STARKVILLE, Miss.--In ceremonies Thursday [Aug. 30] at Mississippi State, university officials announced that the School of Accountancy is being named for alumnus Richard C. Adkerson.
An MSU accounting graduate now residing in Phoenix, Ariz., Adkerson is chief executive officer of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., the world's largest publicly traded copper producer. He is a former Mississippi resident who graduated from Kosciusko High School after attending Tupelo High School.
MSU President Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong said a $5 million gift from Adkerson to the accounting school is creating a major endowment for the academic unit, a part of the College of Business and Industry that gained school-level status in 1979. The school's renaming recognizes Adkerson's long-term support for the accounting program and college from which he also received a master's degree in business administration, he added.
"In naming the Adkerson School of Accountancy, Richard Adkerson is raising this institution's reputation to the national level," Foglesong said.
The Adkerson School becomes the sixth named accounting school at a Southeastern Conference university. It is among 170 accounting programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Adkerson's accounting degree was completed with highest honors in 1969; his MBA, a year later. In 1970, he scored the second highest nationally on the certified public accounting examination. He also is a graduate of Harvard University's Advanced Management Program.
Today, in addition to being Freeport-McMoRan CEO, he is co-chairman of New Orleans-based McMoRan Exploration Co., an international oil and gas exploration and production business founded in 1969 by W.K. McWilliams (of Lauderdale County), James R. Moffett and B.M. Rankin Jr.
Adkerson began his career as an accountant with Arthur Andersen & Co. in New Orleans. He began working with McMoRan in 1970 and, in 1976, was selected for a coveted two-year fellowship with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., where he worked on oil and gas accounting and reporting standards. He then became a partner and managing director at Arthur Andersen, leading the firm's Worldwide Oil and Gas Industry Practice in Houston, Texas, before re-joining Freeport-McMoRan in New Orleans in 1989.
"Richard's investment in his alma mater is a testament to the quality of our school of accountancy and will enable us to enhance our reputation at the regional and national level," said interim school director Clyde E. Herring. "We are delighted to accept this gift and recognize his career by naming the school in his honor."
Herring said Adkerson's support will enable MSU to better compete for top students and offer bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting and taxation to a wider array of students than currently is possible. A portion of the gift also will support two endowed faculty positions--a chair and a professorship.
Adkerson, who continues to maintain a residence in New Orleans' French Quarter, has been an active alumnus who consistently has made time to serve on campus advisory boards. He currently is president of the MSU Foundation board of directors and chair of the land-grant institution's continuing "State of the Future" capital campaign.
Adkerson's gift is the third, thus far, to be recognized as a named academic unit in MSU's "State of the Future" campaign--and the fourth in the university's 129-year history.
His contribution brings to more than $383 million the total amount raised through the campaign, whose goal is $400 million by December 2008.
NEWS EDITORS/DIRECTORS: For additional information, contact Dr. Herring at 662-325-7451 or John Rush, MSU vice president for development and alumni, at 662-325-9306.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see http://www.msstate.edu/.