December 3, 2007 Rotogram

For the next three weeks, we will be recognizing the teacher and student recipients of our Excellence in Education awards.

Holiday schedule

We will not meet on December 24 and 31.


Invocation and Pledge: Terry Kemp

Attendance : There were 126 members present (38 exempt, 2 honorary), and 75 (19 exempt, 8 honorary) absent.

Guests and Visitors : Guests and hosts included Ben Howell of Jeff Donald, Colleen Thompson of Johnny Thompson, Rick Smith and Parker Mullins of Larry Mullins, and Zach Rowland of Trey Breckenridge. Club guests included Charlie Weatherly, and Shoshana Brackett with the Starkville Daily News. Guest Rotarians were Bill Overstreet from Pascagoula, MS and Joe Phillips of Orange Beach, AL.

Rotary Minute : John Simpson, community service committee co-chair, reported that the Club had raised $343.84 through the E-Bay auction of items donated by 6 members.

Meeting Notes : Saying that football bowl match-ups are not finalized until after conference championship games, Dave Boles reported that the Liberty, Music City and Peach Bowls had been scouting Mississippi State. Relishing State’s come-from-behind win over Ole Miss, he said, “Miracles do happen and I have little sympathy for folks who left in the third quarter.

New members were reminded to report to East Mississippi Lumber Company on Monday and Tuesday afternoons to complete Santa’s float for the Starkville Christmas parade. President Ned thanked Mikell Davis for offering a new off-season home for the float components.

Prentiss Gordon subbed for Roy Ruby with the “Absolutely Nothing-to-do-with-Rotary Minute” and a good “preacher” joke.

Ruby Details MSU’s Top Ten Late 20 th Century Developments

Forty Years at MSU

  • Co-education.
  • Minority enrollment.
  • Enrollment growth.
  • Research growth.
  • Two colleges added.
  • Death of in loco parentis.
  • Planned giving growth
  • Liberal arts and social sciences growth.
  • Role and scope of technology.
  • Physical plant growth.

Rotarian and retired Mississippi State University administrator Roy Ruby last week assessed the most significant happenings during his 40-year tenure with the land-grant institution.

As fellow Rotarian Joe Thompson introduced the speaker, he noted that 2007 marked the fiftieth year at MSU for himself and Ruby.

Promising the “most boring program to ensure REM sleep,” Ruby immediately contradicted himself. In no particular order, he cataloged ten things that have shaped the university we know today.

Becoming a truly co-educational institution “was not happenstance.” It was a specific goal of President Dean Colvard. During that period, MSU had its one and only Dean of Women, Francis Lee.

Calling the increase in female enrollment a sea-change, Ruby noted that it affected curriculum with the addition of home economics and elementary education, and increased the need for additional dormitories. And, the spouse of a W alumna observed that the Mississippi University for Women no longer controlled the social life at State.

The former Vice President for Student Affairs said that “the institution is better for it” due to minority enrollment that began in the second summer term of 1965. He stressed that MSU learned from Ole Miss and avoided its missteps in integration. The student body becomes more diverse each year with growing minority numbers.

The sheer increase in total enrollment, greatly influenced by the two previous factors, drastically changed the institution. In Ruby’s 40 years, MSU grew 167 percent to 16,000 students.

The additional 10,000 students required a change in management styles and increased resource demands. Substantial financial aid expansion also fueled student body growth.

MSU always had a commitment to research, but in the last half of the 20 th Century, it accelerated efforts. The impact of the research enterprise has ensured the university’s role as a major U.S. land-grant institution ranked at 55th in research funding among all universities. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and engineering programs lead an increasingly diverse scientific effort.

MSU moved to a whole new tier of universities with the addition of two colleges equipping professionals. The College of Architecture, Art, and Design began as the School of Architecture in 1973. The College of Veterinary Medicine admitted its first class in 1977.

The death of in loco parentis changed the institution’s relationship with students to a more contractual arrangement. Ruby stressed that even though the university no longer plays the role of absentee parent, it doesn’t mean there is not a code of conduct.

Recounting the old days, he said, “In 1964, if a student passed a bad check, a local merchant could call Dean Aikens and have the matter cleared up.”

From limited effort in 1964 into the 21 st Century, private support has mushroomed. The advent and expansion of planned giving allows the institution to do many more things. The result of another Colvard goal was the establishment of the MSU Foundation.

Dr. John K. Bettersworth is considered the “father” of liberal arts and social sciences at MSU. Today’s College of Arts and Sciences boasts the university’s largest enrollment with nearly a quarter of all MSU students.

The advent of the computer has drastically increased the role and scope of technology at MSU. The institution now ranks number twenty in supercomputing power in the nation. Technological advances have fueled teaching and research budgets.

And, to accommodate all of the other changes, the university’s physical plant has expanded widely. Legislative and donor generosity can be credited with the growth.

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