U.S., state officials attending MSU Keenum investiture

Contact: Maridith Geuder

Mark E. Keenum
Mark E. Keenum

STARKVILLE, Miss.--Next week's investiture of Mark E. Keenum as Mississippi State's 19th president will include members of Mississippi's congressional delegation and Gov. Haley Barbour, among other special guests.

Keenum, a university alumnus who became the land-grant institution's chief executive in January following a public service career in Washington, D.C., is to be installed formally Friday [Oct. 16]. "A New Chapter of Service" is the overall theme of the day's events.

The public ceremony, which also will be broadcast to overflow campus locations, begins at noon in the Bettersworth Auditorium of Lee Hall. It will be preceded by two other public programs: a 7:30 a.m. worship service in the Chapel of Memories and 9-11 a.m. reception in the Foster Ballroom of the Colvard Student Union.

The congressional delegation includes senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, and congressmen Gregg Harper and Travis Childers.

Gov. Barbour will lead a state delegation that also includes Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Attorney General Jim Hood, Auditor Stacey Pickering, Treasurer Tate Reeves, and Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Lester Spell.

College board officials, representatives of other Mississippi institutions of higher learning, and Starkville and Oktibbeha County representatives also will participate.

"At Dr. Keenum's request, we have scaled back investiture events in recognition of the economic realities our university and state face," said Amy Tuck, investiture committee chair. Events all will take place during a half-day period; there will be no formal dinner or related social activities, she added.

Because of smaller-than-normal venues compared to previous MSU investitures, overflow seating is being provided next door in the Colvard Student Union and on the western edge of campus at the Hunter Henry Center.

All events will be simultaneously broadcast throughout the morning by the University Television Center to monitors in the union, as well as via local cable channel 98 and webcast on www.msstate.edu. The events also will be broadcast to MSU-Meridian, where officials are hosting a reception and viewing of the televised ceremony.

During the investiture, Keenum will make a major announcement regarding the launch of new student scholarships and faculty support.

"Dr. Keenum has indicated that he wants the focus of the events to be on Mississippi State and on our core mission," explained Tuck, who also is serving as mistress of ceremonies. "Our students and faculty will be heavily involved in making the events a success, and they will be the centerpiece of his investiture announcement."

More detailed information on the day's events include:

--Morning worship service. The Revs. Chip Stevens of First Baptist Church and Larnzy Carpenter of First Baptist Longview Missionary Baptist Church will speak. The Treblemakers, a youth group from the Palmer Home for Children in Columbus, will perform, with additional music by MSU's Men of Maroon and White.

--Processional. Following the Colvard reception, a line of dignitaries, platform guests, faculty, and students will form at the Swalm Chemical Engineering Building and cross MSU's historic Drill Field toward Lee Hall. Among those in the group will be approximately 200 military veterans, as well as international students carrying the flags of more than 75 countries represented in the university's current enrollment.

--Investiture. Speakers will include the Rev. Dr. Neddie Winters, president of Mission Mississippi; MSU student, staff and faculty leaders; then Barbour, Cochran and Keenum. Music will be performed by the MSU Wind Ensemble, and Brass and Concert choirs.

Hank Bounds, state commissioner of higher education, and Scott Ross, president of the state Board of Trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning, will invest Keenum with the presidential medal of office.

Keenum holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics from MSU. He is married to the former Rhonda Newman of Booneville, an MSU marketing graduate who formerly worked at the White House during the George W. Bush administration. They are the parents of four children.


Public parking will be available at the Palmeiro Center and nearby Howell Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building, both adjacent to Humphrey Coliseum. Continuous campus shuttle service will be provided during all public venues.

An investiture information desk will be set up on the bottom floor of Colvard Student Union.

Attending members of the news media may check in on the union's second floor near the Foster Ballroom entrance.

For more information about Mississippi State University, see http://www.msstate.edu/.

Thu, 10/08/2009 - 05:00