May 16, 2016 Rotogram: 39

Historic MSU Architecture

Roy Ruby takes us on a tour of Mississippi State University’s historic buildings.

Next Week: Center for American Veterans

Ken McRae is the director of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at MSU. Ed Clynch will introduce him.

For the Record—May 9

Invocation and Pledge:           Peggy Buckley

Attendance:                                          65.1%

Present — 99 (44 exempt, 1 honorary)

Absent — 82 (16 exempt, 11 honorary)

Guests: Visiting Rotarians were Jose Arellano, Thomas Huebner and Phillip Rogers. Member guests were Lea Standridge of O. A. Cleveland and Connor Guyton of Mark Guyton. Guests of the club were Sydney and Beth Passons, Carolyn Duncan, William Paul and George Ellis, Benadetta Trentarossi, RYE Student, and Alex Onken, Starkville Daily News.

Meeting Notes

  • President Zach congratulated Trey Breckenridge on being named Honorary Commander at the Columbus Air Force Base.
  • He presented Marc McGee, John Forde and Grant Arinder with Volunteer Starkville certificates from the annual awards banquet.
  • Joe Thompson gave a Rotary Minute explaining the Program Committee. He stressed the need for younger members to volunteer to add a varied perspective. All club members are encouraged to recommend program topics.
  • Grant Arinder introduced Rotary Youth Exchange Student of the Week William Paul Ellis, a Starkville High junior who was just elected student body president. He is a member of the SHS choir, Key Club, Junior Historical Society, mock trial team, debate team, National Honor Society, International Thespians Society, SHS Singers and the All-State Honor Choir.
  • Arinder also introduced Sydney Passons, Starkville Academy junior class vice president, who was at the north-half state tennis tournament the week she was to be recognized as RYE Student of the Week. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Anchor Club and Junior Auxiliary Crown Club. In addition to tennis, she plays soccer and basketball. She maintains a 97.4 GPA.
  • President Zach presented Bill Cunningham with his Plus-Two Paul Harris Fellow pin. He also announced that Ed Clynch is honoring fellow Rotarian Kris Bhansali with a PHF designation.
  • The president reminded members that community organizations’ applications for service grants are due by May 31.
  • He called for volunteers to help with the annual district foundation and membership conference on July 15-16 at The Mill.

Humane Society’s Second Chance Fund

David Vanlandingham accepted the club’s $600 donation to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society. He explained that the funds will go to helping at-risk animals through the Second Chance Fund for health care.

East Mississippi Community College Transforms

May 9 — “It’s not a job. What we do is transform,” said Thomas Huebner, East Mississippi Community College president. “Every day we are transforming at Scooba, at Mayhew, at Columbus Air Force Base, at Lion Hills and at West Point.”

Nearing the end of his first year as EMCC chief, Huebner sounded the theme “Visions for Success: Inspiring Students for Life Beyond High School.”

Founded in Scooba in 1927 as the East Mississippi Junior College, the institution serves Lowndes, Clay, Oktibbeha, Noxubee, Kemper and Lauderdale Counties. Although the original campus is in Scooba, the bulk of the student body is at Mayhew.

About 4,500 credit students and 7,000 non-credit students are enrolled in transfer programs, career-technical programs and workforce development. Tuition is $1,200 per semester.

“We cost less, on average, than public universities in Mississippi:  $2,576 to $6,685 per year,” said Huebner.

For every dollar spent by taxpayers, a Mississippi community college has a 386 percent return on investment. Community colleges educate approximately 55 percent of undergraduate college students in the state.

To set the perspective, Mississippi kindergarten through twelfth grade uses 74 percent of all dollars spent on education. Four-year institutions spend 19 percent. Community colleges only use seven percent.

At the 2016 average state allocation of $4,257 per student, community colleges are operating at $265 less than they were in fiscal year 2000.

The Golden Triangle campus enrollment held steady in the fall at nearly 3,500 students. One significant point of pride is the new student center under construction. It is particularly important since the campus is totally commuter oriented.

Dual enrollment and early college high school programs are giving secondary education students a head start.

Of particular interest is the Communiversity initiative that seeks to orient high school students into a setting to demonstrate the value of higher education. The facility will sit on 25 donated acres of prime industrial space near the GTR Airport. It will include 15 high bay work areas and 12 classrooms.

As a “hands on” workshop/educational center featuring products manufactured in the region, it is a partnership between EMCC, county, state and federal government, and state industrial development groups.

Lion Hills, at the old Columbus Country Club site, hosts civic groups, private parties and golfers in a setting that educates prospective hospitality industry employees. Instructional programs include culinary arts, turf management, landscape management and catering.

Huebner said, “EMCC goals are to enhance economic opportunities for the residents of our service area; to create opportunities for students to complete the first two years of a four-year education; to prepare students academically and socially to succeed at the next level; to ensure that businesses have the skilled workforce they need to remain competitive in the global marketplace; and, to connect job seekers with career paths that lead to family-sustaining jobs.”

Touting the state’s overall community college system, he noted that Mississippi colleges are ranked number one in the nation for cost, classroom experience, and educational/career outcomes. Mississippi ranked sixth in the nation in the percentage of students who transfer from community college to four-year colleges and universities. And the institutions exceeded the national average for college completion by a margin of 68.6 to 57 percent.

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