MSU-Meridian celebrates 50 years of contributions to the region

by Terry Dale Cruse, MSU-Meridian associate vice president and head of campus two students in scrubs prepare to start an IV

MERIDIAN, Miss.—Mississippi State University-Meridian will celebrate its 50th anniversary on August 17. On this date in 1972, Mississippi State opened the Meridian branch (as it was called at the time) on the campus of Meridian Community College. The first MSU-Meridian office was located temporarily in MCC’s Ivy Hall, before the operation moved to what is now known as Hardin Hall.

Fifty years later enrollment at MSU-Meridian is at an all-time high, and we are educating more students to meet local educational, healthcare and economic needs than ever before. As we look ahead, several exciting initiatives are underway.

Mississippi State continues to lead the state with our new Bachelor of Applied Sciences degree. The BAS degree is the first degree approved under the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning’s new Applied Baccalaureate initiative. The program allows those who have earned an Associate of Applied Science degree the opportunity to apply up to 45 hours of technical education credits earned from a community college or the military toward a bachelor’s degree at Mississippi State. This year, in partnership with Meridian Community College, we launched a new concentration where students can now earn a BAS in Trades Supervision tailored specifically for the Meridian Campus.

The inaugural cohort, which began in January 2021, of our Master of Physician Assistant Studies program, is wrapping up didactic training and preparing to enter clinical rotations throughout the state. A second cohort of 25 students arrived on our Riley Campus in January and includes students from seven states. We anticipate another class to begin training in January 2023.

In addition to program development, our investment in downtown Meridian continues. The Riley Center experienced record ticket sales in our first full season since the pandemic started and just announced an impressive lineup for this year’s Spring/Summer series. We were also excited to partner with other businesses and the new Threefoot Hotel, in creating a memorable experience for guests visiting the Queen City.

Our commitment for the past 50 years to expanding educational opportunities to citizens of East Mississippi and West Alabama is stronger than ever. We anticipate great days ahead as we continue that mission.

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