Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University
Mississippi State University
Motto Learning, Service, Research
Established 1878
Type Public University
Endowment US $384.3 million [1]
President Dr. Mark E. Keenum
Academic staff 1,359 [2]
Admin. staff 3,361
Students 21,424 [2]
Location Starkville, Mississippi, United States
Campus Rural
Colors Maroon and white          
Athletics NCAA Division I
Nickname Bulldogs
Mascot Bully
Affiliations SEC
Website msstate.edu
Mississippi State Univ Logo.svg

Mississippi State University is a land-grant university located in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, United States, partially in the town of Starkville and partially in an unincorporated area.[3][4] It is classified as a "comprehensive doctoral research university with very high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation.[5] Mississippi State, Mississippi, is the official designation for the area that encompasses the university. Fall 2011 enrollment statistics from the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning show it is the largest main university campus in the state. In 2009, Mississippi State University was ranked #18 nationally in Forbes magazine's "America's Best College Buys". Mississippi State was also ranked number 1 in agricultural schools within the southeastern conference.[3]



Lee Hall at Mississippi State University
Panoramic; Regimental parade; March 15, 1914; Miss. A & M College (now known as Mississippi State University).

The University began as The Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi (or Mississippi A&M), one of the national land-grant colleges established after Congress passed the Morrill Act in 1862. It was created by the Mississippi Legislature on February 28, 1878, to fulfill the mission of offering training in "agriculture, horticulture and the mechanical arts . . . without excluding other scientific and classical studies, including military tactics." The university received its first students in the fall of 1880 in the presidency of General Stephen D. Lee.

In 1887 Congress passed the Hatch Act, which provided for the establishment of the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1888. The Cooperative Extension Service was established in 1914 by the Smith-Lever Act. The university has since had its mission expanded and redefined by the Legislature. In 1932, the Legislature renamed the university as Mississippi State College.

By 1958, when the Legislature again renamed the university as Mississippi State University, the Graduate School had been organized (1936), doctoral degree programs had begun (1951), the School of Forest Resources had been established (1954), and the College of Arts and Sciences had replaced the General Science School (1956).

In July 1965, Richard E. Holmes became the first African-American student to enroll at Mississippi State University.

The School of Architecture admitted its first students in 1973, the College of Veterinary Medicine admitted its first class in 1977. The MSU Vet school (commonly referred to as the CVM) is the largest veterinary school in the nation under one roof.

The School of Accountancy was established in 1979.

The University Honors Program was founded in 1968 in order to provide more rigorous course curricula for academically talented students, as well as to facilitate guest lecture series, forums, and distinguished external scholarships. The program has been vastly expanded to form its own college after Bobby Shackouls, an MSU alumnus and retired CEO, donated US$10 million to found the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College in April 2006.[6]

The school recently also started a joint Ph.D program with San Jose State University allowing an increase in research for both universities, as well as enhancing the stature of both engineering colleges.

In March 2009, Mississippi State announced the conclusion of the university's seven-year capital campaign, with more than $462 million received in private gifts and pledges. [4]


University campus

Mississippi State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master's, specialist, and doctoral degrees.

Today, the university has the following colleges and schools:

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Architecture Art and Design
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Business
  • Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy
  • College of Education
  • James Worth Bagley College of Engineering
  • Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering
  • Shackouls Honors College
  • College of Forest Resources
  • College of Veterinary Medicine

As of Fall 2011, the current total enrollment of Mississippi State is 20,424.[7] The university contains 160 buildings, and the grounds of the university comprise about 4,200 acres (17 km²), including farms, pastures, and woodlands of the Experiment Station. The university also owns an additional 80,000 acres (320 km²) across the state.

Mississippi State University also operates an off-campus, degree-granting center in Meridian where both undergraduate and graduate programs are offered. In cooperation with the U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, the College of Engineering offers the Master of Science degree to students in Vicksburg.

Mississippi State's campus is centered on the main quadrangle, called the Drill Field (pictured) due to its heavy use by the Corps of Cadets prior to the end of World War II. The Drill Field is defined at its north and south ends by the mirror-image buildings, Lee Hall (the original University building, now the division of languages building, far left in picture below) and Swalm Hall (home to the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, far right in picture below). Old Main was the original dormitory, west of Lee Hall; it burned in a tragic fire, and was replaced by the Colvard Student Union. The largest building fronting the Drill Field is Mitchell Memorial Library (immediately to right of flagpole in picture below).

The Drill Field and surrounding buildings

From the Drill Field, the campus radiates in all directions. The College of Engineering can be found mostly to the east side of the Drill Field; to the north are the Arts and Sciences, including Computer Science, and the College of Architecture, Art, and Design (CAAD). Humanities are found to the south, while Agriculture dominates the west section. To the west and northwest are also found the athletic facilities, including Scott Field and the Humphrey Coliseum, or The Hump.

Beyond the main campus (and the series of commuter parking lots ringing the main campus) are the North and South Farms. While still used for their original purpose of agricultural research, the Farms are also host to newer facilities, such as the astronomical observatory and Veterinary College (South Farm) and the High Performance Computing Collaboratory (North Farm). At the far west of campus, one finds first the fraternity and sorority houses, and beyond them the Cotton District and downtown Starkville, Mississippi. The University is also home to the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park, which host many of the university's research centers, such as the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) and the nationally-recognized Social Science Research Center.

Student life


Residence halls at Mississippi State University:

  • Cresswell Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Co-Residential [Day One Leadership]
  • Critz Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Co-Residential
  • Evans Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Men
  • Griffis Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Co-Residential [Honors]
  • Hathorn Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Co-Residential
  • Herbert Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Co-Residential (former guest housing)
  • Hull Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Co-Residential
  • Hurst Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Co-Residential
  • McKee Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Men
  • North Hall (formerly Building 3) – Freshman/Upperclass Co-Residential
  • Rice Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Co-Residential
  • Ruby Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Co-Residential
  • Sessums Hall – Freshman/Upperclass Women
  • South Hall (New Residence Hall)- Freshman/ Upperclass [Day One Leadership]

Old Main

Old Main

Old Main, originally called the Main Dormitory, was the first building on the campus of Mississippi State University. The first section of Old Main was built in 1880. Additions were constructed in 1901, 1903, 1906, and 1922. It is considered to have been the largest college dormitory in the United States. The building was completely destroyed by fire on the night of January 22, 1959. The blaze claimed the life of one of the dorm's 1,100 residents. Bricks salvaged from the fire were used to build the Chapel of Memories. Bricks from Old Main were also dumped in the area that became the band practice field and can be seen on slope of the north side.

Roy Vernon Scott, professor emeritus of history at MSU is the author of Old Main: Memories of a Legend.[8]

Student organizations

MSU has over 300 student organizations. Prominent organizations include the Famous Maroon Band, MSU Road Runners, Student Association, Alumni Delegates, Orientation Leaders, 18 fraternities and 11 sororities, the Residence Hall Association, the Black Student Alliance, the Mississippi State University College Democrats and Republicans, the Campus Activities Board, Music Maker Productions, the Baptist Student Union, the Engineering Student Council, Arnold Air Society, the Stennis-Montgomery Association and ChallengeX. The national literary magazine Jabberwock Review is also based at MSU.

Student media

Mississippi State's local radio station is WMSV.

Prior to WMSV, Mississippi State had a student-run radio station, WMSB which went off the air permanently at the end of the spring semester of 1986. WMSB was a low-power FM station with studios on the top floor of Lee Hall. WMSB was started the Fall Semester 1971 in a freshman dorm room on the third floor of Critz Hall utilizing a FM stereo transmitter that was designed and built as a high school science fair project by one of the station's founders. The station's original call letters were RHOM. It was on air from 8:00–12:00 pm each evening. Later, funding was solicited from the Student Association. Funding was approved, the low-power RCA FM transmitter was ordered and the call letters WMSB were issued by the FCC. The station was moved to studios on the top floor of Lee Hall that were formerly occupied by a student-run AM station.

The student newspaper is the Reflector, published twice per week on Tuesday and Friday. The publication was named the #1 college newspaper in the South in 2007 by the Southeast Journalism Conference. In previous years, The Reflector has consistently ranked in the top 10 among college newspapers in the southern United States.

Greek life

Mississippi State's Greek system comprises 20 fraternities and 9 sororities. Fraternities and sororities take part in a number of philanthropic programs and provide social opportunities for students. Formal rush takes place at the start of every fall semester.

IFC fraternities

Other fraternities

Panhellenic sororities

Other sororities

National Pan – Hellenic Organizations


The Bulldogs participate in NCAA Division I in the competitive 12-member Southeastern Conference (West Division) under the mascot the Bulldog and colors maroon and white.

The university made history on December 1, 2003 when it hired Sylvester Croom as its head football coach. Croom was the first African-American named to such a position in the history of the SEC. Croom resigned in November 2008.


University rankings (overall)
Forbes[9] 127
U.S. News & World Report[10] 157
Washington Monthly[11] 65
  • Mississippi State University was ranked #18 nationally in Forbes magazine's "America's Best College Buys". In 2009, Forbes also ranked Mississippi State University (nationally ranked #368) as the top overall public university in Mississippi [5]
  • The university has produced 16 Truman Scholars and is one of 38 universities recognized by the Truman Foundation as an honor institution. The competitive Truman Scholarships are awarded to those who plan a career in public service. (2003)
  • Mississippi State has had eight Barry M. Goldwater Scholars since 1999. The national scholarship recognizes academic excellence in the sciences, mathematics and engineering. (2003)
  • Mississippi State has also produced George Mitchell, Ronald Reagan, and Morris Udall Scholars.
  • Mississippi State ranks among the top 15 in the nation in awarding bachelor's degrees in both engineering and education to African-Americans, according to Diverse Issues in Higher Education.
  • A 2007 NSF report on academic research and development ranked Mississippi State's engineering program 34th and agricultural sciences program 5th among all U.S. colleges and universities in R&D expenditures.[12]
  • Mississippi State is among the nation's 100 "Baccalaureate Bargains" for 2002, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. (2003)
  • The Raspet Flight Research Laboratory at MSU was recognized as a National Landmark of Soaring in 2003[13]
  • The Cullis & Gladys Wade Clock Museum, located at the MSU Welcome Center, features an extensive array of clocks and watches dating as far back as the early 18th century, and is the only collection of its size in the region.
  • In 2009, MSU's School of Landscape Architecture was ranked the second best program in the nation by the journal DesignIntelligence in its annual "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools" rankings. The journal gave the program high marks in teaching students skills related to construction methods and materials. The University's School of Landscape Architecture program is the only such program in Mississippi.[14]
  • PayScale.com listed a median starting salary of $44,200 and a median mid-career salary of $80,600 for Mississippi State baccalaureates.

Notable alumni



All Star Buddy Myer





Law and politics

  • Sharion Aycock, First female Federal District Court judge in Mississippi
  • Marsha Blackburn, United States Congress (R-TN)
  • Alan Nunnelee, United States Congress (R-MS)
  • Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero, Former President of Honduras (1990–1994)
  • Kay Kellogg Katz, Louisiana House of Representatives (R)
  • Gillespie V. "Sonny" Montgomery, United States Congress (D-MS)
  • Billy Nicholson, Mississippi House of Representatives (R)
  • John C. Stennis, former United States Senator (D-MS)
  • Amy Tuck, former Mississippi Lt. Governor (R)
  • Bill Waller, Jr Chief Justice, Mississippi Supreme Court
  • Howard Sanderford Alabama House of Representatives, District 20 (R)
  • Steve Hettinger, former Alabama State Representative (1982-1988) and former mayor of Huntsville, Alabama (1988-1996)

See also

  • List of forestry universities and colleges


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/research/2009_NCSE_Public_Tables_Endowment_Market_Values.pdf. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Faculty Report". Mississippi State Office of Institutional Research. http://www.ir.msstate.edu//faculty_tenure02_08.pdf. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Zoning Map." Town of Starkville. Retrieved on March 1, 2011.
  4. ^ "Campus Map." Mississippi State University. Retrieved on March 1, 2011.
  5. ^ http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=5128
  6. ^ MSU News: Generous donation by alumnus funds honors college
  7. ^ [1] Accessed February 13, 2008.
  8. ^ "Old Main: Memories of a Legend". library.thing.com. http://www.librarything.com/work/3943947. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  9. ^ "America's Best Colleges". Forbes. 2011. http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges/list/. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  10. ^ "National Universities Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  11. ^ "The Washington Monthly National University Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/rankings_2011/national_university_rank.php. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  12. ^ Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2007. National Science Foundation
  13. ^ "MSU flight research lab dedicated as national soaring landmark". Mississippi State University. November 4, 2003. http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=2289. Retrieved October 8, 2008. 
  14. ^ "MSU landscape architecture program gets very high rank". Mississippi State University. May 13, 2009. http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=4578. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 

External links

Coordinates: 33°27′13″N 88°47′24″W / 33.453747°N 88.790049°W / 33.453747; -88.790049

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