2006 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Little, Browning, Butler, Carmichael, Clarke, Dawkins, Dearing, Frazier, Gollott, Hewes, Hyde-Smith, Jackson (11th), Jordan, Kirby, Mettetal, Moffatt, Nunnelee, Posey, Robertson, Ross, Thames, Thomas, Walls, White, Wilemon, Williamson, Harden
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE DEDICATED PUBLIC SERVICE AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF DR. J. CHARLES LEE, PRESIDENT OF MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY.
WHEREAS, Dr. J. Charles Lee became the 17th President of Mississippi State University on January 17, 2003, after serving as Interim President for one year. On November 21, 2005, Dr. Lee announced his intention to retire prior to the end of the 2005-2006 academic year; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Lee had been Mississippi State University's Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine since September 1999 and also had been Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences since July 2000. He previously served at Mississippi State University from 1978-1983 as Dean of the School of Forest Resources and Associate Director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station; and
WHEREAS, before returning to MSU as Vice President in 1999, Dr. Lee had held administrative positions in the Texas A&M University System, including four years as Vice Chancellor for Research, Planning and Continuing Education. Dr. Lee also served for 18 months in 1994-1995 as Interim Executive Vice President and Provost for Texas A&M University, providing leadership for all academic programs and related activities throughout the 42,000 student university; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Lee earned a Bachelor's Degree in Forest Management and a Ph.D. in Forestry/Genetics at North Carolina State University. He also has done graduate work at Duke University. He spent the early years of his career as a Research Forester for the Westvaco Corporation in North Carolina and West Virginia and headed the Forestry Department at the University of Arkansas at Monticello from 1972-1978; and
WHEREAS, highlights of Dr. Lee's administration at MSU since January 2002 are as follows:
· Led a renewed commitment to the "People's University" ideal, emphasizing both access and academic excellence and including a restructuring of student recruitment efforts.
· Responded to successive declines in state funding with a variety of efficiency and cost-saving measures, including a major retirement incentive program in 2002.
· Adopted a university-wide performance-based budgeting system, with associated accountability and performance measures for both academic and support units.
· Emphasized the outreach role of MSU as a statewide, land-grant institution, creating a Division of University Extension and Outreach that includes the MSU Extension Service, Continuing Education and a new Industrial Outreach Services function.
· Heightened support for high-tech, high-wage industry recruitment to Mississippi and expansion of the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park.
· Adopted a Campus Master Plan to guide campus development, launched a major overhaul of streets, parking and other infrastructure, and significantly upgraded campus landscaping efforts. Major construction completed during the past three years, in progress, or about to begin, includes the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, Franklin Furniture Center, Roy Ruby Residence Hall, Palmeiro Center, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building, Cullis Wade Depot (bookstore and welcome center), Bryce Griffis Residence Hall and expansions of Lee Hall, McCool Hall and Colvard Union.
· Oversaw planning and construction of the university's first new residence hall in more than 35 years as the first step in development of an on-campus residential village now underway.
· Presided over the public launch of the $400 Million State of the Future capital campaign, which has raised more than $250 Million with three campaign years remaining, and strengthened alignment of university alumni, fund-raising and athletic fund-raising and marketing programs.
· Led efforts to revitalize the MSU football program, including the hiring of Head Coach Sylvester Croom, the first African-American Head Coach in Southeastern Conference history.
· Inspired a variety of initiatives designed to enhance the undergraduate academic experience, including the introduction of cross-disciplinary learning communities, enhancement of the University Honors Program, and strengthening of academic advising; and
WHEREAS, he has served on numerous state, regional and national committees and boards and has a successful record of securing grants and contracts and bringing state and federal support to the institution he serves. He has been recognized in numerous ways and has been cited for outstanding service in both Texas and Mississippi. Dr. Lee has been honored for outstanding service by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Joint Council on Food and Agricultural Sciences, the Texas A&M University Board of Regents, the Texas A&M College of Medicine and the Mississippi Forestry Commission; and
WHEREAS, he and his wife, Pat, have three children and three grandchildren; and
WHEREAS, Mississippi State University plays a vital role in the life of this state, and the university's contributions through education, research, economic development and outreach will be more critical than ever in the years ahead; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature is deeply appreciative of the support that Dr. Lee has received from faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and policymakers and from the citizens of the State of Mississippi:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the public service of Dr. J. Charles Lee, President of Mississippi State University, recognizing his contributions to research and technology and dedication to excellence in higher education in our state, and we extend to him and his family the best wishes of the Legislature on his future endeavors.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we wish to thank the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning in bringing to Mississippi State University a leader of the quality provided by Dr. Lee, and which this institution and this state deserve.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Dr. Lee at appropriate campus ceremonies, be forwarded to the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.