STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State will recognize a 1950 general business graduate from Magee as its national alumnus of the year during Friday [Feb. 1] campus ceremonies.
George T. "Tommy" Everett III earned the distinction for his more than 60 years of service as a local and national level volunteer, according to university officials.
In addition to honoring Everett and others, the Mississippi State Alumni Association will formally welcome two new chapters. With the addition of the Greater Orlando, Fla., and the Greater St. Louis, Mo., chapters, the organization will have a total of 95 local groups working worldwide on behalf of the 135-year-old land-grant institution.
"This is such a well-deserved honor for Tommy. His love for MSU is unquestioned and he has dedicated much of his life to serving his university. We are so proud to recognize Tommy as our National Alumnus of the Year," said Jimmy Abraham, associate vice president for development and alumni and executive director of the MSU Alumni Association.
Everett enrolled at then-Mississippi State College following U.S. Navy service in World War II. Upon graduation, he returned home to join his father in the family business, Magee Auto Supply.
Everett's work with his alma mater began shortly after graduation with encouragement from friend and fellow Bulldog, D.W. Skelton, who was retiring from his service with the association. Skelton suggested Everett run for the office of Southern District committeeman.
Everett's election began a continuing volunteer career with the association. He has held a number of offices at various levels, including more than 20 years as treasurer for the national board of directors and service in 1973 as national alumni president.
Everett said he has many fond memories of his volunteer service including the presentation to Gov. Bill Waller of a live bulldog and honoring Jack Cristil for his long years of service as an MSU sports broadcaster.
"I've had a lot of wonderful things happen in my lifetime, but being selected as national alumnus of the year is one of the best," he said recently. "During my involvement at State, I've met so many dedicated people who have done more than I.
"To be included with these great alumni before me and after me is very humbling," he added.
The family ties, however, are closest to his heart, he said.
Everett and his late wife, Willie Grace Horn, are the parents of two children who have carried on the MSU tradition. Susan Everett Yates graduated in 1979; John Thomas Everett, in 1984. The family tradition continues with Everett's grandsons: Spencer Yates is a 2011 alumnus, while Houston Everett currently is a member of the junior class.
In addition to the national alumni recognition, each of the university's eight colleges and the Meridian campus recognizes an alumnus for outstanding personal, professional and community achievements. The new college alumni-of-the-year group includes (by academic unit):
AGRICULTURE AND LIFE SCIENCES--Kerrville, Texas, resident, Donald R. Ford, a 1960 general agriculture graduate.
ARCHITECTURE, ART AND DESIGN--William L. "Bill" Polk III, of Atlanta, Ga., a 1984 architecture graduate.
ARTS AND SCIENCES--John D. "Jack" Sistrunk Jr. of Madison, a 1949 petroleum geology graduate.
BAGLEY COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING--Houston, Texas, resident, Thomas B. "Tommy" Nusz, a 1982 petroleum engineering graduate.
BUSINESS--Paul B. Murphy Jr., also of Houston, Texas, and a 1981 banking and finance graduate.
EDUCATION--Joe A. Haynes of Jackson, a 1983 doctoral graduate in educational leadership.
FOREST RESOURCES--Charles David Barge of Macon, a 1976 forestry graduate who went on to receive a master's degree in forestry business in 1977.
MSU-MERIDIAN--Kim S. Benton of Hickory, a 1982 elementary education graduate who went on to receive a master's degree in 1986 and a doctorate in 1991.
VETERINARY MEDICINE--Dr. Rodney A. Christmas of St. Joseph, Mo., a 1993 doctor of veterinary medicine graduate.
The association also is recognizing several volunteers for service during 2012. This category of honors includes:
OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNUS--Edward A. Sanders of the Washington, D.C., Alumni Chapter. He is a 2006 political science graduate.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD--Michael W. "Mike" Criswell of Atlanta, Ga., a 1980 business graduate; Robert R. "Rob" Hamlin of Helena, Ala., a 1992 graduate with a bachelor's in social studies education and a 2005 master's in history; and Brenda L. Smith of Leakesville, a 1978 elementary education graduate.
The 2013 annual alumni awards banquet will be simulcast live via the Internet, beginning at 6 p.m. on Feb. 1. For a broadcast link and more on the MSU Alumni Association, visit www.alumni.msstate.edu.