Tag Archives: Mississippi State University

Thank you Stennis Institute and Mississippi State University

Thank you Stennis Institute and Mississippi State University for the wonderful retirement luncheon and for the opportunity to serve in this capacity for 11 years. Very much appreciated. My wish for y’all is very simple – Go dawgs!

Appalachian Higher Education Bus Tour Visits Alabama and Mississippi


This past week I had the opportunity to accompany the 2012 Appalachian Bus Tour on its visits to Corinth High School, East Mississippi Community College, Bevill State Community College and Louisville High School.  Below are links to a couple of news stories about the tour and why it came to this region.

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) — Monday, Mississippi became the focus of educators from eight other states. They came here to find out what certain school districts are doing to put more students in college.
(includes video)

APNews – Daily Corinthian –  A group of over 60 education professionals from around the Appalachian region visited Corinth High School on Monday to learn more about the school s success in preparing students for college.

The group of educators were part of the Appalachian Higher Education Network s annual bus tour, a three-day trip to schools in Alabama and Mississippi with a spotlight on college access programs. Educators on the tour hailed from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.


House Speaker Philip Gunn to address Mar. 19 Stennis-Capitol Press Forum

Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives Philip Gunn will address the March 19 Forum.

Since 2004 he has been a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, serving on the Judiciary, Juvenile Justice, Conservation, and Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks Committees. He chairs the House Republican Conference and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Mississippi Republican Party.

In addition to his legal and public service careers, Philip is actively involved in his church and in community organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He is a former member of the Clinton School Board and is currently a Trustee of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

He earned a B.B.A. from Baylor University and the J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he was elected Student Body President.

Winston County Mississippi Scholars Recognized

(May 6, 2011) Thirty-five Mississippi Scholars from Winston County were recognized Thursday evening at a banquet in Louisville. At the event students announced which colleges or universities they planned to attend and what their major course of study would be. Louisville Mayor Will Hill welcomed the students and challenged them to represent their communities well as they go out into the world. Mary Snow, emceed the program and represented the local business community and Phil Hardwick of The Stennis Institute was the keynote speaker.

The celebration was just one of the outcomes of the “Getcha Head in the Game,” a project of the Louisville Municipal School District, the Winston County Economic Development Partnership and The Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University. “Getcha Head in the Game” is a program of the Mississippi Higher Education Initiative (MSHEI), which is funded through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

The Mississippi Scholars program requires students to take four English courses, four upper level mathematics courses, four science courses, four social studies, one art, two advance electives like foreign languages, 20 hours of community service, 2.5 grade point average and 95 percent school attendance. It began as a national program to utilize business leaders to motivate students to complete a more challenging course of study in high school.

Day 2 in D.C., Post 2

The first stop on a busy day of briefings was the headquarters of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) where Political Director Mike Shields spent over an hour discussing how Republicans won the most recent Congressional election and how he personally got involved in politics.  He outlined the role and purpose of NRCC, explaining that it was the political organization of House republicans, and that its mission was to keep Republicans in the majority.  He told his personal story of how he first got interested in political activism as a youth growing up in the U.K. where his father was assigned as a NATO employee.  The issue was American nuclear weapons are U.S. bases.  He said that, “Political issues were our dinner table issues.”  Shields attended college in the D.C. and related his personal  story of climbing the ladder in politics.  He pointed out that at age 41 he is the oldest staffer at the NRCC.  There was plenty of Q & A with the SMA students.  Notes from the meeting were tweeted by yours truly during the meeting, and can be found by going to the Stennis Institute Web site and clicking on the Twitter “T” on the top right of the page.  Also of interest is a Politico article written by Shields entitled, “How the NRCC Won in 2010.”

Next was a chilly walk to the steps of the Capitol for as group photo.  Next to us was Iowa Senator Check Grassley visiting with a group from his state.

From there it was on to 101 Constitution Avenue for a media panel discussion led by Rex Buffington of the Stennis Center for Public Service, and featuring Senator Thad Cochran’s Press Secretary Chris Gallegos and Matt Letourneau, Director of Communications and Media at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Each discussed their backgrounds and the challenges facing those who are the public relations personnel of their organizations, especially in the burgeoning age of social media.

The next presenter was Jessica Knight, Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC.  She is a native of Hattiesburg, and attended Millsaps College where she was the first African-American Homecoming Queen.  She provided insight related to fundraising for a political caucus, as well as sharing her background and how she got interested and involved in politics.

By now it was mid-afternoon and time for a ride on the Metro to Foggy Bottom and a visit to The Watergate, where Mississippi State alums Tim and Grace Terpstra hosted the group in their apartment to snacks and a history lesson about the Watergate complex.  Dr. Martin Wiseman of MSU, Dr. Tim Terpstra of George Washington University and Dr. Stephen Gordon of Old Dominion University discussed the political implications of the Watergate break-in, and how the surrounding events have influenced the country’s history.

One of the threads running through the day was that each of the presenters told about their journeys from college student to where they are today.  The Stennis Montgomery Association members thus gained valuable insight and motivation for their own futures.  Looking back on the day, one wonders what it must have taken to put all of this together.  Credit for that task goes to SMA President Grace Craig, who coordinated the entire schedule of presenters and other aspects of the trip.

Grace Craig is a senior English major from Jackson, Mississippi.  Actively involved as a student, she has served as Mississippi State University Student Association Director of City of Starkville Relations.  She interned in Washington, D.C. last summer.  She is interested in a career in economic development, preferably in Mississippi.

The Value of Public Forums

On June 26, 2010  57 town hall meetings were held simultaneously  in cities all across the country.   The 3500 American participants spanned a wide spectrum of ages, ethnicities, religions and political affiliations.  They discussed and learned about ways to reduce the federal budget. They were presented with 42 options that had been developed by a national advisory committee, and were encouraged to suggest additional options to meet the deficit cutting goal.

When the votes were tallied, a vast majority – 85 percent of participants – expressed support for cutting the defense budget by at least five percent. More than half favored reducing defense spending by at least 15 percent. More than six in ten participants expressed support for reducing health care spending by at least five percent. No options for reducing Social Security benefits received a majority of support.

These public forums demonstrate that public discussion of issues can be a valuable way to make public policy decisions.  When people listen to understand rather than to influence others they find that they often have more in common than they previously believed.

The forums are summarized and analyzed in a report entitled The Difference That Deliberation Makes – Evaluating the “Our Budget, Our Economy” Public Deliberation.

In January and February 2011 The Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University will be conducting a series of forums around Mississippi in co-sponsorship with local mayors on a similar subject.  It will be interesting to see what Mississippians think about the future of their economic security.


Miss. State EcoCar wins national competition – 118 mpg

Students from Mississippi State University placed first in the 2010 EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge finals in San Diego, Calif. after designing and building an exceptional biodiesel extended-range electric vehicle (EREV). Virginia Tech earned second place with an ethanol EREV design and Penn State came in third place building a biodiesel EREV vehicle.
Click here for the store in The Reflector.
Click here for the national story.

Notes from Madison County Business League Economic Symposium

(May 4, 2010)  I had the opportunity today to attend the Economic Symposium 2010: Economic Perspectives for Madison County, which was offered by the Madison County Business League.  Featured presenters were Dr. Phil Pepper, Assistant Commission for Policy Research and Planning for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Dr. Marty Wiseman, Director of Mississippi State University‘s Stennis Institute of Government and David Altig, Senior Vice President and Director of Research for the Federal Reserve bank of Atlanta.  Here are my rough notes.

Dr. Phil Pepper

Things are good and going to get better for Madison County.

Things are not as good for Mississippi.  Slower growth.  More recessions.

Education is the key.  Counties with population growth have good schools.  “The primary economic development tool for any county is the education level.”

Dr. Marty Wiseman
No county in Mississippi is insulated from the international economy.

Public education is a key to economic development.  Period.

When a municipality has population growth it must keep a constant eye on annexation.

Madison County would be a prime place to have the pro and con discussion on the subject of eliminating the inventory tax.

As long as there is growth there is less need to worry about where local government revenues come from.

David Altig

The labor market is beginning to improve … employers remain reluctant to add payrolls.

Employment took a sizable step up in March.  The demand for workers appears to be improving.

If 200,000 jobs are created every month for the next 12 months it would bring the unemployment rate down by one oerscent.

Consumer spending has surprised to the upside.  Personal income growth, however, has been quite timid.

Spending on equipment and software rose rapidly in the 4th Quarter, and looks to be on a healthy pace in the 1st Quarter.

“Core” capital goods order have been rising.  Housing starts have shown modest improvement from a very low level.

Inventory adjustments are still making an outsize contribution to CDP growth, which is forecast for 2.8% in 2010.

Employment losses have been more severe in the United States than other countries.  Productivity is up in the Untied States; down everywhere else.

A different business model – TOMS Shoes: You buy a pair; he gives away a pair.

TOMS Shoes gives away a pair of shoes when a customer buys a pair of shoes.  Is this any way to run a business?  Considering that the giveaway is to a child in need and that the company is growing by leaps and bounds, the answer would certainly be a big Yes.  TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie was at Mississippi State to share his story Monday night. Click here to read about his visit and click here to read the TOMS story on its Web site.

Planning the Future of Oktibbeha County

Mississippi State University, the City of Starkville, Oktibbeha County and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership have come together to plan the future of the area.

Click here for the story.