April 5, 2010 Rotogram


Bill McPherson, president of the B.B. King Museum Foundation and chair of the Mississippi Blues Commission, takes us on a tour of our state’s roots music heritage.


We play host to the district’s Italian Group Study Exchange Team next week. The team will bring the program in the midst of a day of touring area businesses and the university.


Invocation and Pledge: Larry Box

Attendance: There were 104 members (25 exempt, 1 honorary) present and 87 (23 exempt, 11 honorary) absent.

Guests and visitors: Returning Starkville native Rocky Katz was the guest of Larry Mullins. Youth Exchange Student Francesca Scaravelli was the only guest of the Club.

Makeup: Chip Templeton at a board meeting.

Condolences: President Martha expressed the Club’s sympathy to Past-president Chip Templeton on the death of his mother. She also noted the passing of Lee Beck’s grandmother.

Kudos: The Templeton family’s community involvement was highlighted by the success of the Fourth Annual Charles Templeton Ragtime Festival at MSU on March 26 and 27. A number of Rotarians are involved in the event.


Jeremy Brock, assistant vice president of the Starkville branch of the Mississippi Land Bank, introduced himself to the Club. The Montpelier native attended Oak Hill Academy in West Point and East Mississippi Community College before graduating from MSU with a degree in Risk Management, Insurance, and Financial Planning. He has been with the Land Bank since 2005.


Dora Herring explained the Archives Committee’s three main jobs:

  1. Maintain our banner collection from clubs around the world. The committee makes display boards and sets them up at special events.
  2. Maintain our scrapbook of newspaper clippings and other materials.
  3. Supply the MSU Library with archive materials such as the Rotogram and business minutes.  She noted that this activity is for Starkville history as much as anything.


Following Starkville High’s Grand Slam state basketball championship win in early March, President Martha asked Rotarian Larry Box to reminisce about the school’s last basketball champions at the March 15 meeting.
Asking “What do you say about something that happened 49 years ago?” he proceeded to recount the 1961 team’s adventure.
Larry’s teammates were Lewis Mallory, Jackie Wofford, Larry Nix and Barry Wood.
The tournament was played in two days with victories over Wesson, Clarksdale and Ocean Springs.
Returning to Starkville on the Sunday after their victory, the team was met on Highway 25 by fans and a fire truck and police escort. At what is now the Greensboro Center, the team was greeted by the mayor and legendary MSU basketball coach Babe McCarthy.
In Jackson, the team had received their trophy from Governor Ross Barnett who made a lengthy speech. Handing them the trophy, the governor said, “It was the best football game I’ve seen in a long time.”


“Many of the PowerPoint presentations that I see every day are bad enough to cause physical pain,” said Ben West, associate extension professor of Wildlife and Fisheries at Mississippi State University.
As outreach coordinator for the Berryman Institute, he conducts lots of training for the USDA. The institute, with its eastern headquarters at MSU, focuses on resolving human and wildlife conflicts.
West explained that his presentation used to be titled “On the Effective Use of PowerPoint.” However, reflecting on the pain aspect, he re-titled it “Death by PowerPoint.”
Noting that more than half of his audience admitted using the tool, and everyone reported seeing a presentation, he set two goals: 1) to think about and use PowerPoint differently; 2) to raise the intolerance level for bad presentations.
“This piece of technology did not exist until 1987 and wasn’t really used by anybody until the mid-1990s,” said West. “Today, Microsoft estimates more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations are given every day in the United States. Some day an anthropologist will get his or her PhD writing about how this little piece of technology has radically changed how we communicate with one another.”
In business terms, he estimates that  $500 million of productivity is lost due to bad presentations each day in the U.S.
West maintains that it has hampered more than enhanced communication. It has made it more difficult for speakers to stand up before audiences, tell a story and connect with people.
He listed public speaking’s foundational principles as presenter focus and audience attention. A speaker’s goal is to remove as many barriers as possible between him/her and the audience.
“After preparing a presentation, you want the audience paying attention to what you have to say, not paying attention to what’s on screen or getting bored,” said West.
The cliché, “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” should be followed when designing a presentation.
West said, “Just once, I’d like for a speaker to say, ‘I know this is really busy, but I didn’t care enough about as an audience to put together a slide that was really coherent.’”

Ben’s PowerPoint Design Principles

  • Avoid bullet points
  • Use high quality images with a clear purpose
  • Give one idea per slide
  • Use one quality image per slide
  • Don’t kill your audience
  • Beware animations and sounds
  • Use effects that help you tell a story
  • Use simple backgrounds

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