June 18, 2007 Rotogram


Today, we welcome State Representative Jim Simpson (R-4th District) as our guest. The Vice Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee will discuss tort reform.


Next Monday is the last meeting of the 2006-07 Rotary Year. The presidential gavel will pass from Larry Mullins to Ned Browning and Chip Templeton will become vice president-president elect. Our Club will also host the District 6820 College of Governors and Jack Forbus will become the new District Governor.


Invocation and Pledge : Hank Moseley.

Attendance : . There were 123 members (82 active, 38 exempt, 3 honorary) present and 52 active, 15 exempt, and 7 honorary members missing. Three members are on leave.

Guests : Trey Breckenridge was a guest of Monty Hughson. Club guests were RYE Students Marie Baran and Ruth Schorling. Rachel McCann and Adrian Lewis (RYE host family); Blake McGowan (RYE host family friend); Anne Buffington (School Board President); Ron Walker (Friends of the Library); and Skip Descant (Commercial Dispatch). They were introduced by President-elect Ned Browning.

Makeups : Mike Hainsey made up in West Point April 26 and June 7; Joel Clements made up on-line June 4.

Friends of the Library : President Mullins presented a check for $800 to Ron Walker, representing Friends of the Library.

Ron expressed his appreciation for Rotary’s contribution, which he said will be matched by Friends of the Library resulting in $1,600 for Starkville Public Library.

Meeting Notes : Ned Browning asked all committee chairs to get their plans of work completed and to him. He and Jack are attending the Rotary International Convention in Salt Lake City this week.

President Larry called on Dave Boles for a report on the Bulldogs games in the opening round of the College World Series in Omaha. After a brief summary, he said the joy in the athletic department had been tempered by the death of Rocky Felker’s father. Our condolences to the Felker family.

Larry congratulated Rotarian Marshall Molen, faculty advisor for the team of MSU engineering students who won the Challenge X competition over 17 other universities. The competition sponsored by General Motors and the DOE Argonne National Laboratory, was a challenge to re-engineer a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox SUV into a more fuel efficient, environmentally friendly, consumer acceptable vehicle. Winning the national contest yielded MSU $31,500 in prize money, including $15,000 for advisor Molen from National Science Foundation.


Anne Buffington, Board President for Starkville Public Schools, presented proclamations to Rotary Exchange Students Ruth Schorling and Marie Baran, recognizing them for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the high school and the community. Both girls excelled academically (4.0 GPA) and in a wide variety of activities. Anne said “Ruth and Marie benefitted our school and community beyond all expectations.”

The two have been outstanding ambassadors for their respective countries, for Rotary, and especially for our Club. Rotarians can be proud to have made it possible for Ruth and Marie to spend the year in Starkville.


Chris Latimer greeted members as they came to Rotary, then gave a brief introductory talk. A 4 th generation native of Starkville, Chris earned his degree in journalism and met his wife of 10 years (Cassandra) at Ole Miss. (They added a daughter to their family on June 3 – Congratulations!)

Chris landed a “dream job” at WCBI-TV in Columbus, covering MSU sports in some very good years. When his wife was offered a fine job in Georgia, Chris decided to go to law school and earned his degree in 2004. He practiced law for 2½ years in Columbus before coming home to Starkville as a partner in the Perry, Winfield, & Wolfe law firm. He was a Rotarian in Colmubus and is pleased to continue in Rotary as a member of our Club.


Ruth Marie Schorling, our always smiling Rotary Youth Exchange student for the past year, attended her last meeting of Starkville Rotary Club. She will fly home to Germany June 27, just a day after she returns from the youth exchange tour of our western states. Ruth spoke briefly to express both her appreciation for the year of “wonderful life-changing experiences” and sorrow because she is leaving so many meaningful friendships.

Ruth said she checked her daily diary and found she had attended 40 Rotary meetings with us (probably better than 90+ percent of us). She reviewed the opportunities and activities in which she participated at Starkville High School – cross country, soccer, orchestra, plays.

“This year, I discovered myself. For the first time, I have an idea of what I want to do with my life. Although I know it may change over my next two high school years, it’s nice to have a goal. My goal is to come back to Georgetown University and study international relationships. If Georgetown doesn’t work, MSU would be my second choice – so I could spend more time with all of you.”

“This year has been so especially wonderful because you cared so much about us, spent time with us, and opened so many opportunities for us. You made a once-in-a-lifetime experience possible for both of us.

“You have been my introduction to American culture. I understand the American identity so much better. I had no idea what real barbeque was like!

“Thank you for allowing Marie and me to spend the year together. This friendship is very important to me…it will be a life-lasting one.

“This has been one of the most exciting, most world-opening years of my life – and just because of you. It gives me hope that through organizations like Rotary and its frendship-building exchange program, our world will be a little more peaceful one day.

“Thank y’all for giving me the gift of this extraordinary year with you, which will be with me the rest of my life. You’re always welcome to visit me in Germany, my family’s doors are always open. I will miss you!

“Auf Wiederschen!”


Before launching into his report on Mississippi State’s vibrant Alumni Association, Jimmy Abraham had this message for Rotarians. “Thank you for what you do and how you do it. This community and this University are strong because of you and our other service organizations.

“It’s been a great weekend for Mississippi State. The Associate Vice President of External Affairs and Executive Director of the MSU Alumni Association said there were 1,100-1,200 parents and students on campus when more than 26,000 fans watched the Bulldogs win the NCAA regional – “what an emotional experience” it provided our visitors.

Abraham then turned to the Alumni Association, the largest in Mississippi at more than 100,000 members. “It’s a volunteer organization of those who love the maroon and white.” Fellow Rotarian Betty Black is president, Steve Taylor is a past president.

With the addition in January of East Texas and Charlotte, NC, the Association now has 87 chapters. He said the national organization will soon be international with the planned addition of a South Korean Chapter.

The association hosted more than 300 events last year. One of its primary goals is to stay engaged with current students. Abraham said “the drill” for freshman on their first day on campus has proven effective. Other popular events are the Bulldog Bash and the big on-campus birthday party co-sponsored with Cadence Bank. He plans to incorporate a Student Alumni Association.

Recruitment continues to be a major goal for the Alumni Association. “Doc Fogelsong is a great recruiter and our alumni have worked hard. We’re going to be up this year,” he predicted. President Fogelsong and Football Coach Croom go on the road to work with chapters both in and out of state.

Other Association activities include the annual staff appreciation day, annual faculty recognition and awards banquet, publication of E-Bark and Bully’s Bite, and hosting alums and friends prior to football games. It has a new interactive website and Abraham plans to send greeting cards to members for Christmas, New Years, birthdays, and perhaps other important life events. Also in the plans is an on-line store for maroon and white products (“we won’t be competing,” he promised).

The Association is responding to a request to develop more for retired faculty and staff. Currently, the Association offers 8 out-of-country alumni tour opportunities, but plans to soon offer domestic tours as well.

Abraham concluded by challenging alums to “get a Mississippi State car tag (MSU is about 100 short of Ole Miss), wear a class ring, promote your alma mater.”

Asked by one Rotarian “in light of what’s happening at “the W,” what is the relationship between the Alumni Association and the University, Abraham answered “we are a 501 3C independent organization. We work closely with the University. Frankly, I don’t know how they (MUW) got into that very unfortunate situation.” Roy Ruby introduced the speaker.


Clyde Herring, Accounting Professor and Interim Director of the MSU School of Accountancy, is proposed for membership in the classification Education/Accounting by Bill Simmons. He has committee and Board approval and if no objections are filed by Monday, June 25, will be considered elected to membership.

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