Background Image Alternative Text: Flags representing MSU's academic colleges hang during fall 2021 commencement ceremonies at Humphrey Coliseum.

‘You can achieve anything’: Keenum encourages MSU graduates to cherish Bulldog memories, values

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—It was an extra special Maroon Friday as more than 1,200 graduates participated Dec. 10 in commencement at Mississippi State University.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum speaks to graduates during MSU's fall 2021 commencement ceremonies at Humphrey Coliseum.
MSU President Mark E. Keenum encouraged Bulldog graduates to use the values of integrity, hard work and kindness to make a difference as they take the next step in their personal and professional lives. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

“Our whole world changed in the spring of 2020, and you found a way to adapt, persevere and endure. You handled every single curve ball that was thrown your way, and I commend you for that,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum told the graduates during Starkville commencement ceremonies in Humphrey Coliseum.

Keenum, a Corinth native who holds three degrees in agricultural economics from MSU, said the experience of navigating a global pandemic has graduates poised for successful futures.

“Whether you go on to continue your education or begin a brand new career, you are prepared for that next step in your life. Make a difference and be a positive change agent. Always be honest and truthful, do something to the best of your ability and be kind and considerate to everyone, all of the time,” Keenum emphasized.

“With those values and your great education from Mississippi State, I promise you will stand out,” said the former Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “You will be sought after, and you will have people opening doors of opportunity for you that you could never imagine. Never doubt yourself—you can achieve anything.”

Mississippi State alumnus Hines Brannan, left, receives an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from MSU President Mark E. Keenum, right, during Starkville’s Friday [Dec. 10] afternoon commencement ceremony in Humphrey Coliseum.
Mississippi State alumnus Hines Brannan, left, receives an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from MSU President Mark E. Keenum, right, during Starkville’s afternoon commencement ceremony. Brannan, a 1970 industrial engineering and 1971 Master of Business Administration graduate from Woodville, received recognition for outstanding dedication in leading MSU strategic planning efforts and promoting the advancement of higher education. For the past three years, Brannan has served as chairman of the board for the MSU Foundation. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

Hines Brannan, a 1970 industrial engineering graduate of MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree during the Friday afternoon ceremony in Starkville. The Woodville native, who also earned a Master of Business Administration from MSU’s College of Business in 1971, received recognition for outstanding dedication in leading MSU strategic planning efforts and promoting the advancement of higher education.

Brannan, an Atlanta, Georgia resident, is a partner in a private equity firm, serves on several private company boards and is active in angel investing, as well as advising and consulting with startup companies. He has served for the past three years as chairman of the board for the MSU Foundation, and he also has worked with university leadership on strategic planning, marketing and branding/image initiatives.

Archived graduation videos are available at www.registrar.msstate.edu/students/graduation.

MSU-Meridian celebrated commencement Thursday [Dec. 9] at the MSU Riley Center. For more information, visit www.meridian.msstate.edu.  

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