President drives first nail for Habitat project

Mississippi State University and Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity volunteers and officials were on hand to break ground last Monday [Aug. 8] for the third-annual Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity project.

A service learning component of the university's Maroon Edition First-Year Reading Experience, this year's house will benefit a local working mother and her three children.

Kicking off construction was MSU President Mark E. Keenum, who drove the first nail into boards that will serve as part of the home's door frame. Student and employee volunteers will work on the house, located at 70 Murdock Lane in Oktibbeha County, every Friday and Saturday throughout the fall semester until completion. The university's Maroon Volunteer Center coordinates the volunteer efforts.

"This is quite special for Mississippi State," Keenum said, adding that the project is a wonderful opportunity for students as part of a well-rounded college experience.

"It's important--learning how to serve your neighbor. It builds character, and it builds leadership. This project is yet another chance for Mississippi State to continue its mission of service to our community and our state," Keenum said.

The federal Corporation for National and Community Service recently honored Mississippi State, including the university for the third consecutive year on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging students, faculty and staff in meaningful community service. The recognition includes higher education institutions that provide significant support for volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement activities.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Keenum also presented an MSU T-shirt to Dot Livingston, a Starkville resident who will make MSU T-shirt quilts for all three families benefiting from local Habitat homes.

Each quilt may include as many as 30 T-shirts. Shirt donations can be made at the Maroon Volunteer Center, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., in South Hall, Room 306.

For more information about the university's Maroon Edition, visit

Allison Matthews | University Relations

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