Mississippi State University has recognized George T. “Tommy” Everett III, a 1950 general business graduate from Magee, as its national alumnus of the year. He earned the distinction for his more than 60 years of service as a local and national level volunteer, according to university officials. Everett enrolled at then-Mississippi State College following U.S. Navy service in World War II. Upon graduation, he returned home to join his father in the family business, Magee Auto Supply. Everett’s work with his alma mater began shortly after graduation with encouragement from friend and fellow Bulldog, D.W. Skelton, who was retiring from his service with the association. Skelton suggested Everett run for the office of Southern District committeeman. Everett’s election began a continuing volunteer career with the association. He has held a number of offices at various levels, including more than 20 years as treasurer for the national board of directors and service in 1973 as national alumni president.
Everett and his late wife, Willie Grace Horn, are the parents of two children who have carried on the MSU tradition. Susan Everett Yates graduated in 1979; John Thomas Everett, in 1984. The family tradition continues with Everett’s grandsons: Spencer Yates is a 2011 alumnus, while Houston Everett currently is a member of the junior class.
In addition to the national alumni recognition, each of the university’s eight colleges and the Meridian campus recognized an alumnus for outstanding personal, professional and community achievements. The new college alumni-of-the-year group includes (by academic unit):
• AGRICULTURE AND LIFE SCIENCES — Kerrville, Texas, resident Donald R. Ford, a 1960 general agriculture graduate
• ARCHITECTURE, ART AND DESIGN — William L. “Bill” Polk III, of Atlanta, Ga., a 1984 architecture graduate
• ARTS AND SCIENCES — John D. “Jack” Sistrunk Jr., of Madison, a 1949 petroleum geology graduate
• BAGLEY COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING — Houston, Texas, resident Thomas B. “Tommy” Nusz, a 1982 petroleum engineering graduate
• BUSINESS — Paul B. Murphy Jr., of Houston, Texas, a 1981 banking and finance graduate
• EDUCATION — Joe A. Haynes, of Jackson, a 1983 doctoral graduate in educational leadership
• FOREST RESOURCES — Charles David Barge, of Macon, a 1976 forestry graduate who went on to receive a master’s degree in forestry business in 1977
• MSU-MERIDIAN — Kim S. Benton, of Hickory, a 1982 elementary education graduate who went on to receive a master’s degree in 1986 and a doctorate in 1991
• VETERINARY MEDICINE — Dr. Rodney A. Christmas, of St. Joseph, Mo., a 1993 doctor of veterinary medicine graduate.
The association also recognized several volunteers for service during 2012. This category of honors includes:
• OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNUS — Edward A. Sanders of the Washington, D.C., Alumni Chapter; he is a 2006 political science graduate
• DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD — Michael W. “Mike” Criswell, of Atlanta, Ga., a 1980 business graduate; Robert R. “Rob” Hamlin, of Helena, Ala., a 1992 graduate with a bachelor’s in social studies education and a 2005 master’s in history; and, Brenda L. Smith, of Leakesville, a 1978 elementary education graduate