Engineering success: MSU, MGCCC celebrate partnership program’s inaugural graduates

Contact: Sasha Steinberg


STARKVILLE, Miss.—Four years ago, Mississippi State University and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College joined forces to provide future engineers on the Gulf Coast with an affordable option for earning a world-renowned education close to home.

This week, six students are graduating with bachelor’s degrees as a result of this successful Engineering on the Coast partnership.

All mechanical engineering majors, graduates include Tedd R. Dixon of D’Iberville; Richard A. “Rikki” Pribanic of Lucedale; Tyler S. Quave and Timothy R. Wilson of Ocean Springs; and Jonathan W. Massaro and Cassidy E. Voelkel of Pascagoula.

“In summer 2014, we laid out a vision to deliver Mississippi State University engineering degrees on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We are proud to have brought that vision to reality with our first cohort of graduates in mechanical engineering,” said Jason M. Keith, dean of MSU’s James Worth Bagley College of Engineering.

“We are particularly thankful to Mississippi Power, Chevron and International Paper for their support that helped us initiate these programs and construct state-of-the-art teaching laboratories for our students,” added Keith, who holds the college’s Earnest W. and Mary Ann Deavenport Jr. Endowed Chair.

The Engineering on the Coast program enables students to complete a two-year Associate of Science degree from MGCCC before enrolling in electrical or mechanical engineering classes leading to bachelor’s degrees from MSU. The engineering classes are offered by Bagley College faculty on campus at MGCCC’s Jackson County Campus in Gautier and through synchronous online delivery from MSU’s Starkville campus.

MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner also offered words of praise for the six graduating seniors who have “earned their degrees in mechanical engineering without ever leaving home because of this partnership between MSU and MGCCC.”

“Without question, this is all about creating unique opportunities for students, for businesses and for the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” she added.

MGCCC President Mary Graham agreed that the Engineering on the Coast program’s inaugural graduating class “demonstrates how successful a partnership like this one can be for MGCCC students, residents of south Mississippi and MSU’s engineering program.”

“It is always exciting to see our students further their education and career opportunities,” she said. “The program’s continued growth and expansion will allow our students access to degrees in high-demand, high-paying fields.”

Quave said he has enjoyed pursuing mechanical engineering studies close to home and in an intimate learning environment through the Engineering on the Coast program. He plans to put his degree to good use through full-time work at D’Iberville-based general contractor DNP Inc. following graduation.

“I’ve really gotten to know my teachers and other students pretty well,” he said. “Working with people every day has made a big difference. We all had to come together as a team to solve problems, and that’s the No. 1 thing you need to know how to do on the job.”

The James Worth Bagley College of Engineering is MSU’s second largest college. The National Science Foundation ranks MSU in the top 10 percent nationally for engineering expenditures in research and development. U.S. News and World Report ranks its undergraduate and graduate programs in the top 100 nationwide. The Bagley College offers degree programs in eight different academic engineering departments and 10 certificate programs.

For more on the Bagley College of Engineering and Engineering on the Coast program, visit www.bagley.msstate.edu/coast.

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