By GWEN SISSON
Amy Tuck challenged the Mississippi State University Womenâ€™s Club to celebrate the unique contributions of women, to Mississippi and the campus.
The former Lieutenant Governor for the state of Mississippi and MSUâ€™s current executive director of campus operations said MSU has numerous inspirational â€ścan doâ€ť women who serve as leaders and role models.
â€śAs we celebrate MSU women, think about the women who have most influenced you,â€ť Tuck said. â€śThink about women you admire for theirÂ strength, theirÂ contributions, their talent, their compassion and their ability to get things done.â€ť
Some of the â€ścan doâ€ť MSU women Tuck bragged on included:
u Coach Sharon Fanning-OtisÂ â€” Now in herÂ 15th season as head womenâ€™s basketball coach, Tuck said sheÂ influences countless young women through her collegiate coaching and summer camps;
u Dean of Libraries Frances Coleman â€”Â Appointed Dean in 1997, Tuck said she has been a visionary at moving the library into a leadership position in the state, especially in terms of providing collaborations thatÂ benefit the entire state. She has served as president of the Mississippi Library Association,Â which presented her its Outstanding Achievement Award. She also serves as president of the Southeastern Libraries Association;
u MSU Police Chief Georgia Lindley â€”She heads a 31-officer department that has earned the elite distinction of accreditation from the CommissionÂ on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. MSU is one of two university police forces in Mississippi with that distinction.
Â u Judy Spencer â€” She has just been named director of human resources at MSU.Â Tuck said she is a very experienced HR professional who will be a strong role model for other women onÂ campus.
u MSUâ€™s First Lady Rhonda Keenum â€” Tuck said how many other universities can say their First Lady served in the White House? Keenum served asÂ director of theÂ Office of Public Liaison.Â Tuck said Keenum hasÂ had a distinguished public serviceÂ career in her own right, earlier serving as AssistantÂ Secretary of Commerce for Trade Promotion and Director General of theÂ U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service. Tuck said she is also an experienced publicÂ relations professional who served as senior vice president for Edelman Public Relations, a major national public relations firm.
u Maridith Geuder â€” Director of Mississippi State University Relations.
â€śAcross our campus, we have women in classrooms and laboratories who are earning national recognition for theirÂ accomplishments,â€ť Tuck said. â€śTheyâ€™re makingÂ scientific breakthroughs. Theyâ€™re writing books. Theyâ€™re creatingÂ greatÂ works of art andÂ theyâ€™re helping us keep our campus one of the most beautiful anywhere. Theyâ€™re showing whatÂ women can do by doing it.â€ť
Tuck also highlighted three female faculty members who have been named Giles Distinguished Professors: Dr.Â NancyÂ Hargrove, professor emeritus of English; Dr. Jan Chambers, director of the Center for Environmental ToxicologyÂ inÂ the College of Veternariary Medicine;Â and Dr. Allison Pearson of the College of Business.
â€śThis is the highestÂ honor Mississippi State can bestow on aÂ faculty member andÂ it does say something very significant aboutÂ their academic and professionalÂ accomplishments,â€ť Tuck said.
Tuck also mentioned Dr. Sara Rajala of the Bagley College of Engineering. Rajala has recently served asÂ president of the American Society for Engineering Education.
â€śIn that capacity, she has literallyÂ traveled the entire world and has represented Mississippi State at theÂ same time,â€ť Tuck said.
Tuck said that each of these women, and all outstanding leaders, share 11 special qualities.
â€śSome of the most talented, capable, hard working women in Mississippi, are right here at Mississippi State,â€ť Tuck said. â€ś...these women, and other leaders, have these important characteristics.â€ť
She said a good leader must be a good listener and acknowledge the contributions of others. Teamwork is important and Tuck said leaders exemplify quiet confidence.
The MSU Womenâ€™s Club also recognized six current MSU Women with scholarships. The scholarship winners and their major fields of study included Tara Conkling, wildlife and fisheries; Heather Duoss, animal and dairy sciences; Rebecca Krogman, wildlife and fisheries; Melanie Morse, clinical psychology; Valtresa Myles, biomedical engineering; and Whitney Snow, history.
These women each received $500 scholarships funded by donations from club members, with many donations were made in memory of Marion â€śMikeâ€ť Couvillion, a club member who passed away during the year.