September 26, 2016 Rotogram: 11

Mississippi State Confronts Major Societal Issues

September 19— The world is hungry and a key to dealing with the crisis is increased knowledge.

Noting that Mississippi State University is a Top-10 agricultural research institution, Mark Keenum, university president, stressed that better education is necessary for the state and world to cope.

The former USDA under-secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services followed two themes: 1) just over one billion of the world’s seven billion people are malnourished; 2) only 11 percent of Mississippi’s high school graduates are college ready.

Those seemingly disparate statistics come together at the state’s flagship land-grant university in the form of preparing tomorrow’s leaders to solve problems. By the time today’s student is at a career peak, there will be ten billion people to feed in the world.

“To feed them by 2050, we will have to harness the same degree of technology that we have done over the past 10,000 years,” said Keenum. “We have thirty years to double our knowledge.”

Underlining his advocacy of education, the agricultural economist explained that there is a direct correlation between education and well-being. Mississippi is last in per capita income at $21,000. In contrast, Connecticut and Massachusetts have per capita incomes of $40,000 while leading the nation with 36 to 39 percent of their citizens with college degrees.

The president noted that 60 percent of elementary school students can expect to work in jobs that don’t even exist today. That fact challenges higher education to think ahead and prepare the best ways to equip them for problem-solving.

At MSU, the 21,622 member student body boasts a 24.4 average ACT score despite being an open-enrollment university.

Despite ongoing state budget cuts, Keenum credits the faculty with maintaining high standards. The university is attracting record numbers from outside the state.

The university’s place on the global stage is in enhancing food security and safety. In recent weeks, Keenum addressed the United Nations at the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition Summit.

“University research, outreach and teaching have helped feed the world’s growing population throughout the past century,” said Keenum. “We have vital expertise to contribute to every aspect of the challenge and every step of the food chain – from the laboratory, to the farm, to the market and to the table.”

The current SACS chair and SEC president noted that he had become the second most senior president in the region. Thanks to SEC revenue sharing, MSU has become one of the nation’s few institutions that “doesn’t put a dime into athletics.” In fact, Keenum is proud that the sports programs now are supporting academics.

For the Record—September 19

Invocation and Pledge:                Jim Ormon

Attendance:                                          72.5%

Present — 102 (40 exempt, 2 honorary)

Absent — 79 (20 exempt, 10 honorary)

Guests: Visiting Rotarian was Jimmy McCluskey. Member guests were Gloria Batson of Robyn Havard and Michelle Jones of Shelton Jones. Guests of the club were Rosia and Embra Jackson; William, Meredith and Chris Shapley; Payden and Pamela Farmer; Thomas Allen; and Elisa Malzanni, RYE student.

Realities of World War II Revisited

Rotarian John Fraiser recounts his experiences as a teenage turret gunner in World War II. Roy Ruby introduces him.

NO Lunch Meeting Next Week — Fall Social at 5:45 p.m.


October 10: Secretary of State’s Office

Sherri Bevis is responsible for external marketing with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office.

Meeting Notes and Reminders

  • President-elect Marc substituted for President Briar who was on a field trip with his MSU students.
  • He welcomed Mark Ballard to his first meeting as a Rotarian.
  • W.C. Johnson was congratulated on the arrival of grandchild number four.
  • Keith and Ruth Remy have reached the milestone of their seventh great-grandchild.
  • Bobby Crosland reminded members to sign up for the fall social which will feature steaks, bingo and Paul Harris Fellows.

Proposed Member

Thomas Allen, Jr. with Magnolia Land Development LLC has been proposed for membership by Marc McGee. His vocational classification is Engineering – Civil.


The board of directors has accepted with regrets the resignation of Jay Hines who will be moving from the community.







Get ready for the first ever Rotary Tailgate on Oct. 8 at the MSU-Auburn game. Rotarians from across the state and beyond will be welcomed to the event that will qualify as a meeting make-up.






Outstanding Teacher and Students—Rosia Jackson, a nationally board certified teacher at Sudduth Elementary School is congratulated by Lewis Holloway of the Excellence in Education committee. Jackson presented her outstanding students Will Shapley and Payden Farmer.




Steinway Initiative

Past-President Zach Rowland presented a $4,500 check to Barry Kopetz, MSU Music Department head, for the Steinway Initiative. The university is aiming to become an All-Steinway School which means about 35 of the top-of-the-line pianos are needed. Rotary dollars came from last year’s speaker recognition fund.

Between the Lions


Literacy Service

Another school year brings the opportunity to enhance youth literacy. Christina Lucas is recruiting volunteers to read at three local pre-schools.

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