Corinth High School honors Keenum

Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum is Corinth High School's 2011 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

The university's 19th chief executive was selected for the honor by the Corinth High School Alumni Association. A 1979 CHS graduate, he formally accepted the award Oct. 7 during halftime activities of the school's home football game with Amory High School.

He is the son of Charles and Shirley Keenum, now of Belzoni.

"This is a great honor, and it is especially meaningful because I owe so much of my personal development to my experiences at Corinth High School," Keenum said. "Strong academics and my involvement as an athlete at CHS helped shape me into who I am today."

Keenum praised his alma mater for the many important lessons learned from teachers and coaches, as well as lifelong friendships made there. On the Corinth Warriors football team, he played center and on the defensive line. He earned a football scholarship and played two years at Northeast Mississippi Community College.

Keenum, who holds three degrees in agricultural economics from MSU, became the 133-year-old land-grant institution's president in January 2009, following a distinguished public service career.

Prior to being named to the office in November 2008 by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning, he served for two years as undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At USDA, he provided leadership and oversight for the Farm Service and Risk Management agencies, as well as for the Foreign Agricultural Service.

Prior to joining the George W. Bush administration, he was for many years U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's chief of staff, a role in which he was chief adviser to the senator on political, legislative and appropriations issues. Earlier, he was Cochran's legislative assistant for agriculture and natural resources.

Allison Matthews | University Relations

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