Peaveys help send grads toward their futures

Being honest with themselves is one key to having a successful career, Hartley Peavey told Mississippi State graduates last Saturday [April 30].

Peavey, an alumnus of the university who founded Peavey Electronics Corp., was speaker for one of the university's two commencement programs. Alumna Mary L. Peavey, his wife and president of their Meridian-based international business, addressed graduates at the Friday night [the 29th] program.

Nearly 2,400 students were candidates for spring-semester diplomas.

Also from East Mississippi, two other distinguished graduates were honored during the commencement programs.

Friday night, Macon native Earnest W. "Earnie" Deavenport, the retired head of Eastman Chemical Co. now residing in Kiawah Island, S.C., accepted an honorary doctorate for contributions in the business and engineering fields.

Saturday morning, Dr. Richard Holmes of Columbus, the first African American to attend MSU, received an honorary doctorate for contributions to the practice of medicine and the expansion of educational opportunity. He currently practices in Columbus and Meridian.

Hartley Peavey encouraged graduates to take an honest assessment of their own talents and gifts to help determine who they want to be and what they want to do as they navigate through life and careers.

He reflected on his own experiences, which led him to found what has become one of the world's largest musical instrument and professional sound equipment manufacturers.

"I had to do one of the hardest things I'd ever done. I had to look in the mirror and be honest with myself," Peavey said of giving up his dream to become a guitarist in a rock band and instead embracing the talents he had for building equipment.

"Success, I think, is feeling good about what you do," Peavey said, adding that money is not the correct measure of success. He also encouraged students to practice "stick-ability." He said being able to persevere through difficulties to finish projects is of utmost importance.

Both Hartley and Mary Peavey encouraged graduates to be givers.

"When you do go out and get that job, I hope that you will give back," Mary said. She told graduates about her own work supporting after-school programs so that young people can be in positive, supervised environments. She suggested graduates also consider supporting these programs with their time and resources or find other ways to give back in their communities.

Hartley Peavey is a native of Meridian; Mary Peavey, of Starkville.

Also a Starkville native, Richard Holmes entered MSU in the summer of 1965. He went on to receive a general liberal arts degree in 1969 and a master's in microbiology in 1972.

His entry to MSU helped pave the way for an African American student population that today is almost 3,900--20 percent of the total enrollment and a larger proportion of black students than at any other historically white land-grant institution in the nation.

Deavenport, a 1960 chemical engineering graduate, retired in 2001 as Eastman's chairman and chief executive officer. He also holds a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an honorary doctor of laws from Kings College.

He has been actively involved for many years with MSU and its Bagley College of Engineering, including current service as a member of the Dean's Advisory Council. Additionally, he serves on the MSU Foundation Board of Directors.

Allison Matthews | University Relations

Return to Memo

Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: May 2, 2011Facebook Twitter