Alumni couple’s scholarship honors family, supports Rankin County students

Contact: Addie Mayfield

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Three students are receiving scholarship support at Mississippi State University for the 2021-2022 academic year thanks to an award created by alumni couple Elton and Pat King of Miramar Beach, Florida.

Aubrey Douglas, freshman mechanical engineering major and Puckett Attendance Center graduate from Brandon; Craig Miller, junior computer science major and Northwest Rankin High School graduate from Brandon; and Hailey Reeder, senior English major and Pisgah High School graduate from Pelahatchie, are the current recipients of the Elton King Family Endowed Scholarship. Miller and Reeder were the inaugural recipients of the award and have benefited from its support since 2019.

“The Elton King Family Endowed Scholarship inspires the successful drive within me. It not only helped with my college tuition, but also encouraged me to work for higher grades and an overall better academic standing at MSU,” said Douglas.

Reeder, a first-generation college student, added, “This generous scholarship allows me more opportunity to work on my education without worrying about finances, for which I’m sincerely grateful.”

King earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1968. A second-generation Bulldog, he graduated exactly two decades after his father’s graduation from the land-grant. His wife, Pat, is a fellow 1968 alumna who earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

In addition to King’s father, the couple are joined by several other family members who share the status of Bulldog alumnus. Their son Kristopher King is a 2005 Bagley College of Engineering graduate and King’s siblings also completed their undergraduate degrees from MSU. In honor of his family’s deep-rooted, True Maroon connections, the Kings established the Elton King Family Endowed Scholarship in 2018.

“Pat and I attended grades 1 through 12 at Pisgah, a small school in Rankin County. We wanted to give young people graduating from small schools in the county a scholarship opportunity to help defray some of their college costs,” said King. “This is our small way of not only giving back to the university that has always meant so much to us, but also to aid in recognizing achievements at Pisgah and other small Rankin County schools.”

Candidates for the award are entering freshmen from Rankin County who have demonstrated academic achievement with a minimum 3.0 high school grade point average and a minimum ACT score of 25. Priority is given to graduates of the Kings’ alma mater Pisgah High School. Preference is also given to students pursuing a degree from MSU’s James Worth Bagley College of Engineering. Recipients may receive the award for up to four years, given they maintain their academic standings with a minimum 2.75 grade point average.

King spent 31 years at BellSouth Telecommunications, retiring in 2000 as group president. He was a charter member of the dean’s advisory board for the Bagley College and has contributed support for the college’s renovations of Carpenter Hall and McCain Hall. For his loyalty and professional accomplishments, he was recognized by the college as its Alumni Fellow and as a Distinguished Engineering Fellow in 1999.

For more information about creating scholarship support at the university through endowed gifts, contact Jack McCarty, executive director of development for the MSU Foundation, at 662-325-9580 or

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 3:04 pm