Wednesday, September 13, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State ranked best in state, among top 50 southern colleges in 'Money'
Mississippi State University is ranked the best in Mississippi and is among the top 50 best colleges in the south in Money Magazine's "Best Colleges for Your Money" 2017 rankings. MSU came in at No. 48 and was listed as the best college in Mississippi in Money's ranking of the best colleges in every state. The rankings combine 27 data points that measure educational quality, affordability and alumni success for 2,400 colleges. MSU placed in the top half of Money's national "Best Colleges" overall rankings.
Eric Moyen tapped for educational leadership at Mississippi State
The Mississippi State University Department of Educational Leadership recently welcomed a new face to lead the department. Eric Moyen started at MSU in July, coming from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, where he had served in several capacities over 13 years, most recently as assistant vice president for academic affairs. "I'm very interested as head of educational leadership to not only prepare educational leaders, but to find ways that MSU can aid the Mississippi Department of Education and state government on developing successful education policy," Moyen said. Moyen said he hoped to expand the department's impact on pre-K through 12 leadership and expand its community college leadership program. He also said the department has instituted a new doctoral program in higher education leadership.
Fulbright taps MSU's David Shaw for U.S.-France International Ed Administrators Program
David Shaw, Mississippi State University's chief research officer, has been selected by the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program for its prestigious U.S.-France International Education Administrators Program. In October, Shaw will spend two weeks in France learning about that country's higher education and research system. He and 11 other senior administrators from U.S. colleges and universities will participate in briefings, campus visits and meetings with government officials. They also will engage with French international education professions, explore the larger culture and have networking opportunities with their peers. At MSU, Shaw holds the faculty rank of Giles Distinguished Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences. Beginning his career at MSU in 1985 as an assistant professor, he has assisted in the creation and leadership of several cross-disciplinary research centers that focus on the applications of remote sensing technology to resource management.
Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula awarded $12.8M Navy contract to modernize ships
Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula is being awarded a one-year, $12.8 million contract to procure long lead-time material and provide management services for Navy cruisers and destroyers. The work will be done at the Pascagoula shipyard and is expected to be complete by September 2018. The cost-plus-award-fee contract modification is to a previously awarded contract. Ingalls provides engineering, technical, planning, ship configuration, data and logistics for CG-47-class cruisers and DD 963-class destroyers and lifetime support of maintenance and modernization for the ships.
Legislative budget hearings scheduled as revenue picks up
Legislative budget hearings, the first step in setting a roughly $6-billion state budget for fiscal 2019, have been scheduled for Sept. 21 and 22. Directors of major state agencies will come before the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and make their pitches for funding for the next fiscal year that begins July 1, 2018. The hearings, which years ago would run for a week or more, have been greatly scaled back. The schedule for this year includes only a day and a half, with the Sept. 22 hearings scheduled to run only from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Most agencies will only submit their spending requests to the Legislative Budget Office and not make a formal presentation to the joint panel of House and Senate leaders. Many of their requests have already been filed. After the September hearings, budget leaders will adopt a revenue estimate for the coming year on Nov. 1.
Senator questions need for end of agency's monthly revenue report
What is being called an effort to simplify monthly state revenue reports is viewed by at least one state senator as an effort by the legislative leadership to control the flow of information to the public. Tony Greer, executive director of the Legislative Budget Office that provides staff support for the Legislative Budget Committee, said the goal is for his staff to provide the only monthly revenue report that would be in a simpler format and would provide more information. But Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, said he does not understand why the Department of Revenue should not continue to make available the tax information, which it is responsible for collecting and compiling. But Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said there is no malicious intent.
Runoff needed in House race that could shift Republican supermajority
Two candidates are headed to a runoff in a special election that could solidify or spoil the Republican supermajority in the House. Candidates Missy McGee and Kathryn Rehner received the most votes of four candidates Tuesday for the House seat left vacant by now Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. But because neither candidate garnered 50 percent of the vote, the two will square off in a runoff election on October 3. McGee earned 1,389 votes, or about 44 percent, while Rehner received 779 votes, or about 25 percent. Casey Mercier (690 votes) and Cory Ferraez (308 votes) did not earn enough votes to make the runoff. Candidates do not officially affiliate with any party in special legislative elections in compliance with state code, but voting records show how the candidates may vote in the Legislature.
Supreme Court lifts restrictions on Trump travel ban
The Supreme Court agreed late Tuesday to lift restrictions on President Trump's travel ban until further notice, allowing the administration to continue barring most refugees under the ban. The court granted the government's request to block a federal appeals court ruling that said the administration cannot ban refugees who have formal assurances from resettlement agencies or are in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a temporary stay on Monday pending a response from the state of Hawaii, which was due by noon on Tuesday. Late in the day, the court issued a one-page order blocking the decision indefinitely. It takes a vote of five justices to grant a stay application.
Middle-class incomes rise, but Census report shows worrying disparities
The incomes of middle-class Americans rose last year to the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau, as poverty declined and the scars of the past decade's Great Recession seemed to finally fade. Median household income rose to $59,039 in 2016, a 3.2 percent increase from the previous year and the second consecutive year of healthy gains, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. The nation's poverty rate fell to 12.7 percent, returning nearly to what it was in 2007 before a financial crisis and deep recession walloped workers in ways that were still felt years later. Yet the census report also points to the sources of deeper anxieties among American workers and underscores threats to continued economic progress.
How the Mississippi Encyclopedia was made focus of MUW forum
The Mississippi Encyclopedia is the literary equivalent of the Great Pyramids -- 1,400 entries written by 650 contributors, researched by 100 more. It runs 1,500 pages, weighs nine pounds and was 14 years in the making. From the first entry -- Abdul-Rauf, Mahmoud -- to the last -- Ziglar, Zig -- the state's first comprehensive encyclopedia tells the sweeping story of Mississippi. Although published this year to coincide with the bi-centennial of Mississippi statehood, it chronicles the state's history back to the time of the dinosaurs. Monday evening, Ted Ownby, professor of history and southern studies at the University of Mississippi and one of the book's co-editors, joined three Mississippi University for Women faculty members -- Bridget Smith Pieschel, Amy Pardo and Melissa Smith, all of whom wrote entries for the encyclopedia -- at MUW's Fant Memorial Library for a one-hour presentation on the book followed by a question-and-answer session.
As Ayers settlement winds down, anxiety escalates at universities
As funding from the landmark Ayers case settlement diminishes and state funding declines, Mississippi's three predominantly black public universities face a fiscal crisis. On Tuesday, state Sen. John Horhn, D-Hinds, other legislators, representatives from the Institutions of Higher Learning and school officials discussed the dilemma facing Jackson State University, Alcorn State University and Mississippi Valley State University and agreed to push for additional appropriations for the schools during the 2018 legislative session. Horhn proposed a bill that would give the schools $8.5 million for the next four fiscal years.
U. of Mississippi Medical Center receives record number of grants & awards in FY2017
The University of Mississippi Medical Center received 316 extramural grants and awards in fiscal year 2017, the most in the institution's history for a single year. The dollar amount for this record year -- $65,454,262 -- is the fourth highest in Medical Center history. "Research funding is important as we move forward," said Dr. Richard Summers, associate vice chancellor for research. "Research techniques are becoming more complicated and expensive. At UMMC, we have been able to accomplish a lot with a little, but it will become harder to do that with time." Summers said two of the three years with higher funding totals, 2011 and 2012, occurred during a government stimulus period. 2014, which holds the record with more than $82 million, included funds for the new School of Medicine building.
U. of Southern Mississippi police monitor state flag protests
University of Southern Mississippi police officers have been monitoring a weekly protest near campus over the state flag ever since there was violence involving white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month. The protest takes place every Sunday and includes about 40 people from two groups -- one that supports the Mississippi state flag and another that is against it. "Out of an abundance of security and caution, we developed a plan to allow these groups to protest in a safe and secure environment," said Rusty Keyes, the university's assistant police chief. "Each group is assigned an equal-sized space to protest separately from the other, but in view of each other, and they do that from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Sunday." Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett ordered the Mississippi state flag taken down on all Southern Miss campuses on Oct. 28, 2015. The flag, which features a Confederate battle emblem in the upper-left corner, is seen as racist by some.
Madison demands Tulane University fork over $10M for shuttering campus
The city of Madison is demanding Tulane University reimburse the city $10 million for recently shuttering its satellite campus. Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler said the city didn't receive proper notice of the college's closing and deserves compensation based on "the extensive investment of time, money and reputation" the city put into the university. Butler authorized City Attorney John Hedglin during an August meeting to send a letter of demand to Tulane University President Michael A. Fitts. A letter of demand is often the final reminder letter before taking legal action. In the letter, Hedglin says the city entered into "good faith" negotiations with Tulane and spent "substantial financial resources" with the assurance the campus would continue to operate and expand.
Former AG John Ashcroft speaks at William Carey scholarship dinner
Former U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft spoke before a crowd of donors and several honored guests, mostly first responders, at William Carey University's 7th scholarship dinner. Ashcroft served as the 79th AG under the George W. Bush administration and later formed The Ashcroft Group. "There's a special character of education in William Carey University," Ashcroft said. "It's a place where there isn't any part of the truth that is off-limits. So many of the public institutions have to ignore the spiritual side of individuals and the kind of need for a strong moral tone and virtue in our culture. I think as we look at the world we know the education of morals and virtue is needed now more than ever." An endowed scholarship has been established in Ashcroft's name at the university.
Auburn University grad, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces iPhone X
Apple has made a luxury iPhone that punctuates its technological swagger with a high-priced exclamation point. And that exclamation point appears to be a sign of things to come. The long-anticipated iPhone X unveiled Tuesday will sell for $999, double what the original iPhone cost a decade ago and more than any other competing device on the market. That's very much in line with Apple's long-term positioning of itself as a purveyor of pricey aspirational gadgets. But it's also a clear sign that Apple is ramping up that strategy by continuing to push its prices higher, even though improvements it's bringing to its products are often incremental or derivative. Apple CEO Tim Cook left little doubt in the company's confidence in the iPhone X (pronounced "ten"), whose name references the decade that's passed since company co-founder Steve Jobs first pulled out an iPhone that sold for $499.
U. of Florida makes long-sought top 10 public universities list
The University of Florida officially cracked the top 10 national public universities list Tuesday. The university shares the ninth spot with two University of California branches: Irvine and San Diego, according to U.S. News and World Report. On the overall list, UF tied at No. 42 with Irvine and San Diego, again, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Both rankings show improvement from last year when the university tied for No. 14 with Pennsylvania State University in the public list and tied for No. 50 with three other universities in the public-and-private list. Among the universities that fell from last year's top 10 ranking: University of California at Davis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. UF President Kent Fuchs said reaching the No. 10 spot in the U.S. News and World Report has been a goal for the university for more than 10 years. The university tracks 14 different rankings, and the report has always scored UF the lowest.
Governor calls on Kentucky universities to end programs that don't produce wage-earners
Gov. Matt Bevin bluntly suggested Tuesday that some academic programs on Kentucky's college campuses have outlived their necessity in times of tight state budgets. With a pointed jab at the job prospects of interpretive dancers, the Republican governor challenged public university boards and presidents to consider eliminating some courses that don't produce graduates filling high-wage, high-demand jobs. His message comes as the state tries to fix its failing public pension systems, and economists estimate Kentucky faces a $200 million shortfall when the fiscal year ends in mid-2018. "If you're studying interpretive dance, God bless you, but there's not a lot of jobs right now in America looking for people with that as a skill set," he said Tuesday. Bevin has made workforce development a priority of his tenure as governor.
National Science Foundation selects Texas A&M to lead new engineering research center
The National Science Foundation announced Tuesday that Texas A&M University will serve as lead on a new engineering research center backed by a grant worth more than $35 million. The center, which will be based out of College Station, will be based on the Precise Advanced Technologies and Health Systems for Underserved Populations program and will be led by Texas A&M professor Gerard Cote. In a statement announcing the award, Texas A&M President Michael K. Young said the university's selection by the National Science Foundation for the grant "is a strong affirmation of our commitment to purpose-driven research to tackle the most pressing issues of our time and developing affordable access to life saving technologies is among the most important."
U. of Missouri climate survey reveals dissatisfaction
When the University of Missouri conducted a climate survey in the fall of 2016, three out of every five faculty members responding and two out of every five students said they had seriously considered leaving MU within the past year. For faculty, the reasons were low pay, lack of institutional support and the possibility of another job. For the students, a "lack of a sense of belonging" and a "climate not welcoming" were the top reasons they thought about leaving. Those figures are among the most striking data to come out of the university climate survey conducted by Rankin & Associates Consulting, which examined the attitudes and experiences of students, faculty and staff on all four UM campuses and at for the system. The data will be used to create a campus where every individual is valued, appreciated and encouraged, MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said Tuesday during a town hall meeting to release the results.
The 2017 Survey of Admissions Directors: Pressure All Around
Only 34 percent of colleges met new student enrollment targets this year by May 1, the traditional date by which most institutions hope to have a class set. That is a key finding of the 2017 Survey of College and University Admissions Directors, released today by Inside Higher Ed, in collaboration with Gallup. The 34 percent figure is down from 37 percent a year ago and 42 percent two years ago. For colleges, public and private, failing to hit that target can be anything from an annoyance to an existential crisis. All but a few elite private colleges are dependent on tuition, and most public colleges are as well (both through tuition and state funds that tend to be distributed based on enrollment.) The only sector where a majority of colleges and universities reported meeting their goals was public doctoral institutions, of which 59 percent said that they had met their target by May 1. But if public research universities are doing well, other parts of public higher education are not.

IMG College Licensing Selected to Exclusively Represent Mississippi State University
IMG College Licensing on Tuesday announced it has been selected to serve as the exclusive trademark licensing representative for Mississippi State University effective January 1, 2018. Through this partnership, Mississippi State will gain access to IMG College Licensing's industry-leading expertise, services, and resources. "Mississippi State is a successful brand with a passionate fan base, and we are proud to have been selected to serve as the University's partner to help grow its licensing program," said Cory Moss, SVP and Managing Director, IMG College Licensing. "IMG College Licensing's advanced strategies and resources, as well as their commitment to serving Mississippi State and our fans, will help us excel in taking our trademark licensing program to the next level," said Sharon Hewlett, Mississippi State's Senior Legal Administrator and Director of Licensing. "We look forward to leveraging their systems, staff, and brand development programs to expand the market for our licensed merchandise to reach our Bulldog fans."
Staying home the right choice for Starkville's Willie Gay
As a hometown kid, Willie Gay Jr. attended his fair share of Mississippi State games growing up. The Starkville product was able to realize his dream on Sept. 2 when he ran out onto Davis Wade Stadium to play his first college football game for the Bulldogs. "I remember back when I used to sit up in the nosebleed seats as a little boy and think about this moment," Gay said. "Now that it's finally here, it feels unreal." Gay was one of MSU's big gets in the 2017 class signing as a four-star prospect and a U.S. Army All-American. Coach Dan Mullen stated on national signing day that the nation's No. 3 outside linebacker recruit would have the opportunity to work his way into the rotation right away. That's the approach the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder took when he enrolled in June, although he admits being intimidated by the playbook early on.
Willie Gay was once headed to LSU, and Todd Grantham helped change that
Within an hour after arriving at Golden Triangle Regional Airport on a plane from Louisville, Kentucky, Todd Grantham conducted one of his most important initial meetings as Mississippi State's defensive coordinator. As the time frame of this January meeting suggests, this get-together between Grantham, Willie Gay Jr. and Gay's mother, Bridgett, couldn't wait. Not only was Gay one of the top linebacker prospects in the country at the time, he was also a Starkville High player; Mississippi State, a year after losing A.J. Brown to Ole Miss, needed to sign him. Grantham had been in similar situations before, accepting a defensive coordinator job at a school before signing day and needing to immediately help hang on to commitments. This was a little different.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron returns to site of 4th-down decision that cost him job at Ole Miss
Kelly Orgeron knew. Standing on the sideline in -- of all places -- Starkville, Mississippi, she could just feel it: Her husband would be fired from his job as the Ole Miss head coach. "You could tell on the field," she said in an interview last year. "We knew were gone." The Orgerons return to that place -- Starkville -- this weekend as the leaders of another football program. Coach Ed Orgeron and No. 12 LSU (2-0) meet Mississippi State (2-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday in their Southeastern Conference opener. Orgeron is familiar with that place, Davis-Wade Stadium at Scott Field. He'll stalk the same sideline as he did while making that infamous decision almost a decade ago as coach at Ole Miss. He went for it. He regrets it, too.
Ed Orgeron returns to Scott Field, the scene of his demise as Ole Miss coach
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "So, let's say LSU leads Mississippi State 14-0 with 10 minutes to go at Scott Field this Saturday night. Let's say the Tigers face fourth down and one yard to go at midfield. What would Ed Orgeron, the man LSU pays $3.5 million a year to make such decisions, do? 'I'm punting,' Orgeron told reporters Monday in Baton Rouge. 'I want to keep this job.' But that's not what Orgeron did 10 years ago when he faced the same situation, in the same stadium, as the Ole Miss coach. Orgeron went for it. The Bulldogs stuffed a predictable run up the middle. They then rallied to score 17 points in the next 10 minutes to win 17-14. Orgeron was fired the next day."
Ole Miss completes its Committee on Infractions hearing, waits for ruling
After consecutive nine-and-a-half-hour days, all Ole Miss can really do now is wait. A years-long NCAA investigation led to 21 allegations, including 15 Level I violations, charged against the football program. And it took two long days for the NCAA's Committee on Infractions to hear the university and enforcement staff's side of things, completing its hearing in Covington Tuesday night around 6 p.m. Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork declined to comment as he walked out of the hearing room. Walter "W.G." Watkins, Hugh Freeze's attorney, did the same. The school is desperately trying to avoid a two-year bowl ban, which would mean more money lost and the door opened for players to transfer freely.
Irma's aftermath: Vols-Gators on as scheduled Saturday
After being stalled by Hurricane Irma last week, Swamp life can finally begin for the Florida Gators. Florida's game with Tennessee will go on as scheduled in The Swamp with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday, the SEC announced Tuesday. The decision was made by Florida after consultations with the SEC and state, local and UT officials in the aftermath of this past weekend's storm. "The University of Florida has been diligent in assessing the impact of Hurricane Irma on the Gainesville community and has made a thoughtful decision in moving forward with the game," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a news release. "While we know how important it is for this campus and the Gainesville community to host a game, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those that have been impacted by the storm, and we are thankful for the support Floridians have received during this time," UF athletic director Scott Stricklin said.
Arkansas AD Jeff Long Says Opponents Need to Know Where Hogs Will Play
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long says he wants to know within three to five months whether the Razorbacks will play football at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium after 2018. The University of Arkansas is currently obligated to play one more game at the 54,120-seat stadium about 180 miles from its Fayetteville campus -- a Southeastern Conference contest next season. An Aug. 31 game against Florida A&M drew 36,055 -- the smallest crowd for an Arkansas game at Little Rock in 21 years. Long told the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday that future opponents need to know which games could be played at Little Rock and which would be played at Fayetteville, which has a 72,000-seat stadium being expanded to accommodate 4,800 more. The university's trustees will consider where the Razorbacks will play.
U. of South Carolina commits to renovating Carolina Coliseum
The Carolina Coliseum will get a second life as the University of South Carolina grows westward toward the Congaree River, school president Harris Pastides promised Tuesday. At his annual State of the University address, Pastides committed to a "comprehensive renovation and repurposing of the 'House that (legendary basketball coach Frank) McGuire built,' the hallowed Carolina Coliseum." The announcement was short on specifics of the Coliseum's future use, design or the cost of its renovation. But Pastides hinted the 49-year-old building could become a second student union for the growing western half of campus. "The renovation must serve the central mission of the university -- teaching and learning, so it will provide necessary spaces that have become scarcer and tighter over the years, spaces like the Russell House," Pastides told a packed ballroom at the Russell House.
3-year-old struck and killed by vehicle before U. of Alabama football game
A 3-year-old was struck and killed by a car before the University of Alabama football game Saturday. The girl was on the steps of a residence in the 1400 block of Seventh Street while her parent was parking cars at 12:25 p.m., said Tuscaloosa Police spokeswoman Lt. Teena Richardson. She became frightened by a dog that ran into the path of a vehicle that was parking, she said. "The driver of the vehicle did not see the child, but felt the impact," Richardson said. Paramedics transported the girl to DCH Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead 40 minutes later. Her name hasn't been released.

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