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Stories sought for campus oral history project

December 11, 2010

During his tenure at Mississippi State University, Vance Watson served in a variety of administrative posts, ranging from interim president to Director of the Experiment Station and Extension Service.  For 42 years, he was an integral part of campus life at MSU. 
And after that many years on campus, you’d think he’d be ready to forget about it for a while.  But not Watson.  Instead, he and Dr. Frances Coleman, dean of libraries at MSU, are working on an oral history project for the university.
“We’re compiling an oral history of people who have worked in the Lloyd-Ricks Building,” Watson explained. 
That’s the building that now bears his name, too.  
The Lloyd-Ricks-Watson building was built in 1929 to house agricultural programs. An east wing was added in 1939 and the buildings were connected and recently renovated.
“The names listed on the building represent all the people who have made possible the success of the university’ agricultural research and educational outreach to the people of Mississippi,” Watson explained.  “It is a tribute to the cooperative efforts of federal, state, and university personnel working together for the benefit of our citizens.”
It’s those people whose stories Watson and Coleman want to capture.  They’re looking for the remembrances of individuals who worked there or attended classes there. 
They know that three of MSU’s presidents began their careers in the building and they’re certain that it has other interesting stories to be told. 
Today the 67,000-square-foot building houses the School of Human Sciences and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 
Gleaming woodwork, computer desks and state-of-the-art equipment are showcased there. 
Bright sunlight streams through windows that are now double-paned, with an eye toward energy conservation. 
Individuals who would like to contribute to the oral history are urged to contact Coleman by e-mail at or call her at (662) 325-7661.

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