Community service again in national spotlight


Mississippi State continues to be recognized nationally for community service activities -- this time as one of only 14 in a major category.

The university is a Presidential Award Finalist in the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll program. The institution was among only three in the Southeast to be named, including Florida Stetson University in Deland and Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga.

The recognition program is administered by the Washington, D.C.-based Corporation for National and Community Service that Congress created in 1993 to connect citizens of all ages with opportunities to give back to their communities and the nation.

The current recognition is the highest ranked of Mississippi State's four consecutive honor roll inclusions since 2009.

The Presidential Award Finalist category specifically recognizes higher education institutions whose efforts "reflect the value of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities," according to the organization's website. Formal announcement of all national winners was made Wednesday afternoon [March 6].

Meggan Franks said specific projects highlighted for MSU's 2013 application included the Day One Leadership Community, Campus-Community Emergency Response Team, Mississippi Delta Alternative Break, Early Childhood Institute, Summer Engineering Academies and Learning Programs, and leaderSTATE: Summer Residential Leadership and STEM Program.

Franks serves both as campus program coordinator of the Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement and project supervisor of the Maroon Volunteer Center AmeriCorps VISTA Project.

"We reported a total of nearly 8,300 students involved last year in academic service and learning projects," Franks said. "We also had more than 2,500 taking part in unduplicated community service activities, bringing our grand total of involved students to more than 10,800."

Cade Smith, director of student leadership and community engagement, joined Franks in expressing appreciation to all whose hard work and dedication had enabled MSU to be among "only 14 colleges and universities nationwide selected as 2013 Presidential Honor Roll finalists.

"Mississippi State was founded in 1878 on the principle of providing life-changing service, and being selected as an honor roll finalist formally recognizes the university's deep and continuing commitment to this principle," Smith continued.

Smith, who also is assistant dean of students, said the honor "would not have been possible without the selfless service and dedication of thousands of students from around the globe and MSU employees working in every county of the state.

"We also are especially thankful for our community partners who welcome collaborative partnerships with our students, faculty, and staff," he added.

Other 2013 honor roll finalists include the Dominguez Hills and Monterey Bay campuses of California State University; Empire College, also in California; Collin and Paul Quinn colleges in Texas; Defiance College and John Carroll University in Ohio; Kalamazoo College in Michigan; University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; University of Northern Iowa; and Widener University in Pennsylvania.

For additional information about the MSU projects, contact Smith at 662-325-0244 or; Franks, at 325-2208 or

Sammy McDavid | University Relations

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