Profile: John Tomlinson
John Tomlinson is passionate about his alma mater's trifold missions of learning, research and service.
"Learning is what's going on in every classroom on this campus; research is the creation of new knowledge; and service is happening through the extension offices and the outreach all over the state and beyond," he said. "Mississippi State is in all 82 counties in Mississippi."
Tomlinson works with top Mississippi State administrators and Magnolia State legislators to determine how taxpayer monies are allocated to institutions of higher learning. He also responds when colleagues from other state universities and colleges contact him.
However, MSU's longtime director of university governmental support is the first to say all those conversations with policymakers and high-level leaders are about one thing.
"It's about who we are here at Mississippi State and what we do: It's about the people," he said. "We all want to grow the economy, and Mississippi State can grow the economy of this state. The land-grant system is a very good system, and it takes this three-legged stool to make it stand."
The Tupelo native who holds two agriculture degrees from Mississippi State considers South Farm — formerly, the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center — to be his favorite campus locale. With both bachelor's and master's degrees in animal science, he's spent considerable time at the gently rolling landscape.
"I've watched it grow from a small number of large pastures to a large number of small pastures," he said.
For 27 years, Tomlinson has represented MSU's interests in Jackson. During the 2014 legislative session, one piece of legislation he worked to promote involved medical leave for adoptive or foster children of nine-month faculty members. Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill March 14.
"Most important to me are the end users of our product," Tomlinson said. "It's good to benefit them because they benefit us."
From recruiting prospective students to working regularly with longstanding alumni, Tomlinson has devoted his career to ensuring that the 136-year-old land-grant institution continues to benefit the statewide population it was established to serve.Writer: Leah Barbour | Photo: Russ Houston
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