University names Davis alumni director


Jeff Davis

Jeff Davis, a veteran alumni association executive at Steven F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas, is being named Mississippi State University's executive director of the alumni association.

Davis succeeds Jimmy Abraham, who retired earlier this year after a 38-year career in alumni affairs and student affairs. He is set to begin his duties on Nov. 18.

"Engaging our alumni is a core mission and I'm confident that Jeff Davis is capable of leading an already successful MSU Alumni Association to the next level," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. "I also appreciate those who served in an exhaustive search process that led to Jeff's ultimate selection. His experience, energy and enthusiasm will be an excellent fit as the university's leadership team works to advance MSU in new and exciting ways."

Davis will serve as the key liaison between the university and its more than 127,000 living alumni around the state and across the nation. The 135-year-old land-grant institution has more than 95 alumni chapters in locations across the U.S. and overseas.

In his new role, Davis will develop and implement programs to maintain lifelong interactions between Mississippi State graduates and the institution and provide feedback from alumni about their concerns, said John P. Rush, MSU vice president for development and alumni.

"Jeff Davis possesses the unique skill set necessary to lead our MSU Alumni Association to new heights of engagement, service and success," said Rush. "Despite an illustrious group of predecessors in this important position, Jeff will be MSU's first alumni association director with significant prior experience in alumni relations. That experience, combined with his enthusiasm and warmth, positions MSU well for the future."

Davis served as SFA's executive director of alumni affairs since 2008. He also was chief executive of both the SFA Alumni Association and the SFA Alumni Foundation.

At the comprehensive regional institution, Davis was responsible for the direction and management of an SFA alumni relations program that serviced nearly 100,000 alumni worldwide. He also was charged with raising funds to support student scholarships and alumni programs. Prior to the executive director post at SFA, he served as director of development for the SFA Alumni Association. The Clear Lake, Texas, native also worked for the University of Alabama at Birmingham as assistant director of new student orientation and parent programs.

Danny Hossley, a 1965 MSU business alumnus and alumni association executive committee member, said Davis was chosen based on his experience and proven successes as the alumni director at a major university.

"Jeff demonstrated that he knows the mission and has the vision and passion to lead and grow our association. I feel that he'll create enthusiasm among all our alumni and at the same time work well with our entire university staff and officials," Hossley said.

"Jeff also fits the mold of the young, enthusiastic and passionate professionals MSU has brought in most recently to lead us forward," he said.

Tommy R. Roberson, national president of the MSU Alumni Association and 1967 political science and history graduate, said Davis is automatically a part of the Bulldog family because his grandfather, 1940 alumnus Richard Warfield Davis, played football at Mississippi State.

"Jeff is very knowledgeable about the history of this university and very engaging," Roberson said.

Camille Scales Young, immediate former national president of the association and a 1994 communication and 1996 agriculture and extension education alumna, said she is looking forward to Davis's leadership and the experience he brings to the table.

"Jeff's personality brings enthusiasm that is contagious, and our Bulldog family welcomes him into our ranks. We look forward to a productive and successful tenure as director of our alumni association, as well as many years of growth," Scales said.

MSU Alumni Association executive committee member and national first vice president Ron Black, a 1980 marketing alumnus, said Davis has "tremendous energy and vision."

"There is no doubt that Jeff can and will take the MSU Alumni Association to the next level," Black said.

Davis holds a master of business administration in management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business. He is a 2002 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University where he earned a bachelor's in business administration from the Nelson Rusche College of Business.

Davis belongs to the Council of Alumni Association Executives, which is made up of 100 chief executive officers of the top 100 alumni organizations that support four-year institutions of higher education. He is an active member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Alumni Professionals of Texas, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Nacogdoches Jaycees, the Fredonia Rotary Club and the alumni chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.

Christie D. Walters, a 1998 fine arts alumna and Alumni Association executive committee member, said she looks forward to working with Davis. "What an exciting day for Mississippi State University to welcome Jeff Davis as our new Alumni Association director. With his experience in alumni leadership, our association will continue to grow and succeed," Walters said.

Joining Davis in Starkville will be his wife, Jenny, and two daughters Campbell and Collins.

Allison Matthews | Office of Public Affairs

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