By STEVEN NALLEY
Mississippi State University will host Dow Chemical Co. executive Don Taylor for its Hunter Henry Lectureship Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the Leo Seal M-Club Room at Davis Wade Stadium’s south end.
Taylor, vice president of Dow’s purchasing and supply chain organizations, will center his speech on the importance of careers and education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, commonly referred to as STEM fields. The Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering sponsors the lectureship each year, and it is free and open to the public.
Jason Keith, MSU chemical engineering director, said MSU has strong ties to Dow.
“Hunter Henry was an alumnus at MSU, and he went on to become president of Dow Chemicals,” Keith said. “They’re also a very strong supporter of our department. They hire a lot of our students for internships, co-ops and full-time employment. They give financial contributions to the department — the corporation does — and also many alumni (working at Dow) contribute gifts. If we’re going to bring in someone from industry, there’s no better company for us to bring someone from than Dow.”
Sherre Denson, MSU chemical engineering business manager, said the very first Hunter Henry Lectureship in 2002 was given by Mike Parker, president of Dow at the time. She said other past speakers include Bobby Shackouls, former CEO of Burlington Resources; Enrique Sosa, former executive vice president of Amoco in 2004 and E.J. Mooney, former CEO of Malco Chemicals.
“The lectureship series seeks to bring corporate executives to MSU to present their experiences in industry and business to undergraduates,” Denson said. “The lecturer is asked to speak about their corporate experience and how their undergraduate education as a whole contributes to that experience. Students learn from hearing about industry relationships, both personal and business oriented.”
Denson said the lectureship was put on hiatus last year, and Keith wanted to relaunch it with a return to Dow. Keith said Dow was very receptive to MSU’s request.
“When I pitched it to them, I put it in the framework of how it was very important to our department because of that relationship (with Hunter Henry),” Keith said. “(Taylor) accepted right away.”
Keith said STEM educations are important because they are key to the U.S. economy’s future.
“We produce more grads with training in those areas because it’s a driving force for industry,” Keith said. “For the nation to be competitive, it’s a global economy now, and we need to have more of our graduates be prepared for careers in science, technology and math. There’s a generation of people retiring, so there’s a demand that’s more than the supply.”
Denson said she, too, believes STEM education is important to America’s future.
“For America to remain competitive in the world market, students must be trained in these areas,” Denson said. “Industry and manufacturing must remain at the forefront of our economy, and STEM educations are key to this effort.”