On Sept. 4, George Schloegel and Mary Jane Jackson were honored at a luncheon hosted by the Mississippi Geographic Alliance.
Schloegel, formerly CEO of Hancock Bank and Mayor of Gulfport, received the MGA Geographic Visionary Award, while Jackson was honored for her 30-plus years in teaching and leadership in the field of geography education.
On hand for the event were Gov. Phil Bryant, former Gov. William Winter and many other government and business leaders. In their comments, both governors stressed the importance of geographic education to the Magnolia State, pointing out that Mississippi is one of the top states in the nation in terms of exports.
“Geography enables us to develop a broad world view, and we must educate our kids to be able to compete with people anywhere in the world,” Governor Winter said.
In his remarks, Schloegel said that geography “is all about the world and what’s in it, and more importantly, how we relate to it.”
Schloegel related numerous success stories related to education, and how Mississippi students can compete effectively if given the educational tools and support. He particularly points to the importance of the port facilities in Mississippi as “being one of our most important resources which relates to international trade.”
He also sees a move to “onshoring” as an important future economic plus for the state. “We truly do live in a global world, and the more we know and understand the importance of that, the better we’ll be.”
Carole Lynn Meadows, long a passionate advocate for quality education, served as the host chair for the event.
“The need for great geographic education is really a no-brainer,” she said after the event. “We really need to understand the people and cultures that we share this planet with.”
She believes education is the absolute key to improving Mississippi and providing a bright future, and she floated the idea that perhaps many of the non-profit educational groups and institutions in the state should “band together” to look at how their efforts might be “effectively consolidated.”
“This was an absolute honor for me,” Jackson said. “What I want people to understand is that to know and to learn geography is to know and learn about the economy, history and current events of our world today. It is basic for us to teach children geography in school and to do it well.”
For more about the mission and work of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance, visit www.mga.olemiss.edu , or contact Carley Lovorn at firstname.lastname@example.org.