March 23, 2009 Rotogram

MISSISSIPPI’S TREASURY

State Treasurer Tate Reeves reports on Missis­sippi’s position in the current economy today.

NEXT WEEK

Two members of Rotary’s extended family will explain Mississippi First, a non-profit civic ad­vocacy force to improve the state. Our guests will be Rachel Hicks, daughter of Rotarian Debra and Michael Hicks, and Sanford Johnson, son of Rotarian W.C. and Everlyn Johnson.

LAST WEEK

Invocation and Pledge: Tommy Tomlinson

Attendance: There were 124 members (41 exempt, 2 honorary) present, and 76 (14 exempt, 7 honorary) absent.

Guests and visitors: Bill Overstreet from West Point was our visiting Rotarian. Members’ guests included Alan Couey of Judy Couey, Greg Word of Kim Richardson, Hardy Mitchell of Melanie Mitchell, Rob Jenkins of Richard Blackbourn and Stephen Cunetto of Frances Coleman. Guests of the Club were Kyle Steward, Paul Sims of the Starkville Daily News, and Jarred Reneau, Ambassadorial Cultural Scholar.

Members return: Eric Halberg attended his first meeting as a returning member.  Honorary member Terry Thomas was back for the first time in a while.

Condolences: President Chip conveyed the Club’s condolences for Rotarian Bill Robinson in the death of his wife, Debra.

Get well wishes: Rotarian Don Norman is re­covering from bypass surgery.

Friends of Scouting: President Chip reminded members about the annual FOS drive. He clari­fied the fact that, in spite of the notification let­ter’s being signed in Columbus, the activity does support Starkville Scouting.

A GROWING UNIVERSITY IN A GROWING COMMUNITY

 Student enrollment growth tops the new MSU president’s priority list. Dr. Mark Keenum is “encouraged and excited that Mississippi State has become the choice of so many of our graduating high school students.”
The institution’s 19th president has set the goal of 22,000 students by 2015. Current enrollment is near 18,000. About 85 percent of the University’s students are from in state.

The challenge is to grow in a time of tight resources. Quoting a state legislator, Keenum said that they want to “make us whole” with judicious use of federal stimulus funds for the rest of the current fiscal year and the year to come.

Since returning to his alma mater, he has criss­crossed the state to “make sure they understand our needs.” He said it was quite an introduction to arrive and be greeted with, “Welcome to MSU; here’s your budget cut.”
“Even if they flatline our budget we will be in a hole,” he said. “No one likes tuition hikes, but the IHL will have to decide after we present our needs to the board.”

Level funding will require that tuition increase 16.9 percent in FY 10. Only two other institutions in the Southeastern Conference have lower tuitions than MSU.

Besides stimulus money, the agricultural economist sees the just-passed Omnibus Budget Bill as a boon. In it, MSU gets $75 million in direct and indirect funding. No other state university fared as well.

Current university investments include the $10.5 million Sustainable Energy Research Center.

Three buildings are in the works. The Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park will get another multi-tenant building. A new poultry center of excellence will be built in front of the Wise Center. And, at Hancock County’s Stennis Space Center, a Northern Gulf Institute facility for remote sensing technology will be the university’s re­sponsibility.

Funds to renovate historic Lee Hall and the Wise Center also are being sought.

As Mississippi’s flagship research university, MSU accounts for more than $200 million in grants and other initiatives each year. The insti­tution ranks 83rd nationally among all universi­ties, 58th among all public universities, 5th in ag­ricultural research, and 34th in engineering.

In terms of his administration, the president is facing vacancies in two vice presidencies, agri­culture and research. The committee to select a v.p. for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine has been chosen and is at work.

Other goals include the pursuit of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter and accreditation by the Associa­tion of Research Libraries.

RAGTIME FESTIVAL SUPPORT

Stephen Cunetto, system administrator with the MSU Library, accepted our $1,000 donation sup­porting the Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival next weekend. The library and its Charles Templeton Sr. Music Museum conduct the an­nual event as “a means of enhancing the research in the area of ragtime music, increasing the awareness of the Templeton collection housed in the MSU Library and introducing people to the sounds of Ragtime being performed by world-renowned ragtime musicians.”

TAX NOTE

Our contributions for charitable purposes last year were $137 per member plus the personal payments for Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fel­lowships.  Most members will have a contribu­tion deduction for $237.  Exceptions will be company paid memberships and members who made less than the $25 per quarter for PHF.

DISTRICT MEETING REGISTRATION

Rotarians who attend the district conference as voting delegates will be reimbursed for registra­tion, travel and lodging. The district business will be on the morning of April 18. Based on our membership, our club is eligible to send 8 elec­tors.

SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES AND SCHEDULES
District Conference, Meridian ……………………………………………………………………………. April 17-18
Cotton District Arts Festival……………………………………………………………………………………. April 18
Indian Group Study Exchange Team……………………………………………………………………. April 21-23

BETWEEN THE LIONS

Help a 4– or 5-year-old get a head start on learning. Volunteer as a reader for our literacy project. We read to the children for 15 minutes at First Presby­terian’s childcare center on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. and at the Emerson Family School on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. You may read once or many times. Whatever you do benefits the children.

Tell David Vanlandingham or Brent Fountain when you can help.

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