Contact: Sasha Steinberg
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi Public Universities Commissioner of Higher Education Alfred Rankins Jr. encouraged more than 1,400 Mississippi State fall graduates to celebrate their accomplishments while moving forward with character and determination during commencement exercises Friday [Dec. 14] at Humphrey Coliseum.
“MSU has given you an outstanding tool and means to be great for the rest of your life,” said Rankins, who holds master’s and doctoral degrees in weed science from MSU. “The education you have received provides the foundation for your future. Your credential from MSU tells the world you are ready.”
Rankins told his fellow Bulldog graduates that knowledge, leadership skills and a service-oriented mindset are traits that make the value of an MSU education ring true.
“You have left your imprint on Mississippi State and Mississippi State has left its imprint on you, just as it has on me,” he said. “MSU has given you the gift of the tools and knowledge you need to lead, and now it is your responsibility to use these gifts to become leaders in your communities and your chosen profession.”
Greenville native Rankins was appointed to serve as commissioner of higher education by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning earlier this year and provides leadership to the university system, including all eight public universities.
A former tenured associate professor in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and extension specialist for the MSU Extension Service, Rankins encouraged graduates to thank friends, family, faculty, staff and others who have provided support and inspiration throughout their MSU journey.
The 19th president of Alcorn State University and former acting president of Mississippi Valley State University also urged the newest members of the Bulldog alumni family to use their voices to support higher education and to work together for the greater good.
“I hope you will pay it forward and encourage those coming behind you to stay the course, persevere through the difficult times and break through whatever barriers or challenges stand between them and earning their Mississippi State degree,” Rankins said. “I can tell you from experience that having a degree from Mississippi State is worth it. It is worth the time, the money and the persistence. This investment will pay dividends to you for the rest of your life.”
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.