'Message from the President': Thanks for good year

Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum reflects on the accomplishments of the past year, and thanks faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication:

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As the upcoming holiday approaches and 2011 nears its end, and as I complete my third year as president of Mississippi State, I am moved to reflect on our accomplishments of the past year. It has been a good year, thanks primarily to your hard work and dedication to our great university.

We kicked off 2011 with an impressive New Year's Day victory in the Gator Bowl and we will end the year with another football bowl game in Nashville's Music City Bowl on Dec. 30.

In between, we experienced a record enrollment, surpassing 20,000 students for the first time; reached an all-time high in active alumni participation; and had a record fund-raising year, with more than $80 million donated and pledged. I was extremely pleased that we joined the ranks of top-tier national research universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation, gaining "very high research activity" status. Mississippi State is one of only 40 public universities in the top research category that also holds Carnegie's Community Engagement classification.

During the past year we also began construction on two new residence halls and secured funding for a major renovation of Lee Hall and a classroom addition to the Wise Center. We are moving ahead with plans for a new classroom building with parking, a new apartment complex for students with families, and other major campus improvements.

Our students, with your guidance, continued to distinguish themselves, garnering honors in national competitions ranging from automotive design to weather forecasting. Our faculty continued to reap honors including State Professor of the Year and several were named as Fellows of professional societies and as Fulbright Scholars.

All of these developments are indicators of a university on the move, and our progress is a tribute to your energy, ability, and determination to excel despite financial constraints. The work we have done together to seek out and implement greater efficiencies and develop new opportunities allowed us to absorb the current year's further reduction in state funding while maintaining our momentum. This year's much deserved and long overdue university-wide salary increases were made possible in part by your willingness to shoulder a heavier load and your help in making every dollar count.

Every member of the Mississippi State family contributes to our success and to the inestimable impact this university provides to our state. As I count my blessings at this special time of the year, the opportunity to work alongside the more than 4,000 faculty and staff who make me proud every day is near the top of the list.

Have a safe and joyous holiday season and a happy and productive new year.

Mark E. Keenum

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