Sherry Wingo Memorial Scholarship donor honored as MSU National Alumnus of the Year

February 10th, 2016 Comments Off on Sherry Wingo Memorial Scholarship donor honored as MSU National Alumnus of the Year

Turner A. Wingo of Collierville, Tennessee, will be recognized Friday [Feb. 12] as Mississippi State’s national alumnus of the year during the MSU Alumni Association 2016 awards banquet. (Photo by Russ Houston)

Turner A. Wingo of Collierville, Tennessee, will be recognized Friday [Feb. 12] as Mississippi State’s national alumnus of the year during the MSU Alumni Association 2016 awards banquet. (Photo by Russ Houston)

Via Amy Cagle | Mississippi State University

Mississippi State will recognize 1967 general business graduate and retired retailer Turner A. Wingo of Collierville, Tennessee, as its national alumnus of the year during the Friday [Feb. 12] MSU Alumni Association 2016 awards banquet.

“We are proud to salute Turner Wingo on behalf of Mississippi State University for his professional success and for his loyal lifelong connection with his alma mater,” said Jeff Davis, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association. “Of our more than 133,000 living alumni, Turner is a distinguished selection for Alumnus of the Year.”

Wingo is a native of Socorro, New Mexico, who grew up and graduated from high school in Collierville in 1963. Following graduation from MSU, he returned to Collierville where he worked in real estate and opened Sherry’s Hallmark. He also spent six years in the U.S. Army National Guard.

At Mississippi State, Wingo currently serves on the board for the MSU Foundation, chairing its real estate committee since 2015. Over his lifetime, Wingo has generously supported Mississippi State with scholarships in the colleges of Architecture, Art and Design, Business, and Engineering. His giving also extends to athletics, the Turner A. Wingo Endowed Professorship in the College of Business, and campus facilities.

For his many accomplishments, Wingo previously has been recognized by Mississippi State. He was named the 2011 College of Business Alumnus of the Year and, most recently, was honored among the business college’s top all-time 100 graduates for its centennial anniversary.

Wingo is a member of the Patriots Circle for the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, and he is a board member for Alpha Corporation, Inc. He has also been a member and vice president of the Memphis Maroon Club for Bulldog alumni and friends.

Along with the national alumnus recognition, each of MSU’s eight academic colleges will honor a graduate for outstanding personal, professional and community achievements.

The new MSU alumni-of-the-year group includes (by hometown):

COLLIERVILLE, Tennessee—George D. “Dave” Thomas Jr., College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A 1987 master’s in agricultural economics graduate, Thomas is vice president of marketing for Helena Chemical Co., a role he has held since 2009. He joined Helena in 1987 and over the years has served as location manager for Louisiana and Mississippi and also as manager for the South Delta Division and South Texas Division. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Mississippi.

DALLAS, Texas—William M. “Bill” Cobb, James Worth Bagley College of Engineering. Cobb earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in petroleum engineering in 1966 and 1967, respectively, and he is a former faculty member of MSU, having served as an assistant professor of petroleum engineering from 1972-1975. He is founder and president of the oil-field management firm of William M. Cobb & Associates Inc. He also received a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from Stanford University in 1971.

HOLLY SPRINGS—Robert P. “Bob” Bowen, College of Arts and Sciences. A retired CPA, Bowen is a 1963 history and political science graduate who spent 30 years with Arthur Andersen LLP, concluding his career as partner. Bowen became a director and audit committee chair for three New York stock exchange-listed public companies, and has served on a number of civic boards in Memphis and North Mississippi. He also received an MBA from Emory University in 1968.

JACKSON—Haley R. Fisackerly, College of Business. A 1987 business administration graduate, Fisackerly is president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi Inc., a role he has held since 2008. His career with Entergy has included roles as director of system regulatory strategy and vice president of customer operations, among others. He also had a stint at Entergy Nuclear as vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs. Prior to joining Entergy in 1995, Fisackerly managed the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. He also earned a master’s degree in public policy administration from George Washington University in 1993.

Also of JACKSON is Andrew W. Grady, College of Veterinary Medicine. A 1986 doctor of veterinary medicine graduate, he directs the Center for Comparative Research and is an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Since 2001, Grady has served as veterinary medical officer for the Jackson-based Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He serves as an adjunct professor in MSU-CVM’s Department of Clinical Sciences. He also holds a Master of Laboratory Animal Medicine from the University of Missouri.

KENNESAW, Georgia—Eric G. Yonge, College of Architecture, Art and Design. President and creative director of EYStudios, Yonge is a 1998 fine arts graduate. Yonge began EYStudios in Starkville, where he was raised, and later relocated the company to Georgia. Under his leadership, EYStudios has developed more of the world’s Top 1,000 e-commerce stores than any other private firm in the world.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas—John D. Enlow, College of Forest Resources. A 1990 forestry graduate, Enlow is vice president of real estate and southern timberlands at Weyerhaeuser Co. He joined Weyerhaeuser in 2014 to lead the company’s southern division and in 2015 assumed leadership of Weyerhaeuser’s real estate nationally. He also holds an MBA from Brenau University and is a graduate of the Executive Education Strategy Program of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

PELAHATCHIE—Andrea Scott Mayfield, College of Education. Mayfield is an MSU 2009 doctoral graduate in community college leadership who became executive director of the Mississippi Community College Board in 2015, overseeing the state’s 15 community and junior colleges. Prior to this, Mayfield served as president of Shelton State Community College in Alabama. She earlier spent 18 years at East Mississippi Community College, where her roles included vice president of the Scooba campus. Mayfield also holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Arts in teaching, both from the University of West Alabama.

Other graduates to be given special recognition at the banquet for service to the alumni association will include (by hometown):

BROOKHAVEN—Jason A. Snider, a 2010 business administration graduate, receiving the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. Snider works as risk management coordinator for King’s Daughters Medical Center, and he recently became a certified professional in Healthcare Risk Management.  He was chapter president for the Lincoln County alumni chapter in 2013 and 2014. Since 2013, Snider has served as a National Alumni Board member for the Mississippi South 2 Region. He also earned a master’s of Health Services Administration from Mississippi College in 2012.

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama—Brian M. Sabourin, a 1983 aerospace engineering graduate, receiving a Distinguished Service Award. Sabourin is director for corporate development for Strata-G Solutions Inc. He previously has served as the deputy project manager for Fixed Wing Aircraft and the deputy project manager for Aviation Systems, both with the U.S. Army Aviation. Sabourin is vice president of the Huntsville-Decatur alumni chapter, having served in roles ranging from president to membership committee lead. He was a national board member in 2014.

LUCEDALE—Douglas D. “Doug” McLeod, a friend of the university receiving the Distinguished Service Award. He has owned McLeod Tire Company for nearly 30 years. McLeod also is a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, representing District 107 in his second term. With the George-Greene County MSU alumni chapter, Doug served as secretary from 2001 to 2009, vice president from 2010 to 2012, and president from 2013 to 2015.

TUCKER, Georgia—Kieu-Anh T. Tran, a 1996 civil engineering graduate, receiving a Distinguished Service Award. Tran is vice president, engineer and project manager at Q Solutions Inc., and a registered professional engineer in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. In 2004, Tran was the university’s Outstanding Young Alumnus. She is a member of the Atlanta, Georgia, alumni chapter and has been an officer in the Central Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee, chapters. From 2010-2013, Tran served on the Alumni Association National Board.

Other highlights of the awards banquet will include the announcement of individual chapters recognized for their achievements during the 2015 calendar year. Some 54 chapters of the university’s 95 worldwide are scheduled to be saluted.

The 2016 alumni awards banquet will be simulcast live via the Internet, beginning at 6 p.m. on Feb. 12 from The Mill at MSU Conference Center. For a broadcast link and more on the MSU Alumni Association, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

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CAAD holds career panel

February 4th, 2016 Comments Off on CAAD holds career panel


Photos by Marissa Landon


The College of Architecture, Art and Design held a career panel in conjunction with MSU Career Days on Wed., Jan. 27 in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium in Giles Hall.

Representatives included:

  • Jack Allin, AIA, NCARB, principal | Wier Boerner Allin Architecture
  • Kyle Barnes, project engineer | Hoar Construction
  • Mary Beth McDavid, creative director | DPM Fragrance
  • Melodi Terhune, CID, ASID, LEED AP BD+C, senior certified interior designer, associate | Clarknexsen

In a moderated question and answer session, the representatives gave the following tips for interviewing and finding jobs:

  • The importance of a nicely formatted portfolio.
  • Showcase digital skills and time management.
  • Be self-motivated, get involved, gain experience, and give back to the community.
  • Do your research before a career fair.
  • Let a company interview you, then interview them.
  • It’s never to early to follow up, but make sure to have some sort of connection for them to remember you and note that in the email; don’t email every day!
  • Always write thank you notes. Digital communication is acceptable. Keep it professional. Handwritten letters on a desk do standout, though.
  • Seek out shadow opportunities.

The group also discussed the pros and cons of large firms versus small firms, noting that the final choice depends on the person and the type of environment they are searching for.

MSU interior design alumnus featured in Tupelo newspaper

January 11th, 2016 Comments Off on MSU interior design alumnus featured in Tupelo newspaper

Building roots: Real estate investor focuses on renovating Tupelo properties

By Zack Orsborn | via Daily Journal

At age 11, Chris Rakestraw (’10), Tupelo real estate investor, found himself flipping through real estate ads after moving to Tupelo in the 80s.

Growing up in Alpine, Miss., his mother raised three kids in a small two bedroom house.

He played in gardens, raised hogs and helped his mother cook mustard greens, corn and peas they picked the day before.

“We were just poor,” Rakestraw said. “My mom knew there was a better life for us, so she moved us to Tupelo. That’s where it all started. It was an awakening for her and myself, as well.”

Before his real estate career kicked off, Rakestraw worked as a banker in his early 20s. Wanting more, he left his job in 2004 to renovate his first house.

“My first house was a learning experience. It helped me realize that there could be a different story to my life,” he said. “As I worked on that house, I was working on myself, too. With the first house, second house, third house, I built confidence in myself.”

Since then, Rakestraw began adding his “eclectic transitional” style to flip older homes, inside and out.

He enjoyed the process of rebuilding structures and reconfiguring floor plans while also adding modern fixtures.

After Christmas, he helped move his mom into a new home he helped her renovate.

“I’ve done a lot of projects, and my mom has just commented on about everyone of them,” he said with a laugh. “She told me I was crazy at times, and she’s not the only one. Now, she understands. I know what she likes, and she let me go with it.”

His most notable project began three years ago, known as the Greensboro Cottages, where he renovated five apartments on the corner of Green and Jackson streets.

“That project was probably where I grew the most. It was a difficult project and stretched out well over a year to do the five apartments,” he said. “That’s one of the projects where people told me I was crazy and that I would never get the rent.”

But now, the cottages have a 100 percent occupancy. The interest from the cottages spurred his interest into revitalizing the West Jackson corridor.

He recognized the potential as the city and the Neighborhood Development Corporation began upgrading the infrastructure of the area.

“It is my hope to do more in that area,” he said. “If everything comes together, and I have a part in it, when you drive down West Jackson Street, it’s going to be like flipping the pages of Southern Living.”

Two months ago, Rakestraw finished his 1119 W. Jackson St. project, reconfiguring the floor plan from a two bedroom, one bath to a three bedroom, two bath and adding a front porch. The house sold recently.

Now, Rakestraw is converting the old Pizza Doctor building on 621 Joyner Ave. that was once a little neighborhood market called Booker’s Grocery Store.

Ten years ago, the building was converted into two apartments, and Rakestraw plans to transform them. He calls them Booker’s Condos.

“It’s a loft on the ground floor with 12-foot ceilings with a lot of modern finishes,” he said. “The facade has already undergone complete transformation. After months, I have gone in there and reconfigured the whole building and put a lot of money into to it to create two really super cool loft-style apartments.”

After living in Nashville for two years while also completing projects in Tupelo, Rakestraw said he’s ready to transition and concentrate on more properties in Tupelo. He gained inspiration from Nashville’s development renaissance and wants to bring that back to Tupelo.

To him, it’s his home.

“It has the potential to be really great, and of course, all of my family is here,” Rakestraw said. “The times I’ve been in Nashville, I’ve become disconnected with some people, and I really just wanted to get back to Tupelo.”

CAAD hosts Tupelo elementary school group

December 1st, 2015 Comments Off on CAAD hosts Tupelo elementary school group

By Marissa Landon

The College of Architecture, Art and Design at Mississippi State recently hosted a group of nearly 200 six-graders from Milam Elementary School in Tupelo.

Volunteers from the college’s Deans Council student group, along with other CAAD students, faculty and staff guided the intellectually gifted, “Challenge,” students to the different departments and activities.

  • University Television Center
    Established in 1988, the University Television Center is a leader in providing high quality, cost-effective production services to the university community and clients across the country. The space was recently renovated, and students were able to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the production area and set.
  • Cullis Wade Depot Welcome Center
    Students were able to take this time to buy a souvenir at Barnes & Noble, visit the Welcome Center or visit the Cullis & Gladys Wade Clock Musuem. The Cullis & Gladys Wade Clock Museum showcases an extensive collection of mostly American clocks and watches dating as far back as the early 1700s. Purchased from across the United States, this collection of over 400 clocks represents nearly every American manufacturer of clocks.
  • Architecture
    Students received a tour of the architecture students’ studio spaces in Giles Hall and heard about architecture as a profession from Emily Parsons, a former architecture student and current admissions and advising coordinator. Then, students were challenged to piece together a house plan and see which group could finish the challenge first.
  • Ceramics
    Students toured the ceramics studio in Howell Building and heard from ceramics professor Robert Long about careers and the type of work his classes do. Then, advanced ceramics students paired up with students and let them work alongside them on a current project. Students were also able to view other sculpture work and see the kiln.
  • Interior Design
    Students heard from current interior design students about their program and careers in interior design. Then, they played “Interiors Pictionary” using fabric and other swatches from the interior design sample room to create various spaces.
  • Building Construction Science
    Students heard about the Building Construction Science Program and professions from staff member Laura Mitchell. Then, they worked on a hands-on project with Legos that focused on collaboration and communication. Some even had the opportunity to play giant Jenga with a set taller than many of them built by BCS students.

Elise Otis, one of the teachers from Milam Elementary School who helped coordinate the trip, said her students had a great day discovering new careers they had not realized were out there.

“They particularly enjoyed getting to talk to students about what they were doing the day we saw them,” said Otis. “They loved the ceramics department, and TV and broadcasting were some of their favorites.”

For more information about visiting the College of Architecture, Art and Design, contact Christie McNeal, communications specialist, at

Interior Design students carve pumpkins

October 30th, 2015 Comments Off on Interior Design students carve pumpkins

IMG_0072 copy IMG_0124

Jeff Fulton’s textile class had a little fun for Halloween.

As a bonus project, Fulton assigned his students a project to create a design on a pumpkin.

Students had to work on the design outside of class and were not allowed to carve a typical jack-o-lantern.

The students then carved their pre-thought, creative designs during lab.

Fulton’s Design I class also enjoyed this project.

MSU offers interior design dual enrollment course at Jackson Prep

October 27th, 2015 Comments Off on MSU offers interior design dual enrollment course at Jackson Prep

Nearly 20 high school juniors and seniors enrolled in a Digital Design for Interiors dual enrollment course at Jackson Preparatory School learned about the College of Architecture, Art and Design’s diverse curriculum and programs during a recent visit to Mississippi State University. (Photo by Keats Haupt)

Nearly 20 high school juniors and seniors enrolled in a Digital Design for Interiors dual enrollment course at Jackson Preparatory School learned about the College of Architecture, Art and Design’s diverse curriculum and programs during a recent visit to Mississippi State University. (Photo by Keats Haupt)

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

Nearly 20 juniors and seniors at Jackson Preparatory School in Flowood are participating in an interior design dual enrollment course offered by Mississippi State University.

Taught by 2009 MSU interior design graduate Swayze Neyland Pentecost of Jackson, the course provides an introduction to innovative software applications, including Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Such programs may be used to create graphic presentations, portfolios and digital illustrations of interior elements.

“Overall, the class is going wonderfully,” said Pentecost, a Jackson Prep alumna who also holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from Tulane University.

As part of the class, students recently took part in a daylong field trip to the Starkville campus. They enjoyed the opportunity to interact with university officials, including Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert; Jason Keith, dean of the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering; Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design; and Naron Remillard, director of student recruitment.

The students also toured the Interior Design Program, School of Architecture, Department of Art, and Building Construction Science Program facilities, where they received information about the diverse curriculum and programs available through the College of Architecture, Art and Design.

“It was great for the Jackson Prep students to be able to observe classes and ask our students questions, so they could learn more about majors here on campus,” said Beth Miller, professor and director of the university’s interior design program. “The students are really enjoying the course at Jackson Prep, and I think we have a lot of interest in it for next year.”

Jason Walton, Jackson Prep’s Head of School, recently challenged Pentecost’s students to a billboard design competition. The winner of the competition was Mary Dunbar, whose winning design currently is displayed on two billboards in the Jackson Metro area.

“The students loved the opportunity to have a real life ‘client,’” Pentecost said.

Accredited by The Council for Interior Design Accreditation and National Association of Schools of Art and Design, MSU’s interior design program is the largest of its kind in the state of Mississippi. Providing students with a broad background in interior elements, materials, sources and practical experience in the business of interior design is its primary mission.

For more information about the interior design program and its Digital Design for Interiors course, contact Miller at 662-325-7689 or

MSU interior design major receiving major scholarship

October 16th, 2015 Comments Off on MSU interior design major receiving major scholarship


Anna Strohm

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

A Mississippi State interior design major from Tennessee is receiving another highly coveted national scholarship.

Senior Anna L. Strohm of Gallatin is a new Celia Moh Scholar. Given by the Lexington, North Carolina-based Celia Moh Scholarship Foundation, her 2015 award covers most costs in her final year at the university, including tuition, room, board, books and fees.

The scholarship was established in 2001 by furniture industry entrepreneur Laurence Moh in his wife’s honor. Recognizing and supporting outstanding students in home-furnishing academic programs, it is considered among the most prestigious honor for U.S. undergraduates planning careers in the industry. For more, see

Candidates for the honor must be enrolled fulltime in interior design, furniture products or other approved academic programs, and have completed an extensive questionnaire and personal essay. Faculty recommendations and demonstrated superior academic achievements also are criteria for evaluation.

An MSU President’s List Scholar, Strohm was one of two students in the College of Architecture, Art and Design who received a major scholarship in 2013 from the American Home Furnishings Alliance, also based in North Carolina.

AHFA is the world’s largest and most influential trade organization serving the home furnishings industry.

MSU’s Franklin Furniture Institute manages the MSU scholastic awards program, as well as the application process. For complete information, contact institute director Bill Martin at 662-325-3348 or

Color and Lighting class analyzes lighting qualities

October 16th, 2015 Comments Off on Color and Lighting class analyzes lighting qualities

(Via Robin Carroll)

Robin Carroll’s Interior Design Color and Lighting class recently analyzed and documented the lighting qualities of accent lighting in the Curtis Stout Inc. Lighting Application Center.

Students determined the best color rendering of the object/artwork by the color qualities of the lamp source.

They also learned to operate a light meter and evaluate the proper footcandles for the accent lighting.

King discusses portable lamps with color and lighting class

October 12th, 2015 Comments Off on King discusses portable lamps with color and lighting class


(Via Robin Carroll)

Aaron King with Aaron King Studios in Brandon recently spoke to Robin Carroll’s Interior Design Color and Lighting class about building artisan lamps.

King discussed the basics of how he creates his designs and how to be inspired in different ways by different things.

He showed his examples of inspiration that influenced several of his lamp designs.

He also discussed with students how to design with the components in mind such as the lamp (bulb) base sizes and wiring connections plus the safety of building the portable lamp.

Interior design students volunteer at career expo event

October 8th, 2015 Comments Off on Interior design students volunteer at career expo event

Students from the Mississippi State University Interior Design Program participated in “Imagine the Possibilities,” a career expo. for Northeast Mississippi 8th graders sponsored by Create’s Toyota Wellspring Education Fund.

The event was held Oct. 6-7 at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, and the MSU students volunteered in the interiors booth within the Architecture and Construction Pathway, one of 18 pathways at the event.

At the Architecture South-sponsored booth, 8th grade students drew a type of space out of a bowl, such as a library, high-end restaurant, etc. Then, they were challenged to select finishes to try to depict that space.

Interior design student volunteers were: Joy Bottom, Daniella Bower, Staci Dorsey, Liz Grantham, Victoria Owchar and Martina Walker.

MSU-sponsored projects included:

  • Listen with Legos
    Goal: To show the importance of teamwork and communication between architects and construction professionals
    Task: One student served as the architect and had the directions and diagram. The other student served as the constructor and had to listen to the architect’s instructions to put together the set as quickly as possible.
  • Giant Jenga
    (A big hit!) Built by Building Construction Science students at Mississippi State University … because, why not?!
    “It’s the classic block-stacking, stack-crashing game of JENGA! How will you stack up against the law of gravity? Stack the wooden blocks in a sturdy tower, then take turns pulling out blocks one by one until the whole stack crashes down. Is your hand steady enough to pull out the last block before the tower collapses? If it is, you’ll win at JENGA!”
  • Pop-up Houses
    Students were given a house “plan” and were tasked with putting together the house. They were sent home with the challenge of putting together a pop-up MSU Chapel of Memories designed by an architecture professor at MSU.
  • Sharpen Your Sketchup Skills
    Students were allowed to try their skills at Google Sketchup with some help from MSU volunteers.

See more about the event and photos at or on social media with the hashtag #itp2015.