MSU announces Noxubee Co. native as 2015 national alumnus

Contact: Addie Vaughn

Earnest W. "Earnie" Deavenport Jr.
Earnest W. "Earnie" Deavenport Jr.
Photo by: Russ Houston

STARKVILLE, Miss.--Earnest W. "Earnie" Deavenport Jr. of Kiawah Island, South Carolina, is Mississippi State University's national alumnus of the year.

A Macon native and chemical engineering graduate, he and other graduates of distinction will be recognized formally by the MSU Alumni Association during a Feb. 6 campus banquet.

In addition to his 1960 bachelor's degree, Deavenport received an honorary doctor of science degree from MSU in 2011. He also holds a master's from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Deavenport is a nationally recognized leader in the business and engineering fields. He concluded a successful career in 2001 with retirement as chairman and CEO of the Kingsport, Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical Co.

Also being honored during the 2015 banquet will be a top graduate from each of MSU's eight academic colleges. Like Deavenport, they feature careers marked by exceptional personal, professional and community achievements.

The new alumni-of-the-year group includes (by hometown):

FLORA--Debra J. West, College of Education. A 2007 doctoral graduate in community college leadership, she is deputy executive director for programs and accountability with the Mississippi Community College Board.

GREENWOOD--Fred E. Carl Jr., College of Architecture, Art, and Design. Carl attended MSU and was a 2009 selection for an honorary doctor of science degree. Carl founded Viking Range Corp., where he served as chairman and CEO. He also is the founder and chairman of C3 Design Inc.

HOUSTON, Texas--Mike M. McDaniel, James Worth Bagley College of Engineering. A 1979 mechanical engineering graduate, he is the owner of M3 Resources LLC, as well as Saber Power Systems.

JACKSON--James A. "Jim" Coggin, College of Business. A 1964 general business graduate, he retired in 2007 as president and chief administrative officer of Saks Inc.

MUSCLE SHOALS, Alabama--Elton R. Coley, College of Forest Resources. Leader of a forestry consulting business, he received a 1974 bachelor's degree in forestry and a 1975 master's in business administration.

RIDGELAND--Malcolm B. Lightsey Sr., College of Arts and Sciences. The retired president and CEO of SunTech Inc., he received bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics in 1961 and 1963, respectively.

TUNICA--Richard B. "Dick" Flowers Sr., College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A 1956 agriculture graduate, he owns Flowers Foundation Inc.

TUPELO--Dr. Stephen K. King and Dr. Glenn S. Thomas, College of Veterinary Medicine. King operates the Tupelo Small Animal Hospital P.A., while Thomas is co-owner of Tupelo Small Animal Hospital P.A. Both are 1988 doctor of veterinary medicine graduates.

In addition to individual college honorees, three others will be presented awards at the banquet for distinguished service to the alumni association during 2014.

They include Gary A. Blair of Brookhaven, a 1981 business administration graduate; Betty Grace Millard Terpstra of Washington, D.C., a 1976 social work graduate; and Stephanie M. Williford of Mobile, Alabama, who completed both a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's counselor education in 1972.

Rounding out the recognitions is the association's annual outstanding young alumnus or alumna award, which this year goes to Ashley Pallotta Williams of Huntsville, Alabama. She is a 2004 aerospace engineering graduate.

For more about the MSU Alumni Association, see .

Complete information on Mississippi's flagship research institution, visit

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 06:00