August 25, 2008 Rotogram


Assistant Athletic Director for MSU Football Coach Brad Pendergrass will brief us on the 2008 season.


Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day. No meeting.


Invocation and Pledge: Ned Browning

Attendance: There were 122 members (42 exempt) present, and 76 (14  exempt, 7 honorary) absent.

Guests and visitors: Members’ guests included Amy Tuck of Frances Coleman, Andrew Fox of Bill Fox, Benjy Mikel of Gary Jackson, Dale Tate of Steve Taylor, Dennis Bock of P.C. McLaurin, Ken Gilbert of Mike Hainsey, Les Potts of Brian Portera, Michael Vizzini of Tony Vizzini, Mike Black of Betty Black, Paul Luckett of Jeff Donald, Peyton Passons of Ruby Roy, and Rob Jenkins of Richard Blackbourn. Club guests were Nia Romero and Taka Sato, Youth Exchange Students, David Franz, Cub Scout Pack 14 Cubmaster, Jarrod Reneau, Ambassadorial Cultural Scholar, Mark Lehman,  and Paul Sims of the Starkville Daily News.

Club notes: President Chip proudly announced that American Eurocopter has signed on as a partner in our “Between the Lions” literacy program. The company’s $1,500 pledge will secure one complete classroom kit.

He also reported that $3,575, donated by members to the Starkville Rotary Foundation, had been sent to Iowa for flood relief.

David Franz, Pack 14 Cubmaster, thanked the Club for its charter sponsorship of the Cub Scout unit and reported that the new scouting year would begin on Monday evening.

Mark Lehman, associate professor in MSU’s School of Accountancy, invited Club members to a special presentation on Sept. 11 by Walt Pavlo who was at the heart of the MCI-WorldCom collapse.

Members are reminded to review the new 2008-2009 Club Directory and report any needed corrections to Jeff Donald, Club secretary.

Members also should mark their calendars for the District 6820 conference in Meridian on April 16-17.

Once again, the Club will field a team for Starkville’s “Get Swept Up” community cleanup activity. Be sure to sign up to help on September 3.

Kudos: President Chip complimented Melanie Mitchell and Judy Webb on marking 6 years with Prudential Starkville Properties.

W.C. Johnson’s son Sanford was featured in a Starkville Daily News article about his 10-week project in South Africa as a graduate student from the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service.


Mark your calendar for the annual fall social on Oct. 6. Along with steaks and bingo, we will have a silent auction to raise money for a “Rotary Roof” on a Habitat for Humanity house. The goal is $3,500.


Judy Couey, superintendent of Starkville Public Schools, was welcomed to her first meeting as a member.


Budget and Finance Committee members will meet with President Chip immediately following today’s meeting to finalize the year’s budget.


Campus construction and renovations, record student numbers, an expanded faculty, and a development campaign already over its goal are among the accomplishments enumerated in Interim MSU President Vance

Noting that the day of his visit was his 140th in office, Watson said this is the highest honor that he has had as a faculty member. But, he set it in perspective saying, “I keep reminding myself when the announcement of the appointment came, it was April Fool’s Day, so I still wake up to see if it’s real.”

He announced that on the previous Fri. afternoon, the university broke its record for student registrations. Just before coming to the meeting, he learned that the institution was 200 students ahead of last year’s enrollment.

One-hundred-thirty-nine incoming freshman, mentored by 50 faculty and staff, completed 8 community service projects in the week before school started. Dubbed “Service DAWGS” this group represents a new attitude among students.

Watson noted that just one of the projects resulted in 48,000 pounds of watermelons gleaned from a Eupora farm to help the Mississippi Food Network supply area food banks.

Twenty-four new faculty members, 4 counselors, and 2 police officers and a detective have been authorized to meet the needs of a growing student body.

The president noted student accomplishments on the sports fields and in the classrooms. In his first 4 months in office, he has presided over 4 graduations awarding 2,500 degrees. One of those graduates walked away with a $100,000 Jeopardy championship just 3 weeks after leaving State.

MSU has the state’s highest graduation and retention rates, and the highest ACT scores among the eight public Mississippi universities.

Students have won their second Challenge X championship in sustainable automotive design. MSU’s 2 meat science teams took first and second place in a 20-team national field of competition.

On campus, one of the top priorities is safety. New blue light emergency call boxes have been strategically distributed throughout the campus.

“Mark off about a thousand acres that are the heart of the campus where most of the buildings and dorms are located, and you’ll find a higher concentration of humans and hormones than in any other place in the state,” said Watson. “Most of those are 18– to 23-year-olds that create a special set of issues to deal with.”

A significant safety and energy issue is tied to lighting. This summer, a team has been studying the appropriateness of the 11,000 exterior light fixtures on campus. A number need to be repositioned due to the growth foliage since the buildings were built.

A 21 percent TVA rate increase will almost offset the 24 percent savings accrued through last year’s energy conservation plan.

With a goal of a greener and safer campus, the university has ordered 100 maroon bicycles for general use around campus. A donor from Oregon challenged State to insulate three buildings in return for the donation of 100 acres of land. And, the landscape architecture building is rated as the greenest building on an American campus.

Classroom technology is booming on– and off-campus. Ours is the first state to connect every county in a distance education system. Last year saw 927 sessions on the system; and, this year, to date, 784 already have been conducted.

In the arts, the campus has benefited from several donations of sculpture from Bryan Brothers. The old housing units just across the Highway 12 bridge on University Drive are being converted into art galleries.

For extensive renovations, Lloyd-Ricks already has been vacated and Harned Hall is next. The football replay board construction is underway at the south end of Scott Field. And, a new environmental and civil engineering building will be built south of the student health center. It will meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.

University leadership programs continue with more than 300 students enrolled. The honor code was the first of its kind among the state’s public higher education institutions.

Finally, the $1.6 million Perry Cafeteria update is complete and Dr. Watson says he has told the food service contractor, Aramark, that he wants the community back on Sundays. To encourage that business, there will be a senior rate for folks 55 and more years old and a junior rate for children 12 and under.


Guest speaker Vance Watson challenged his audience to “create in your neighborhood a chat group that talks about the good things going on at Mississippi State. Starkville without the university wouldn’t be the same. The university without the community wouldn’t be the same. MSU is a $600 million driver to the local economy.”

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