ITTA BENA — As part of Mississippi Valley State University’s Golden Anniversary observance, the
school commissioned Hammons and Associates in Greenwood to conduct a study that would show the
economic impact the university has on Leflore and surrounding counties.
The study was based on the income and the buying power MVSU has within the community, but by
adding such special events as football games and conferences, the impact would be even greater,
according to Dr. Lester C. Newman, the school’s president.
“We are surely pleased to know the exact impact we have on the community,” Newman said. “It’s
good to have that documented.”
Newman, as well as the rest of the university community, is concerned about the economic impact
MVSU has in the region.
“We’re engaged in educating people in the community, but we also impact them in another way,” he
said. “We provide job opportunities too. We’re quite pleased with the economic impact study, and
based on the study we’re between third and fourth in terms of economic impact in the community.”
Hammons and Associates found that the resources MVSU puts into the community turn over three
“Ultimately what we want people to know is that Mississippi Valley is putting money back in to the
community,” Newman said. “We believe we have the universities and colleges in this community to be
able to support their educational needs and interests. We want Mississippi Valley to be first on their list,
but if not Valley, there are other institutions in this area as well.”
According to Dr. Roy Hudson, vice president of university relations, the economic impact on the local
community is $43.5 million per year. MVSU’s actual budget is $32 million per year.
“I’m not an expert, but I’m following the report of people who know,” he said. “The money is just
more than the budget of the institution.”
There are 517 jobs on the MVSU campus, and in addition to the stationary jobs, there are construction
jobs on the campus as well. Already construction has begun on the administration building, and
construction is set to begin soon on the new business school.
“When that construction begins, we’re talking about more than $6 million in construction. These
people do a lot of local purchasing,” Hudson said.
He said the amount of money the students spend is factored in as well.
In addition to the 517 on-campus employees, many of those employees bring their families to the
school as well.
“For all these reasons, it’s more than just the base budget that you spend, and that’s how we get into
that $43.5 million,” Hudson said.
Hudson said the school is what has kept the area viable over the years.
“I think we’re holding our own, and I think to a certain extent we’re stopping the downward trend,” he
said. “We went through a trend of loss of population when we were going from thousands in manual
labor to mechanized labor. But now I think, in my opinion, it’s my impression that we are beginning to
make the transition to a more versatile economy with different levels of people.
“Valley serves as an anchor for what we consider to be a rising middle or social class of people.”
Hudson considers MVSU a magnet for a “certain elevation of income” for people in the Delta.
“The other thing is to provide certain social outlets,” he said. “Then there is our contribution of our
people back into the business community.”
The business community has benefited greatly from MVSU’s presence, agrees Cliff Brumfield,
executive director of the Greenwood-Leflore Economic Development Foundation.
“MVSU is one of our five largest employers in the community,” said Brumfield. “Any community
that is fortunate enough to be home to a four-year institution definitely receives benefits in the way of
salaries, goods purchased, housing, gasoline sales and retail sales.”
Local business owner A. Lee Abraham Jr. said he chose to invest in the area largely because of his faith
in the economic posture of MVSU. “MVSU is a tremendous employer and it’s a tremendous user of
goods and services in the county and in the area of the state in such dire need of benefit,” said
Abraham, who is president and sole stockholder of Traderhorn Investments Inc., Valley Leflore Inc. and
Valley Leflore Transportation Inc.
Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1042.