Mississippi State University-Meridian held its spring commencement exercises on Friday at MSU Riley Center with Congressman Gregg Harper as the commencement speaker. There were 131 degrees conferred with 32 honor graduates and 34 Riley Scholars. The graduates were from 42 cities/towns and two states.
Four students were also chosen as 2013-2014 Outstanding Graduates from the three divisions at MSU-Meridian.
On the job training
Several years ago Richard Anderson of Meridian earned an AA degree in Electronics Technology from Meridian Community College. After working several years he decided that in order to further his career opportunities he would need to go back to school.
A Riley Scholar at MSU-Meridian, Anderson not only graduated Friday with a Business Administration degree in Information Systems but was recently selected by the Division of Business as their Outstanding Student.
Anderson had to take some classes at MCC before he could transfer to State and while he was at the community college he heard about an internship with Bill Nix, the technical director at MSU Riley Center and decided to apply.
Anderson's responsibilities as an intern were varied and often included running the audio board back stage during many of the performances at the Riley Center. And although he had the opportunity to meet several artists along the way - the one who stands out the most is his mind is Robert Plant.
"I was a huge Led Zeppelin fan in high school," said Anderson, "so just getting the chance to see him and talk to him was really cool!"
In January of 2012 Anderson transferred to MSU-Meridian and later that summer he had another hands-on learning opportunity presented to him.
"I was actually at the MSU Riley Center helping Bill and I ran into Jeff Wilbur, the information systems manager at MSU-Meridian coming off the elevator," recalled Anderson. "He mentioned several big projects coming up and that he was looking for an extra person who knew their way around computers who could help out for a month."
What Anderson learned on-the-job that month was invaluable to his education at MSU-Meridian, so he was excited when Wilbur later offered him a work-study position with the IT department at the university.
"It's amazing the experience I've gained through this work study," he said. "Actually doing with my hands what I'm learning in class in a real world environment has been incredible. It's such a broad scope what the IT department is responsible for here in Meridian so I've had the opportunity to work in just about every area of the field. It's been fantastic!"