MSU’s Hudson, Damm recognized by IHL for diversity efforts

MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent Harvin Hudson receives a 2017 Diversity Award from IHL Trustee Shane Hooper (second from left), MSU President Mark E. Keenum (far right) and MSU Associate Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Bill Herndon. (Photo by Jay Ferchaud/ University of Mississippi Medical Center)

IHL Trustee Shane Hooper presents a 2017 Diversity Award to MSU Professor of Music Robert Damm as MSU Interim Assistant Vice President of Multicultural Affairs Ra’Sheda Forbes and MSU President Mark E. Keenum look on. (Photo by Jay Ferchaud/ University of Mississippi Medical Center)

Contact: James Carskadon

JACKSON, Miss.—A Mississippi State University faculty member and an extension agent were recently honored during the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning’s annual Diversity Awards recognition.

The awards recognize campus and community leaders for the impact they have made in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect. MSU’s honorees were Robert Damm, professor of music and director of music education partnerships, and Harvin Hudson, agriculture and natural resources extension agent, who was recognized on behalf of the university’s Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.

Hudson has worked for the MSU Extension Service for 30 years and currently is based in Neshoba County. Hudson plays an active role in his community, serving as a member of Neshoba County Community Development Partnership, Allies for Education and the Neshoba County Parks Commission Board, among other volunteer activities. In September, he was named Philadelphia and Neshoba County Citizen of the Year by the Community Development Partnership.

Damm, who has been at MSU since 1995, works to share the experience and culture of traditional African music in the community, helping to provide high quality cultural programs. He directs the African Student Association’s African Drum Ensemble and facilitates community drum circle events. In 2013, Damm received the MSU College of Education Diversity Award.

The late Trustee Karen Cummins received the Community Service Award for her courage, compassion and willingness to serve her fellow man, “which earned the respect and admiration of all who knew her.” Cassie Sade Turnipseed, assistant professor of history at Mississippi Valley State University, was named the 2017 Diversity Educator of the Year.

For more on the IHL’s Diversity Awards recognition, visit

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