners of the 2018 Family Business Review Best Article Award.

A senior communication major at Mississippi State represented her university, state and country in July at the prestigious Hansen Summer Institute on Leadership and International Cooperation. Elise Moore, a Madison native, is the first Mississippian to participate in the institute, which brings students from around the world together every year at the University of San Diego. Moore is a member of the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College and holds the Steve and Melody Golding Presidential Endowed Scholarship at MSU.

The NSF is recognizing Neeraj Rai, an assistant professor in MSU’s Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, with the nationally renowned Faculty Career Development Award for his work in developing efficient catalysts and processes that convert biomass into chemicals, fuels and other sustainable materials. The honor includes more than $500,000 in funding to support research expenses over a five-year period from the Catalysis program in the National Science Foundation’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems division.

Faculty Award Recipients

Three esteemed MSU faculty members earned special recognition from the Alumni Association as part of the university’s 2018 Faculty Awards and Recognition Program. Pictured with Jeff Davis, the association’s executive director, are (left to right): Associate Professor Santia Yarahmadian, faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences, recipient of the MSU Alumni Association’s Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award; Professor Brian Baldwin, faculty member in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, recipient of the MSU Alumni Association’s Graduate Teaching Excellence Award; and Assistant Professor Michael Breazeale, faculty member in the College of Business, recipient of the MSU Alumni Association’s Early Career Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award.

Miller joins annual giving team

The Mississippi State University Foundation has welcomed Klaire Miller of Vicksburg as assistant director of annual giving. Through annual giving, donors are provided an avenue to support any area of the university including colleges, schools and programs.

Miller joined the MSU Office of Annual Giving team directed by Georgia Luann Carter in May. In particular, Miller oversees the Bulldog Calling Center that employs some 20 MSU students to make telephone solicitations year-round. Callers also update database records of alumni and friends. Mississippi State has nearly 142,000 living alumni.

Miller holds a 2017 bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Mississippi State. While enrolled at MSU, she previously worked in the university’s life skills department, an NCAA-sponsored unit that bridges the gap between college and professional life for student-athletes. Additionally, as a student, Miller interned with the Bulldog Club, MSU’s athletic fundraising arm, and with Bulldog Suites, where she also served as an ambassador and floor captain.

Miller is housed in the Hunter Henry Center and may be contacted at or (662) 325-4046. More on annual giving is available at

Spring Ring Ceremony

The MSU Alumni Association hosted The Ring at MSU, a commemorative ceremony for the presentation of the university’s official class rings. The historic Chapel of Memories was the setting for the May event for all MSU students and alumni who purchased their official class rings during ring days this spring. With family and friends in attendance, MSU Vice President for Division of Development and Alumni John Rush presented the recipients with their rings. The MSU Alumni Association serves as caretaker of the ring program. The campus ceremony is conducted twice annually. For more information on rings, visit