Mississippi State University forms part of a cohesive town-university community with the growing agricultural-commercial-industrial town of Starkville. Located in the eastern part of north-central Mississippi, it is 125 miles northeast of Jackson and 23 miles west of Columbus; it is served by Highways 82,12 and 25 and by feeder air service through the Golden Triangle Regional Airport 14 miles east. Away from urban complexities, the community enjoys many intellectual, cultural, and recreational advantages: the MSU-Starkville Civic Symphony and Chorus; the Starkville Community Theater; the University Lyceum series, bringing professional musical, dramatic, and artistic groups and performers to the campus; art exhibits, plays, and recitals by local and visiting artists; public radio and public television programs through Mississippi Public Broadcasting performances by popular musical groups of regional and national celebrity; frequent intercollegiate athletic events in modern facilities; and a variety of recreational opportunities on playing fields and courts, in neighboring forests, fields, and lakes, and along the nearby Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
Mississippi State University is a comprehensive, doctoral-degree-granting university offering to a diverse and capable student body a wide range of opportunities and challenges for learning and growth; to the world of knowledge, vigorous and expanding contributions in research, discovery, and application; and to the State and its people in every region, a variety of expert services. Mississippi State University is designated as a Doctoral/Extensive institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is representative of the American Land-Grant tradition and distinctive in its own character and spirit, born of its Mississippi heritage and the vision and loyal perseverance of those who have labored in its development. Mississippi State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Mississippi State University.
An able faculty, drawn from the best institutions in all parts of the nation, strive earnestly to demonstrate excellence in teaching, while producing in their specialized studies scholarly books, articles, and conference papers that gain respect for themselves, the University, and the state. Thus they ensure for their students instruction that is in immediate touch with current knowledge and thought. A body of energetic researchers, both faculty and other, assisted by an effective research administration, places Mississippi State among the first one hundred universities in the nation in research and development in the sciences and engineering. The University's service agencies are similarly distinguished, earning the respect and support of their varied constituencies throughout the state, as well as in other states and in foreign countries.
The University began as The Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi, one of the national Land-Grant Colleges established after Congress had passed the Morrill Act in 1862. It was created by the Mississippi Legislature on February 28, 1878, to fulfill the mission of offering training in "agriculture, horticulture and the mechanical arts . . . without excluding other scientific and classical studies, including military tactics." The College received its first students in the fall of 1880 in the presidency of Confederate General Stephen D. Lee. In 1887 Congress passed the Hatch Act, which provided for the establishment of the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1888. Two other pieces of federal legislation provided funds for extending the mission of the College: in 1914, the Smith-Lever Act called for "instruction in practical agriculture and home economics to persons not attendant or resident," thus creating the state-wide effort which led to Extension offices in every county in the State; and, in 1917, the Smith-Hughes Act provided for the training of teachers in vocational education.
By 1932, when the Legislature renamed the College as Mississippi State College, it consisted of the Agricultural Experiment Station (1887), the College of Engineering (1902), the College of Agriculture (1903), the School of Industrial Pedagogy (1909), the School of General Science (1911), the College of Business and Industry (1915), the Mississippi Agricultural Extension Service (1915), and the Division of Continuing Education, (1919). Further, in 1926 the College had received its first accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
By 1958, when the Legislature again renamed the College, as Mississippi State University, the Office of Graduate Studies had been organized (1936), doctoral degree programs had begun (1951), the School of Forest Resources had been established (1954), and the College of Arts and Sciences had been created (1956).
The College of Architecture admitted its first students in 1973. The College of Veterinary Medicine admitted its first class in 1977, and the School of Accountancy was established in 1979.
Purposes. As a Land-Grant institution, Mississippi State University is dedicated to the three broad purposes already mentioned-learning, research, and service: learning, on-campus and off-campus, to enhance the intellectual, cultural, social, and professional development of its students; research, both to extend the present limits of knowledge and to bring deeper insight, understanding, and usefulness to existing knowledge; and service, to apply knowledge and the fruits of research to the lives of people.
Fulfilling these purposes is the chief work of the large number of educational units that make up the total university, including, among others, the academic departments, schools, and colleges; Continuing Education; the Mississippi State University Extension Service, and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
The quality of the faculty, staff, and administrators ensures the high quality of the instruction, research, and service provided. The quality of the University's programs ensures that its students receive a well-designed and comprehensive education that will assist them to lead constructive lives and achieve their personal and professional goals.
The University Today
Mississippi State University now comprises the following academic units: the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences including the School of Human Sciences; the College of Architecture, Art and Design; the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Business including the Adkerson School of Accountancy; the College of Education; the Bagley College of Engineering including the Swalm School of Chemical Engineering; the College of Forest Resources; the Office of the Graduate School, and the College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, operating 16 branch stations throughout the State, conducts research in a variety of areas and assists in the University's teaching and service functions. Finally, the Mississippi State University Extension Service offers programs and services to the people of the State through campus and county offices and personnel. Supporting the academic and educational programs of the total University are the Mitchell Memorial Library and branch libraries.
Within the framework of the University, several units perform specialized teaching, research, or service activities. Among these are the Center for Distance Education, Shackouls Honors College, the Advanced Research Projects Laboratory, the Center for Safety and Health, the Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology, the Electron Microscope Center, the High Performance Computing Collaboratory, the Institute for Digital Biology, the Institute for Neurocognitive Science and Technology, the Franklin Furniture Institute, Forest and Wildlife Research Center, Sustainable Energy Research Center, the Mississippi State Chemical Lab, the Research and Curriculum Unit, the Center for Education and Training Technology, the GeoResources Institute, the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, the Social Science Research Center, the Carl Small Town Center, the Design Research and Informatics Lab, the Educational Design Institute, the Jackson Community Design Center (JCDC), the The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, the Biological and Physical Sciences Resources Institute, the Center for Computational Sciences, the Cobb Institute of Archaeology, the Institute for the Humanities, the The John C. Stennis Institute of Government, the Center for Educational Partnerships, the Early Childhood Institute, the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision, the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute, the T. K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability, the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, the Center for Computer Security Research, the Center for DoD Programming Environment and Training, the Computational Simulation and Design Center, the Institute for Clean Energy Technology, the High Voltage Laboratory, and the Raspet Flight Laboratory.
Mississippi State University operates an off-campus, degree-granting center in Meridian where both undergraduate and graduate programs are offered and a program center at the Stennis Space Center. In cooperation with the U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, the College of Engineering offers the Master of Science degree to qualified students in Vicksburg.
The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning has designated Mississippi State University as a comprehensive, doctoral degree-granting university. This designation, in concert with the University's original Land-Grant mission, make Mississippi State University a major contributor to the educational system of the State. For over a century, the State has benefited from the University and its graduates, most of whom have remained in Mississippi and aided the State's economic, social, and educational development. Through its membership in such organizations as the Southern Regional Education Board, the American Council on Education, and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, Mississippi State University is justly recognized for its educational and technological contributions to the national and international communities. The commitment of faculty, administrators, and staff personnel is to continue the high quality of teaching, research, and service to Mississippi.
Presidents of the College/University
General Stephen D. Lee (1880-1899)
John Marshall Stone (1899-1900)
John Crumpton Hardy (1900-1912)
George Robert Hightower (1912-1916)
William Hall Smith (1916-1920)
David Carlisle Hull* (1920-1925)
Buz M. Walker* (1925-1930)
Hugh Critz (1930-1934)
George Duke Humphrey (1934-1945)
Fred Tom Mitchell* (1945-1953)
Benjamin F. Hilbun* (1953-1960)
Dean W. Colvard (1960-1966)
William L. Giles (1966-1976)
James D. McComas (1976-1985)
Harvey S. Lewis*, Interim (Spring-Summer 1985)
Donald W. Zacharias (1985-1997)
Malcolm Portera* (1998-2001)
J. Charles Lee, President (2002-2006)
Robert H. Foglesong (2006-2008)
Vance H. Watson*, Interim (April 1, 2008-Oct. 20, 2008)
Roy H. Ruby*, Interim (Oct. 21-Dec. 31, 2008)
Mark E. Keenum* (Jan. 1, 2009 to present)
The Grounds, Buildings, and Facilities
The grounds of the University comprise about 4,200 acres, including farms, pastures, and woodlands of the Experiment Station. The net investment in buildings and grounds is approximately $450 million.
Agricultural research is accomplished on the MAFES Plant Science Farm comprising approximately 560 acres of land, 10 greenhouses, and 43 structures, and on the MAFES Animal Sciences Farm, which has 1,650 acres and 52 structures.