Laird takes expanded communication role

Jim Laird

A Starkville native and longtime writer and editor is taking on additional communication-related responsibilities at Mississippi State.

Jim Laird has been promoted to research and executive support editor for the land-grant institution. He is assuming duties previously performed by Joe Farris, who is retiring at the end of June.

“Joe Farris has set a standard of excellence in his service to Mississippi State University,” said Kyle Steward, MSU’s executive director of external affairs. “We congratulate him on his well-deserved retirement, and appreciate his effort to ensure a smooth transition. In many ways, he will be irreplaceable, but we have great confidence in Jim’s capabilities,” he said.

In his expanded role with the university, Laird will provide key research and writing executive support for the Office of the President and serve as the liaison to the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and the board’s administrative staff.

Laird will continue to promote Mississippi State’s research and economic development initiatives for the Office of Public Affairs and coordinate communication for the Office of Research and Economic Development.

“Jim will remain an integral member of the Public Affairs team and our primary liaison to the university’s research community, and we are pleased he has accepted these additional responsibilities,” said Sid Salter, the university’s chief communications officer and OPA director. “Jim’s impressive skill set and his steady temperament are perfectly suited to this new position.”

Before joining MSU in 2008, Laird was editor of the Jackson-based Mississippi Business Journal -- the Magnolia State’s only statewide business weekly publication -- where his editorial writing won gold and silver awards from the Alliance of Area Business Publications. The Mississippi Press Association also recognized his work for the MBJ.

“Mississippi State means so much to me and my family, and I believe strongly in its unique position as a land-grant and the leading research university in our state,” Laird said.

“I appreciate this new opportunity to help share the Mississippi State story with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends,” he said.

A graduate of Starkville Academy, he holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Mississippi College. Laird and his family live in Starkville, where they are members of The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection and active supporters of the tennis program and Lady Jacket soccer team at Starkville High School, where his daughter Harper is a junior. His wife, Harriet, is associate director of Public Affairs at MSU, and daughter Hannah is a sophomore microbiology major and member of Kappa Delta sorority.

He is the son of Marilyn Laird Henley of Starkville and the late Dr. Kermit Laird.

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Sid Salter | Public Affairs

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