DAFVM Spotlight Employee: Donna Bland
Donna Bland is not averse to change, which is good, because her title has changed four times during her MSU career, and the department’s name has changed three times, even though she’s worked in the same place for 27 years.
As an administrative assistant in the MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, Donna loves that no two work days are ever alike.
“My responsibilities vary from day-to-day sometimes moment-to-moment,” she explains. “I do a little bit of everything from working with and supporting the department head and faculty to assisting staff and helping students. I perform a wide variety of clerical duties, such as acting as a department liaison, greeting and directing visitors, answering phones, arranging meetings, scheduling rooms and interviews, processing and tracking official visitor agreements (OVA), submission of annual CRIS reports, handling the master class schedule every semester, and completion of graduate student defense paperwork to name a few. I’m the leave manager and the key manager for this department. I also handle work requests with Facilities Management and help desk tickets with ITS. I work closely with other front office personnel in the day-to-day operations of the department, and I share signature authority for the department head whenever he is away from the office.”
Donna stays so busy one colleague dubbed her the department’s “COO,” or chief operating officer.
“He even surprised me with a plaque naming me such for ‘doing more work than anyone else and putting up with more than anyone else,’” she said. “He thinks it bothers me but I consider it a compliment and know he is simply acknowledging my dedication to the department, the division, and the university.”
Donna planned for this career from the time she was in high school. She graduated with a regular high school diploma and a business diploma. When she decided to return to school, she had the background required but not the computer skills. She graduated from East Mississippi Community College in May 1990 with an associate’s degree, and started working at MSU the next month.
When she’s not working, Donna enjoys reading, watching TV, attending church services at Starkville Church of Christ, watching the Diamond Dawgs, and spending time with friends and family. She and her late husband, Darrell, were blessed with three children -- Michael, Joy and Richard -- and two grandchildren -- Brandon and Daylin.
Editor's note: The Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Spotlight Employee profiles are provided by the Office of Agricultural Communications at Mississippi State. For more information, please click here.