MSU set to host first SEC on-campus academic conference in March

SEC Commissioner Greg SankeyMSU President Mark E. Keenum

Contact: Allison Matthews

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University will be the first Southeastern Conference institution to host a new academic event focused on SEC university research collaboration.

To be held at the Starkville campus March 27-28, the 2017 SEC Academic Conference will focus on “The Future of Water: Regional Collaboration on Shared Climate, Coastlines, and Watersheds.” For complete conference details, visit

“As president of both Mississippi State University and the Southeastern Conference, I’m extremely proud to see MSU take the lead in hosting the first SEC Academic Conference,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum.

“This represents a significant opportunity for Mississippi State and the City of Starkville to showcase our campus facilities and our community for a large and distinguished group of our colleagues from the other 13 universities around the league. MSU is particularly well-suited to host an academic conference on the topic of The Future of Water – a topic that dovetails with our established university priority of improving global food security and battling world hunger,” Keenum added.

 “We are looking forward to working with Mississippi State University on this first SEC Academic Conference,” said Greg Sankey, SEC Commissioner. “Under the leadership of President Keenum, Provost Judy Bonner, and Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw, we know the faculty and administrators in Starkville will provide a challenging and thoughtful program on the critically important issue of water conservation.”

MSU officials making preparations for the March conference said increased climate variability and water demand are bringing water issues to the forefront. Drought, declines in aquifers used for irrigation, and sea-level rise are among core topics of interest. The conference is designed to stimulate communication and collaboration toward sustainable and resilient water resource management in the Southeast, with overarching themes to include shared inland waters and aquifers, coastlines, climate and regional policy.

The conference aims to identify the dominant economic, community and ecosystem challenges to sustainable water resources in the southeastern U.S.; identify policy and practice paths to maximize the health and vitality of the region through water stewardship; and engage the best and brightest scientists in the SEC with other national and international experts in water resources.

“This conference is going to be a very important opportunity to interact with inter-disciplinary colleagues to discuss cutting-edge water resource science and opportunities for collaborative research,” said MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw.

Students from all SEC universities are encouraged to participate and compete in the Campus Water Matters Challenge under the guidance of faculty from their respective universities. Designed to engage students to innovate interdisciplinary water solutions, the challenge also encourages student-faculty collaboration. For guidelines, visit

“We want to encourage student participation at the SEC Academic Conference and expose students to practical research,” Shaw said.

The SEC Academic Conference represents an expanded slate of academic programming currently supported by the Southeastern Conference. The on-campus event is expected to showcase conference research in areas of critical importance within the region and around the nation. SECU is the academic initiative of the SEC, and it serves as the primary mechanism through which the collaborative academic endeavors and achievements of SEC universities are supported and advanced.

For more on SECU, visit

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