Presidential Update 2017

From the Final Four to record-setting enrollment numbers, see what MSU President Mark E. Keenum has to say about Mississippi State's 2017.

Audio Transcription:

Dr. Mark Keenum: It's hard to believe we're wrapping up another great fall semester at Mississippi State. We have tremendous momentum on campus right now. I think you can see this in our record setting enrollment numbers, as well as in the success we've seen in private fundraising recently. Our alumni and friends contributed nearly $109 million during this past fiscal year. Enrollment is nearly 22,000, with a record number of transfer students this fall. we're also the college of choice for high school graduates in Mississippi. Over 65% of our student body are comprised of in-state residents, and our first-time freshmen average ACT score of 25.13 is an all-time high.

Clearly, students and their families see value in an education from Mississippi State, and our generous donors see that value as well. Our research and teaching are an economic development and success story, too. The work we're doing at Mississippi State University has a tremendous economic impact in our local community, around the region and throughout the state. I'm very proud that over 55% of all funded research in our state takes place at Mississippi State University, or at our research and extension facilities.

We're also working with major companies to bring new investment, and new high-skilled, high-paying jobs to our state. We're also essential to the success of Mississippi's $8 billion agriculture and forestry industry. Our students are contributing to all of this important work. Students at Mississippi State this very day are working with world class researchers, scientists and teachers. They're preparing for the jobs of the future. They're engaged in advanced data processing, material science and manufacturing robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, new energy sources. Our students are sharpening their abilities to think critically and communicate clearly, and learning perhaps the greatest lesson of all. That each of us must never stop learning.

We want our students to graduate from Mississippi State University ready to go to work, to make a difference, to be leaders, and to help solve the world's greatest challenges. As we prepare our students for an uncertain future, we also strive to instill them with values that are timeless. I firmly believe that with a degree from Mississippi State and living with these timeless values, our students are ready for anything and ready to make a difference.

Over the past five years, I'd put our students' performance up against any other university, public or private. The Ivy League, any of them. The results speak for themselves, including Rhodes Scholar Phil Brown, two Rhodes finalists just this past year. We've also had a Gates Cambridge Scholar, three Goldwater Scholars plus five Goldwater honorable mentions, two Truman Scholars, two Fulbright fellows, and I can go on and on.

Our student athletes are also having terrific success. Our Bulldog football team turned in an outstanding eight and four record this year, and will be bowing for an eighth consecutive season. After a national search, we are proud to introduce our new head football coach, Joe Moorhead. I have every confidence that our new coach will continue the winning traditions established at MSU over the last decade. 

Women's basketball is picking right up where they left off from last year's historic final four upset of University of Connecticut and the national championship battle with South Carolina. I'm so proud of our players and Coach Vic Schaefer. Coach Ben Howland and our men's basketball team are seeing early success as well, and we're also looking forward to another strong year from them. Baseball wrapped up a productive fall practice last month, and we're already looking forward to Coach Andy Cannizaro's second season leading our Bulldogs. Our entire athletics program is flourishing and on the right track, thanks to the leadership of Athletics Director John Cohen and his team. 

Most fittingly, we kicked off the holiday season a few weeks ago by celebrating the $10 million expansion of the Mitchell memorial library and the grand re-opening of the Ulysses S. Grant presidential library, and the new Frank and Virginia Williams' collection of Lincolniana. The new addition will enable us to devote more space to the Grant presidential library's treasure trove of information that benefits historians, researchers, and countless other visitors seeking an up close and personal look into the life and times of General and President Grant. 

The Frank and Virginia Williams' collection, donated by former Rhode Island Chief Justice Frank Williams and his wife this summer, along with the other remarkable Ulysses S. Grant collection have made Mississippi State and the Grant presidential library a truly national center for the study of the Civil War.

All things considered, I think you'll agree, it's a great time to be a Bulldog. It's most definitely been another outstanding year for our extended Mississippi State family. With that, Rhonda and I and our children Rett, Mary Phillips, Katie and Torie wish all of our a very merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and a holiday season filled with blessings and peace. Thank you and God bless.