University's ongoing impact, accomplishments highlighted at spring general faculty meeting

Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum speaks during the spring 2018 general faculty meeting. PHOTO: Russ Houston | Public Affairs

Mississippi State University leaders shared how MSU’s success is moving Mississippi forward during Tuesday’s [Feb. 13] spring general faculty meeting.

“From the Tennessee line to the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi State University employees are serving every day to help make this state better, to grow our economy and to serve communities all over this state,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said during his address to the faculty. “There’s no other organization, institution or university doing what you all are doing.”

Keenum highlighted many ongoing capital projects that will allow the university to advance its research, teaching and outreach missions while accommodating a growing student enrollment. The new Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory, located in front of the Wise Center, is expected to be complete later this spring. Adjacent to the meat science building is an Animal and Dairy Science Building, which is on track to be completed this year. Plans also are moving forward for a new Poultry Science Building. The three new buildings will form an L-shape complex, enhancing the university’s teaching and research capabilities in these important agricultural fields, Keenum said.

MSU is moving forward with plans for a $34 million engineering and science complex. Keenum said he hopes to break ground on that project this summer. On Thursday [Feb. 15], MSU presented its proposal for a mixed-use student housing development to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees. The public-private-partnership with Memphis-based Education Realty Trust will “transform the area around the former Aiken Village site.” Many other capital projects continue to progress in either the construction or planning phases.

MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw highlighted the university’s many ongoing major research projects, which have helped MSU remain ranked in the nation’s top 100 research institutions and Mississippi’s leading research university, according to the National Science Foundation. Shaw mentioned MSU’s selection to lead a major unmanned aerial systems project for the Department of Homeland Security, and the MSU-Starkville Oktibbeha School District Partnership School, which will allow the university to continue to grow its educational research while benefiting students of the local school district. Shaw also said the university continues to pursue international research partnerships.

“The national and international recognition our faculty receive for their work continues to amaze me,” Shaw said. “I think our university is doing amazing things on a number of fronts.”

MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner discussed MSU’s continued academic success. As the MSU student body grows, it is also attracting high-quality students, Bonner said. In MSU’s record freshman class of 2017, 27 percent of the students had an ACT score of 28 or above. Applications to the university’s Shackouls Honors College have increased significantly, Bonner said.

“MSU is not only growing in number, but MSU is growing in quality,” she said.

Greg Bohach, MSU vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine, said he looks forward to seeing the impact from the new agricultural research and teaching facilities that are under construction.

“Agriculture is an $8 billion industry in this state and we’re proud that it is the driving economic force for the state of Mississippi,” Bohach said.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

James Carskadon | Public Affairs

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