Two former Mississippi State student affairs administrators are the latest being recognized for years of leadership that helped significantly advance the university's service to students.
At a 6 p.m. Wednesday [May 7] ceremony at the Colvard Student Union Foster Ballroom, Mike White of Starkville and the late Durward W. Aiken Sr. of Meridian formally will be inducted into the Robert L. Jones Student Affairs Hall of Honor.
Named for Aiken's successor as vice president for student affairs, the recognition program was created last year to "pay tribute of those who provided sustained and distinguished service to the Division of Student Affairs and the students of Mississippi State University."
White, a Vietnam combat veteran, came to campus in 1972 after working as a state vocational rehabilitation counselor. As director of MSU's Disabled Student Services, he led in creating a federally funded program that, in 1983, became the comprehensive Department of Student Support Services. After a number of years as SSS head, he was promoted to dean of students, the office he held until retiring in 2009.
In part, the division's tribute notes that "generations of students benefitted from Dean White's interaction and advocacy. A champion for first-generation college students, students with disabilities and student military veterans, his legacy will inspire MSU faculty, student and staff members for years to come."
Aiken, a Tate County native who died in 2000 at age 98, was an Ohio State University doctoral graduate who joined the faculty of then-Mississippi A&M College in 1934 as a finance and marketing instructor.
In 1947, he was named professor and head of the industrial education department. At the same time, he became director of the Veterans Advancement Center, forerunner of the Division of Student Affairs.
Aiken would go on to become MSU's first dean of student affairs in 1952 and retired in 1967 as the first vice president of student affairs. The campus' former married-student housing complex was named for him.
"Many of the elements of today's Division of Student Affairs were created under Dr. Aiken's leadership," his tribute declares, adding that Aiken's "pioneering commitment to students enabled the Division to be what it is today."
In addition to Jones, those previously inducted into the divisional honor hall included Roy H. Ruby, his successor as vice president for student affairs, along with former associate vice president Bill Foster and Harold Hall, the former dean of students who was White's predecessor in that position.
For additional information on the induction ceremony, contact Andrew Rendon, assistant dean of student affairs, at 662-325-2279 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on the Division of Student Affairs, visit www.saffairs.msstate.edu.
Complete information on MSU is available at www.msstate.edu.