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Adkerson named MSU Alumnus of the Year, other grads honored

February 6, 2011

For the Daily News

Longtime Mississippi State supporter Richard C. Adkerson is receiving the university’s 2011 national alumnus of the year award during a Feb. 18 annual banquet on campus.
The 1969 MSU graduate is president and CEO of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer. A Phoenix, Ariz., resident, he also is co-chairman of McMoRan Exploration Co., an international oil and gas exploration company.
In 2007, a $5 million gift by Adkerson to the College of Business was recognized by naming in his honor the college’s School of Accountancy.  As such, the academic unit became the sixth named accounting school in the Southeastern Conference.  
Adkerson graduated with highest honors in accounting and, a year later, received a master’s in business administration.  Also in 1970, he scored second highest nationally on the certified public accounting examination. He additionally is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.
A former Mississippi resident, he graduated from Kosciusko High School and attended Tupelo High School.
Among many accomplishments, Adkerson’s leadership in the global mining industry was acknowledged in 2009 with the Copper Man of the Year Award from The Copper Club Inc.  Institutional Investor magazine has also has ranked him as the top CEO in the metals and mining industry for the past four years. Most recently, he was inducted into the 2010 American Mining Hall of Fame.
Previously, Mississippi State honored Adkerson for continuing assistance to academic and athletic programs. In 1989, he was named outstanding accounting alumnus; two years later, the business college selected him as its alumnus of the year. In 2010, the land-grant university recognized him with an honorary doctoral degree.
Organized by the MSU Alumni Association, this month’s annual banquet also includes a leadership conference on the 19th. For the second year, the awards banquet will be webcast live, beginning at 6 p.m. via www.msstate.edu.
At the banquet, the association also will:
• Welcome its 92nd chartered chapter from Chattanooga, Tenn. Led by president Dax Turner, the group developed over several years and began the formal organization process in May. The chapter already has hosted a variety of events.
• Honor Jack Cristil of Tupelo, the long-time “Voice of the Bulldogs,” for nearly 60 years of service. Play-by-play radio announcer for football and basketball, the Memphis, Tenn., native was selected for the role in 1953 by athletic director C.R. “Dudy” Noble.
Best known for his game-winning phrase “You can wrap it in maroon and white,” Cristil has been named Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year 21 times.
In 2002, MSU awarded an honorary doctoral degree to the Bulldog legend.
His earlier recognitions included a 1998 Southeastern Conference Broadcaster of the Year award.  
In 1992, he was selected for a Ronald Reagan Lifetime Achievement Award and became the first non-coach or non-athlete inductee into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
He also won the 1997 Chris Schenkel Award for excellence in college broadcasting.
Individual 2011 alumni of the year being honored at the banquet by the respective colleges and MSU-Meridian include (by city of residence):
STARKVILLE- — Martha H. Swain, College of Arts and Sciences, and Turner A. Wingo, College of Business.  Both are retired.  
A 1950 social science education graduate, Swain was the Cornaro Professor of History at Texas Woman’s University who later taught history at MSU.
Wingo, a retired retailer, is a 1967 general business graduate currently serving on the MSU Foundation board of directors.
For more information on the event, contact Jimmy Abraham, associate vice president for development and alumni and alumni association executive director, at 325-7000 or jabraham@alumni.msstate.edu.  

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