Friday, June 9, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Former Mississippi State communication professor Hank Flick dead at 73
Hank Flick, a former Mississippi State University Department of Communication professor known for his exuberant teaching style and his work as a public address announcer for Bulldog athletics, has died. Flick, 73, is survived by his son, Harrison. Funeral arrangements are incomplete, and details about Flick's death were unavailable at press time. John Forde, who leads the department and took classes from Flick in the 1980s, said he'll remember his former instructor and colleague as a devoted teacher, mentor and source of encouragement with a passion for life and education. "He was one of the best -- if not the best -- teachers I ever had," Forde said. Flick's 45-year career at MSU began in 1971.
Longtime Mississippi State professor, PA announcer Hank Flick dead at 73
Longtime Mississippi State University professor and former public address announcer Hank Flick has died at the age of 73. Flick -- a native of California -- taught thousands of students over his 45-year career at MSU and served as the public address announcer for MSU football and basketball games. College of Arts and Sciences Dean Rick Travis said Flick was a legendary teacher and had a deep impact on the countless students he taught over the years. "The generations of students who had Dr. Flick for a class will still have vivid memories of what they learned," Travis said. "The communication skills he taught are etched deeply into so many MSU alumni." The Hank Flick Outstanding Service Scholarship is awarded by the Department of Communications annually to communication majors that demonstrate a strong record of service to the community and MSU.
MSU's 'We Ring True' branding initiative wins Best of Show award from PRAM
Mississippi State University's Office of Public Affairs's "We Ring True" branding initiative won seven awards, including Best of Show, during the recent Public Relations Association of Mississippi's PRism Awards competition. Since its launch in 2015, MSU has seen enrollment steadily increase along with academic accolades, research and development partnerships, university fundraising, student diversity, workplace satisfaction, brand recognition, social media engagement and peer recognition. MSU's Office of Public Affairs received PRAM's Best of Show award for external communications by having the highest-scored entry in the 2017 competition. In addition, OPA won two PRism Awards for reputation and brand management and for community/corporate relations; an Award of Excellence for integrated social media programs; and two Certificates of Merit.
Apartment, commercial space under construction downtown
A tract of land at the corner of North Montgomery Street and University Drive will soon be the site a 57,509-square-foot mixed-use development that will offer commercial and residential space. Work is currently underway to clear the lot, which previously featured several older homes and an assisted living facility. Midtown Apartments will feature 33 apartment units on its second and third floors and 14, 889 square feet of commercial Development on the first. The development will include two buildings at 48,048 square feet and 9,501 square feet. The project is being developed by Jeffery Harless of the Tuscaloosa-based firm Midtown Development, LLC. The architect is LPK Architects of Meridian. The apartments will be geared toward both professionals and Mississippi State students.
Johnny Moore challenge hearing set for Tuesday
The Oktibbeha County Democratic Party will hear Johnny Moore's appeal of May's mayoral runoff 10 a.m. Tuesday at the City Hall courtroom, party executive Patti Drapala confirmed. Drapala said the Moore camp was served notice of the meeting Wednesday after his attorney, William Starks, filed a petition asking the Democratic Executive Committee to either count what Moore alleges are improperly excluded ballots or hold a third mayoral election if the true will of Starkville's electorate cannot be determined. Both sides examined ballot boxes following Starkville's May 18 election certification, and Moore filed his petition Friday. A legal challenge could also follow.
$50-million Flowood hotel, conference center plans announced
The City of Flowood and MCC Real Estate announced on Thursday plans to construct a Conference Center and Hotel adjacent to the city's golf course. The $50-million project will include a 200-room luxury hotel and a 54,000-square-foot conference center. The city will own the conference center, and MCC will operate and manage it concurrently with the hotel. The Mississippi Development Authority has approved the project for the Mississippi Tourism Sales Tax Program to incentivize the development. The Rankin County Board of Supervisors and Rankin First Economic Development have committed funding to ensure that the project becomes a reality. Site development is anticipated to begin within the next few months with construction of the hotel and conference center to start in early 2018.
Trump education budget raises concern for Sen. Thad Cochran
President Donald Trump's recommendation to eliminate federal funding for the Title II program geared toward increasing teacher quality and reducing class size is unlikely to receive support from Sen. Thad Cochran. "He has concerns with a number of cuts proposed for education programs, particularly those that benefit rural schools," a spokesperson from Cochran's office told The Clarion-Ledger Thursday. Funds for educator development are among those on the chopping block. Overall, the Trump Administration's Fiscal Year 2018 budget request proposes slashing spending for the U.S. Department of Education by $9.2 billion. More than $2 billion of that reduction would could from Title II funds, which is the third-largest expenditure toward K-12 education, according to Education Week.
James Comey testimony: Trump tweets 'Comey is a leaker!'
President Trump ended his Twitter silence early Friday, claiming ex-FBI Director James Comey vindicated him and accusing Comey of improperly leaking details of their discussions. "Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" Trump tweeted. Comey told a Senate committee Thursday that he believes Trump fired him over the Russia probe, and he accused the White House of lying about the details of the dismissal. He also admitted that he had leaked to the press memos describing his talks with Trump, saying he hoped the stories would spur the appointment of a special counsel to take over the investigation of the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia. The former FBI director also appeared to confirm Trump's statements that, on three occasions, Comey told the president he was not personally under investigation with regard to Russia.
Drug crisis now pushing up death rates for almost all groups of Americans
The opioid epidemic that has ravaged life expectancy among economically stressed white Americans is taking a rising toll among blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, driving up the overall rate of premature death among Americans in the prime of their lives. Since the beginning of this decade, death rates have risen among people between the ages of 25 and 44 in virtually every racial and ethnic group and almost all states, according to a Washington Post analysis. The death rate among African Americans is up 4 percent, Hispanics 7 percent, whites 12 percent and Native Americans 18 percent. The rate for Asian Americans also has increased, but at a level that is not statistically significant. After a century of decreases, the overall death rate for Americans in these prime years rose 8 percent between 2010 and 2015.
USM Students Selected for Pathway Scholarships to Pursue Summer Internships
This summer 13 undergraduates at the University of Southern Mississippi will receive financial support to pursue crucial pathway experiences that might have otherwise been difficult to pursue due to travel costs and other financial demands. The Pathway Scholarship Program is part of the University's Quality Enhancement Plan, Eagles Engaged, which seeks to strengthen student learning and career readiness through participation in pathway experiences, such as internships, research, or fieldwork. Award amounts vary based on need and costs associated with the experience with an average amount of $3000. The inaugural year of the program includes summer internships with companies and organizations stretching from Dallas to Washington, D.C. to New York City and majors as diverse as criminal justice, accounting, and kinesiology.
New Itawamba Community College president visits campuses
Dr. Jay Allen, Itawamba Community College's incoming president, met with employees at all three campuses. "It's truly an honor to serve an institution that has had tremendous leadership throughout the years," said Allen. Allen comes to ICC from Hopkinsville Community College in Kentucky, where he serves as CEO and president. "I look forward to being involved with our economic development leaders in our community and really getting a chance to continue what we've been doing as an institution and look for those new opportunities," said Allen. "That's one of the things that I've had some success with and some luck with is finding that next niche that we can reach into and help our economic partners, our manufacturers, our business, and industry and help them achieve their goals."
Money influx means U. of Florida to hire 500 new faculty
A flood of money has the University of Florida ahead of its fundraising goals and 500 new faculty members will be hired to reduce the student-faculty ratio to levels comparable with top schools in the county, UF officials said Thursday at a Board of Trustees meeting. President Kent Fuchs said the expanded faculty will help boost UF in the national rankings. Meanwhile Trustee Anita Zucker, herself a prominent UF donor, said a campaign to raise $3 billion is ahead of schedule. The campaign will be announced in October, though UF officials say they hope to have raised $1.2 billion by June 30. Zucker added that other fundraising efforts for endowed chairs and additional needs are also going strong. Included is an estate commitment of $50 million from an anonymous donor.
More work needed to address diversity at U. of Tennessee, report states
There is little diversity among University of Tennessee administrators, recruitment is a challenge and many female faculty and staff do not feel respected across the university system's six campuses, according to a report Thursday from UT President Joe DiPietro's special adviser on diversity and inclusion. Noma Anderson said she gathered those observations from visiting with faculty, staff, students and administrators at each campus over the last year. There are also few minorities in the administrative pipeline, faculty and staff need education about mentoring, and African American males are at risk for not completing degrees on UT's campuses, she said during a presentation of her findings to the UT board of trustees University Life Committee Thursday.
Texas A&M receives award during annual cybersecurity summit
Texas A&M University is quickly establishing itself as one of the country's leading academic centers for cybersecurity as the subject continues to permeate a broader scope both nationally and internationally. The National Security Agency, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, officially named the university as a National Center of Academic Excellence in cyber operations during the ninth annual National Cyber Summit in Huntsville, Alabama, this week. Daniel Ragsdale, director of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station's Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center, said the distinction makes A&M one of only eight schools in the country -- and the only public Tier One research university -- to receive all three of the NSA's five-year distinctions in the area of cybersecurity. The university was awarded designations as a National Center for Academic Excellence in education and research at the 2016 summit.
Competition increases to house U. of Missouri freshmen
The competition for students to fill beds is growing to include first-time freshmen as University of Missouri plans to crack down on students living off campus and the 10-story apartment house the Rise offers to pay off dorm contracts. The budget plan approved last Friday by President Mun Choi included a proposal for the Division of Student Affairs to generate $750,000 by "by more strictly enforcing the housing policy" that requires first-time college students to live in a campus residence hall. On the Mizzou Class of 2021 unofficial Facebook page, the Rise is aiming for the same audience. "A big thing a lot of people don't know is that WE WILL PAY TO BREAK YOUR DORM CONTRACT. That's right... living in the dorms is not a requirement," the post states.
Graduate tuition waivers under review as U. of Missouri examines budget
The severity of the sting of substantial budget cuts at the University of Missouri became more clear Thursday when the campus released a detailed report of the cuts that were made. The 40-page document, which also listed programs and efforts that were safeguarded as MU wrestled with an across-the-board budget cut of 12 percent, lists the details school by school and department by department. While some of the schools and departments were quite precise in their descriptions of cuts or consolidations that were made, others used more of a broad-brush approach. Christian Basi of the MU News Bureau confirmed that MU would keep its promise made last spring to increase stipends offered to graduate students. The budget information released Thursday revealed few specifics, but it did say in which programs graduate students would be most affected.
Liberty University president won't be leading task force on higher ed regulation after all
In the months since Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said in January that he would be leading a presidential task force on higher education, the announcement went unacknowledged by the White House and the Department of Education, and few details have been forthcoming. Now it appears that a Falwell-led task force won't be materializing at all. Politico reported Thursday that multiple sources said there is no task force and no plan to launch one. Falwell, one of President Trump's earliest supporters, had promised that the task force would deal with federal regulation of colleges and universities as well as accreditors. He said he announced the enterprise after getting the green light from Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist. Many higher education leaders, including some who are critical of the Trump administration and not particularly close to Falwell, have praised the idea of simplifying or eliminating some regulations of the sector.
Does State Support Have 'Weak' Connection to Tuition? Association Begs to Differ
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities is arguing against the implications of a new report from the American Enterprise Institute about the relationship between state funding for higher education and rising tuition at public colleges and universities. The report, "Pennies on the Dollar: The Surprisingly Weak Relationship Between State Subsidies and College Tuition," says state disinvestment in higher education has played a small role in the increasing cost of tuition. In a written statement, the association took issue with the report's implications. "This approach has proven to be a disaster for students and families," the statement says, "because it establishes a formidable upfront price barrier to college access, coupled with unreliable promises of financial aid."
NIH Abandons Plan to Limit Per-Person Grant Awards
The agency says it is shifting to a new strategy but not from its goal of helping younger scientists compete for NIH support.Facing protests from senior scientists, including members of its own advisory board, the National Institutes of Health on Thursday abandoned a plan to help younger researchers by imposing a general three-grant limit. Instead, the NIH is moving forward with a more complicated formula in which scientists who win a first grant under a program designed to aid first-time applicants will get priority for their second grant. "We are shifting the approach quite substantially," the NIH's director, Francis S. Collins, told a gathering of his advisory panel, a collection of about 15 senior academic researchers that largely opposed his first plan.
Out of control: Report details major issues at U. of Louisville Foundation
A new report on operations at the University of Louisville Foundation describes in devastating detail a series of excessive spending practices, unbudgeted expenses, unapproved actions, high executive compensation and unrecorded endowment losses. The foundation's Board of Directors in many cases did not approve foundation activities or were not aware of them, according to the 135-page report, which was produced by an independent investigating firm and released Thursday. Foundation officers often did not provide board members with enough information to allow them to make informed decisions, it said. The foundation mixed its pots of cash, leaving it unable to identify funding sources for particular transactions and scrambling its endowment valuation. Foundation employees in some cases sought to hide their actions from the media.
Ties galore to a school I never attended...
Hembree Brandon writes for Delta Farm Press: "It is one of those quixotic twists of fate, I'm thinking to myself, that I'm standing in a long line of students, parents, and other family members in the Mississippi State University student union, to obtain an MSU tee shirt that proclaims in billboard-size lettering, 'Hail State!' Neither my wife nor I attended the university that was, in the dark ages of my post-high school years, still derisively referred to by many as 'Cow College.' Yet for 40 years or so we have found ourselves inextricably linked to the school. the invitation of our oldest granddaughter, I'm joining her and her mother for orientation as she officially becomes an MSU student (an all-too-brief time ago, it seems, she was a baby in my arms)."

Mississippi State taking slim odds against LSU personal
Less than an hour after Mississippi State beat Southern Miss late Monday night to advance to a super regional, Konnor Pilkington tweeted, "6.8% chance??? We just used all 6.8% to win this regional!!!!!!! Next stop... Baton Rouge." The Bulldogs' ace's tweet was in reference to the BPI percentage MSU had of winning the Hattiesburg regional after dropping its opener. By Tuesday morning, Andy Cannizaro had a new screenshot saved on his phone. That photo had updated odds. Yale Sport Analytics released its table of the 16 super regional teams' chances of reaching the College World Series. The Bulldogs had the second-worst odds at 17 percent, ahead of only Davidson (7 percent). "Everybody took that to heart," Pilkington said, "and everybody took that personally."
Bulldogs continue to show Andy Cannizaro's fighting style
Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro's team has fought all season. The first-year head coach has nurtured that mentality by supplying symbols of that mind-set -- a pair of boxing gloves that are signed by the player who best displays that grit -- to inspire that fight. The latest episode of MSU punching above its weight class featured a journey through the NCAA tournament's Hattiesburg Regional with a pitching staff similar in roster size to that of the average Little League team. Cannizaro made that comparison when he likened it to his youth baseball days, when players would shuffle around the field and someone would take the mound. Some would call winning the Hattiesburg Regional, including two victories against No. 1 seed and No. 14 Southern Mississippi on Monday, even with MSU's talent level, a stroke of luck. Cannizaro calls it character. Things will get tougher.
Mississippi State's Brent Rooker a finalist for Dick Howser Trophy
Mississippi State's Brent Rooker is up for another national player of the year award. The junior first baseman was selected as a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, which is presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association and also takes into account a player's performance, character, leadership and courage. The first team All-American and Ferriss Trophy winner was already been named Co-National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and is a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award. Rooker is the first Bulldog to be a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy since its inception in 1987. Chris Stratton (2012), Hunter Renfroe (2013) and Dakota Hudson (2016) were all semifinalists.
Confidence key to Elijah MacNamee's production for Bulldogs
Talent never was the question for Elijah MacNamee. The only unknown was when he would realize his potential. MacNamee finally found that confidence in April after talking to Mississippi State baseball coach Andy Cannizaro. "(He told) me to relax, have fun, and do what I do," MacNamee said. "I'm here for a reason. Once I found a rhythm and relaxed at the plate, I started seeing pitches better." The conversation has worked wonders for MacNamee, who split time in the outfield well into the Southeastern Conference schedule. Now he's an important, every-day fixture in left field as No. 20 MSU (40-25) continues preparations for its showdown against No. 4 LSU (46-17) in the NCAA tournament's Baton Rouge Super Regional. Game 1 of the best-of-three series will be at 8 p.m.. Saturday (ESPN2) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
LSU preparing once again for Mississippi State slugger Brent Rooker
When LSU took on Mississippi State in the final weekend of the regular season, the Tigers had to face a player who would be named the SEC Player of the Year just days later in Bulldogs first baseman Brent Rooker. Rooker hit .538 against LSU but the Tigers limited the damage he could do at the plate allowing only one extra base hit and no home runs. How? The Tigers didn't have to pitch to Rooker with multiple men on base that often. Of his 15 plate appearances, nine of those came with no men on base and only one of those was when Rooker led off an inning. In those at-bats, Rooker was 4-for-8 with a walk and a strikeout. Rooker had three apperances with one man on base -- he went 1-for-2 with a walk -- and three with two men on base -- when he went 2-for-2 with his two RBI and a strikeout.
Tiger Baseball 101: All you need to know about the super regional vs. Mississippi State
This is the time that fans, players -- even sportswriters -- say, "Let's get on with it." The LSU and Mississippi State teams, coaches and individual have been analyzed from numerous angles leading up to super regional starting at 8 p.m. Saturday at Alex Box Stadium. Here's everything you need to know to be the most informed fan in the bleachers, bar or your favorite easy chair.
Positive attitude key for Andy Cannizaro's success
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "I doubt I'm in the minority in not being too familiar with the name Andy Cannizaro before he was hired as Mississippi State's head baseball coach in early November. Truth be told, I'd actually seen him play a few times in spring training with the Yankees down in Tampa but didn't know much about the man until our paths crossed again a few months ago. As I sat in Cannizaro's introductory press conference, I was genuinely impressed with what he had to say about his plans for the future of the program and how upbeat he seemed to be. Yet I honestly wasn't expecting much in Year 1, with Cannizaro only getting a few fall practices in with his new team in addition to inheriting a squad that had lost 11 players to professional baseball. ...Yet somehow and someway, MSU persevered and nearly won the league for a second straight year. It did win a regional and are is playing in a super regional this weekend with a shot for a return to the College World Series."
Greg McElroy picks Nick Fitzgerald over Jalen Hurts to lead a program
Greg McElroy was asked this week if he were starting a football team and could take one current SEC quarterback to lead it, who would it be? The SEC Network analyst and former Alabama quarterback didn't hesitate. "I'm taking Nick Fitzgerald at Mississippi State," McElroy told Cole Cubelic on the Cube Show on WUMP-AM in Huntsville. "If I can have anybody, because right now in this day and age, it's just easier to craft an offense around a guy that can run and throw it. Nick Fitzgerald can do that." McElroy was quick to point there are others in the discussion. "Obviously, (Alabama quarterback) Jalen Hurts would be in the discussion," he explained. At the end of the day, though, the play of Fitzgerald is what McElroy looks to, though, he seems room for improvement.
Dak Prescott has mastered art of leadership, looking for doctorate
One day he hopes to be called Dr. Dak Prescott. Prescott is like thousands of college graduates, using his degree to propel him to success in a chosen field. He is just doing it in a different way. His job is as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, but what he is putting to use are tools he learned in the classrooms at Mississippi State. In a recent interview with the Talk of Fame Network, Prescott said he would like to earn his Ph.D. in psychology. He earned his bachelor's in educational psychology, and in his final year in college earned a master's in workforce leadership. There's a reason Prescott's command and presence have been lauded so much in his early stages as the Cowboys' quarterback. He studied the art of leadership.
eSports quickly expanding in colleges
What was perhaps a wild pipe dream decades ago, merely a Dorito-fueled teenage daydream, has come true: colleges are paying students scholarships to play video games. But hold your gasps of indignation. The concept of collegiate esports has blossomed and become much more organized in recent years. Some smaller private institutions view gaming as a way to attract prospective students amid enrollment downturns, and even a number of Division I colleges and universities have entered this digital arena. "I'm typically talking to parents," said Michael Brooks, the founder of the National Association of Collegiate eSports. "The parents -- they're doing their jobs, looking out for interests of their son or daughter, but the most common question I receive is 'Is this real thing?' And that's totally fair -- it's brand-new."
Rugby Club Pokes a Hole in the N.C.A.A. Bubble
There are only a few dozen international students at the medium-size university nestled here in the Berks County hills, where the clacking hooves of horse-drawn Mennonite buggies can be a more familiar sound than a car horn on the local streets. But on weeknights at 11, the turf field at the center of campus transforms into something like a model United Nations. There, Kutztown students from England, Scotland, South Africa, Australia and Jamaica, along with American players from 22 states, gather to take part in a common affinity: rugby. Despite the odd practice times, there is nothing ragtag about the Kutztown University rugby team. It crisscrosses the country every year for tournaments, and often wins them. "This is a varsity program," said Paul Presinzano, the director of Rugby United, the program's fund-raising arm. Except, technically, it is not.

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