Inaugural MSU Black Alumni Weekend slated for 2016

Contact: Amy Cagle

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The Mississippi State University National Alumni Association is announcing the first formally organized Black Alumni Weekend for the institution. Sponsored by the Black Alumni Weekend planning committee in conjunction with the 130-year-old alumni association, the weekend is scheduled for March 3-6, 2016.

“Mississippi State alumni and friends of any ethnic background will have an opportunity to salute the heritage of inclusion and diversity at our university by attending this collection of events,” said Jeff Davis, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association.

Co-chaired by MSU alumni Edward Sanders of Washington, D.C., and Camille Scales Young of Madison, the planning committee seeks to increase alumni involvement.

Sanders, a 2006 bachelor’s in political science graduate and the National Alumni Board of Director’s at-large director, anticipates the event will be well attended.  He and several fellow alumni considered similar events to commemorate inclusion and gained feedback from other SEC universities prior to embarking on this venture.

“The idea behind the reunion is to invite graduates to return and experience the changes and differences on campus since they were students,” said Sanders. “The event also brings a special time to highlight many successful African American alumni and their accomplishments.”

The weekend will encompass educational and social events, a tribute to the recently marked 50th anniversary of the admission of Dr. Richard E. Holmes as the first African American student at Mississippi State, and an open forum for the state of black affairs at the university. Additionally, a semiformal gala will honor African American alumni who are trailblazers in their respective fields.

Fellow co-chair Young, a past MSU national alumni president, hopes the weekend will be a time for alumni to cultivate relationships with current students.

“I’m always excited to see the positive differences that alumni can make in students’ lives, and this a great way for students to hear success stories and understand what they, too, can accomplish by interacting with successful returning alumni in the campus environment,” said Young, who graduated with a bachelor’s in communication in 1994 and master’s in agriculture and extension education in 1996.

Individuals and families who wish to attend Black Alumni Weekend may register now at  The price is $95 per person until Jan. 31, 2016, and will increase to $125 starting Feb. 1, 2016. Children, ages 10 to 17, can be registered for $30, which includes all events except the networking reception and after parties for Friday and Saturday evenings. Some events carry an additional cost beyond the registration fee.

A complete listing of events is found at  A highlight of the weekend is the MSU versus Auburn basketball game, and tickets can be obtained through

Along with Sanders and Young, the committee includes: Ann Carr of Starkville, a 1990 educational psychology graduate who earned a master’s in counselor education in 1992; Desi A. Crouther of Herndon, Virginia, a 1980 geology and 1983 petroleum engineering graduate; 
Ra’Sheda Boddie Forbes of Starkville, a 2008 biological sciences graduate; Zwanardo M. Landfair of Olive Branch, a 1993 industrial technology graduate; Willie C. McClendon of Jackson, a 2011 business administration and foreign language graduate; James E. Pattman of Roswell, Georgia, a 1979 accounting graduate; Michael J. Richardson of Starkville, a 1992 chemistry graduate and 1998 master’s in secondary education graduate;  Janie G. Shields of Steens, a 2007 communication graduate; Tommy Stevenson Jr. of Starkville, a 1992 industrial technology and 1998 master’s in school administration graduate; 
Bianca A. Tatum, a student representative from Starkville; 
and Jason R. Word of Ridgeland, a 2002 management graduate.

For more information on this event, visit the MSU Black Alumni Weekend Facebook page or contact Sanders at or Young at

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