Ed Davis of MSU receives national rural education award

Contact: Sammy McDavid

Ed Davis (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A well-known and widely respected Mississippi State faculty member is being recognized with the highest tribute of a professional organization representing more than 600 U.S. community colleges.

James E. “Ed” Davis of Starkville is the Rural Community College Alliance’s selection for the 2016 George Autry Lifetime Achievement Award. He formally accepted the honor Sept. 29 at the RCCA’s national gathering in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

An associate professor with three degrees from the university, Davis is interim head of the College of Education’s educational leadership department.

In addition to an MSU career, the Clay County native has held positions as academic recruiting director and vice president during separate periods in the 1990s at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba. After receiving an associate’s degree at EMCC, he went on to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at MSU in 1978, 1984 and 1992, respectively.

Davis has been associated with Mississippi education for nearly 40 years. He taught for several years at rural state high schools before returning to EMCC as a member of the academic faculty and basketball coaching staff. In 1988, he came back to MSU as an assistant men’s basketball coach. 

More recently at the Starkville land-grant institution, he coordinated master’s and doctoral degree programs in community college leadership. He has headed the educational leadership department for the past three years.

Davis also serves as a Senior Fellow at the University of Alabama’s Education Policy Center and has helped develop the multi-state Mississippi and Alabama Community College Policy Fellows program, a collaborative partnership sponsored by MSU and UA.

With offices in Holdenville, Oklahoma, the Rural Community College Alliance represents community, technical and tribal colleges that serve nearly 90 million rural-residing Americans. For more, visit www.ruralccalliance.org.

The George Autry Lifetime Achievement Award is a memorial to the long-serving president of MDC Inc., a nonprofit North Carolina think tank. Autry (1937-2007) earned national recognition for relentlessly promoting rural community and tribal colleges as vital intermediaries for building human capacity and economic resources in areas impacted by persistent poverty.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.