University formally reopens historic 'Bull Ring'


Hart Bailey, former Holland Faculty Senate president and Mississippi State alumnus, said that the stories told around the Bull Ring over the decades are what make the restoration of the site so important. PHOTO: Megan Bean | Public Affairs

Mississippi State brought back a piece of university history Nov. 16 with the re-dedication of a restored campus landmark dating back to the 1930s.

Approximately 150 gathered around "The Bull Ring," a D-shaped concrete seating area, prior to the university's home football game with the University of Alabama. The ceremony was held also to express the land-grant institution's appreciation for the more than 500 donations that raised about $120,000 in 17 months.

In his remarks, MSU President Mark E. Keenum thanked the Class of 2012 that had initiated the project for "stepping forward to bring back the tradition."

Situated in front of the Colvard Student Union near two major campus thoroughfares, the Bull Ring long has been a place to meet friends, catch up on campus news or -- as the name implies -- "shoot the bull."

Rhett Hobart, 2012 Student Association president, also thanked the many individuals and groups for their efforts in the restoration. He particularly praised Keenum as the person who "set in motion a culture to protect the university's landmarks."

"It's so much more than just a bench," said Hobart, now a graduate assistant in MSU athletic marketing. Hobart was instrumental in helping reinstate the class gift program that had been inactive for many years.

"It's something that spans generations and ties us all together," Hobart said.

Hart Bailey, the former Holland Faculty Senate president who holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from MSU, reminded the audience that the many personal and other stories shared over the decades around the Bull Ring make it an key component of the university's heritage.

"It depicts a microcosm of important characteristics such as loyalty and devotion to each other and Mississippi State," Bailey said.

Also cited, along with alumni, employees and students, for either making donations or playing key roles in seeing the Bull Ring rebuilt were 2013 SA President Michael Hogan; Bill Kibler, Division of Student Affairs vice president; Bill Broyles, associate student affairs vice president; Roger Baker, campus master planner; and Jeremiah Dumas, Office of Sustainability associate director.

Harriet Laird | Public Affairs

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