George Bryan is Mississippi State's alumnus of the year

Contact: Kay Fike Jones

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George W. Bryan

George W. Bryan

A West Point native and Sara Lee Corp. executive is Mississippi State University's National Alumnus of 2000.

George W. Bryan of Memphis, Tenn., a 1968 business administration graduate, was honored at the MSU Alumni Association's annual awards banquet Friday night [Feb. 11] on campus.

In announcing this year's selection, alumni executive director John V. Correro said the association is "pleased to be able to honor such an active supporter of the university.

"In addition to being a director of the MSU Foundation, George was the College of Business and Industry's Alumni Fellow in 1992," Correro said. "He has been a leading supporter of both academics and athletics and his corporate and personal contributions have helped the university grow."

Last year, Bryan led in bringing the U.S. Women's Open--the most prestigious event in women's professional golf--to the Old Waverly Golf Club in his Mississippi hometown. The achievement earned him the Jackson Clarion-Ledger's 1999 Sports Person of the Year Award.

Bryan began his business career in 1964 at Bryan Foods, his family's West Point-based meat products manufacturing company. After working in cost accounting, he became production manager and vice president of sales before being named Bryan president in 1974.

He was named Sara Lee senior vice president in 1983, moving two years later from Mississippi to open the company's meat group offices in the West Tennessee river city.

At present, Bryan is senior vice president for Sara Lee Corp. as well as chief executive officer of Sara Lee Foods and chairman of the board and director of the American Meat Institute.

He also has served as general campaign chairman for the United Way of the Mid-South, a board director and member of the Trust Committee of Union Planters National Bank in Memphis, and past president of the Chickasaw Council Boy Scouts of America.

He was named an "Outstanding Mississippian" in 1979 by then-Gov. Cliff Finch and was inducted into the West Point Hall of Fame in 1994.

In addition to Bryan Foods, Sara Lee's more than 30 pork and beef production plants operate under the Rudy's Farm, Jimmy Dean, Smoky Hollow, Hillshire Farms, Mr. Turkey, and Ball Park Franks brand names. Meat division annual sales are $3.5 billion.