The MSU Alumni Association welcomes a new slate of officers for two-year terms for fiscal years 2023-2025. The Association leaders who assumed office in July are Terri Russell of Helena, Alabama, as president; Lynn Twitty Burwell of Gulfport as vice president; and Patrick White of Spring, Texas, who remains with the board as immediate former national president. Additionally, Riley Nelson of Vicksburg continues as national treasurer, beginning a second three-year term for fiscal years 2023–2026. The group was elected in February at the association’s annual business meeting.
“Our national officers will continue the long-standing tradition of volunteer service to our Bulldog family through their leadership in our association, engaging and involving even more alumni and friends in our efforts to support and promote Mississippi State across the country and around the world,” said Jeff Davis, the association’s executive director. “Our association continues its growth in our program offerings, number of volunteers, and the number of alumni who are engaged with and support Mississippi State.”
Russell assumes the presidency following a two-year term as vice president of the Alumni Association. She is a 1984 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering who also earned a Master of Science in industrial engineering in 1986 from MSU. She serves as a principal member of technical staff at AT&T Labs, Inc. Most recently, Russell served the association’s national board as a two-term director for the state of Alabama. She has been a longtime MSU Alumni Association volunteer with the Birmingham, Alabama Chapter where she has served in a variety of roles over the past 21 years, including eight years as chapter president. She has been instrumental in student recruiting, community service, scholarship fundraising and coordinating events for alumni in the region. Russell also played an integral role in making MSU license plates a reality in the state of Alabama, and she was honored with the MSU Alumni Association’s 2008 Distinguished Service Award.
Burwell joins the association’s leadership as vice president. She earned a Bachelor of Science in home economics and child development in 1980 from MSU. She serves as a senior sales advisor for direct sales for Card Connect. Most recently, Burwell served the association’s national board as a two-term director for Mississippi South 3 Region. She has been a longtime MSU Alumni Association volunteer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including serving as president of the Harrison-Hancock Alumni Chapter. She now volunteers with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chapter’s activities such as the Road Dawgs Tour, Gulf Coast Highway cleanup, and draw-down fundraiser. Burwell also serves the Alumni Association as a volunteer with the Alumni Recruitment Network and as a mentor with the Bulldog Network Mentor program.
Following a two-year term as president, White assumes the office of immediate past president. He has held a national board seat since 2013. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication from MSU in 1990 and professionally serves as vice president for national accounts with LSI Industries, a leading producer of high-performance, American-made lighting solutions. He remains active with the Greater Houston, Texas Alumni Chapter, where he earlier served as president and was instrumental in bringing MSU license plates to the state of Texas. He continues to volunteer with student recruitment efforts in Texas through the Alumni Recruitment Network. White was honored with the MSU Alumni Association’s 2011 Distinguished Service Award.
Riley Nelson continues as national treasurer and begins his second consecutive three-year term. He earlier served as Mississippi Central 3 Region director and held leadership roles including multiple terms as chapter president with the Warren County Alumni Chapter. Nelson earned two degrees from MSU, a 1999 Bachelor of Accountancy and a 2001 Master of Taxation, and is the managing partner with May and Company LLP. He continues to serve as a leader with the Warren County Alumni Chapter and is a member of the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy advisory council.
Along with incoming officers, the association welcomes the following new and returning directors to its national board for three-year terms running July 1, 2023–June 30, 2026.
Morgan “Taylor” Clayton Flowers of Marks, a 2013 Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing graduate, will serve her second term on the board as a Mississippi North 1 Region director. She is active in the Quitman County Alumni Chapter leadership, assisting with Quitman and Coahoma County chapter events and activities, and assisting with student recruiting efforts through the Alumni Recruitment Network.
Zwan Landfair of Olive Branch, a 1994 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in industrial technology education, will serve as a Mississippi North 1 Region director for a second three-year term. He is active in the Alumni Recruitment Network, served as co-chair of MSU’s Black Alumni Weekend 2022 and serves as vice chair of the Black Alumni Advisory Council.
Kim Correro Fandel of Belden, will serve as a director of Mississippi North 2 Region. A 1987 graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing who also earned a Master of Science in elementary education, she previously served on the board from 2011-2017. Fandel is a longtime volunteer with the Lee County Alumni Chapter, having served in many leadership positions, including president. She was also honored with the MSU Alumni Association’s 2017 Distinguished Service Award.
Straton “Strat” Karatassos of Starkville, a 1974 graduate with a Master of Science in physical education, continues his service as a Mississippi North 3 Region director. Following his 43-year career with MSU’s athletics department, Karatassos has been a fixture at alumni association events and has been an active volunteer with the Oktibbeha County Alumni Chapter.
Mary Ann Latham of Starkville, a 2008 graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration, joins the board as a director for Mississippi North 3 Region. She has been an integral volunteer leader with the Oktibbeha County Alumni Chapter, serving as president, secretary and most recently as the student recruiting chair and Send-off Party coordinator. She is active in the MSU Women’s Club.
John Paul “J.P.” Walker of Greenwood, a 2005 Bachelor of Arts in communication graduate, rejoins the board representing the Mississippi Central 1 Region as a director. He previously served on the board from 2011-2017. Walker is a longtime alumni association volunteer with the Leflore-Carroll Alumni Chapter, serving in various roles, including president from 2009-2014.
Matt Mahan of Kosciusko, a 2004 graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing, begins his second three-year term as a Mississippi Central 2 Region director. He previously served on the association’s national board representing Mississippi North 2 Region. Having served as president for both the Jones County and Lee County Alumni chapters, Mahan now volunteers as secretary for the Attala County Chapter and as a Bulldog Network mentor.
Dwanda Moore of Ridgeland, a 1996 Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing graduate, will serve a second term on the board as a Mississippi Central 3 Region director. She is a longtime volunteer with the Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter, serving in a variety of leadership roles, including chapter president. Moore also serves as a member of the Black Alumni Advisory Council and the Alumni Recruitment Network.
Tony James of Clinton earned a Bachelor of Science in education (fitness management) in 1994. A former Bulldog football student-athlete, James joins the board as a Mississippi Central 3 Region director. He has been a supporter of the Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter and is an active member in the MSU M-Club.
Jonathan Jackson of Hickory, a 2020 graduate with a Bachelor of Science in biological science, continues on the board for a second term as a Mississippi South 1 Region director. He is active in the Newton County Chapter, serving as student recruiting chair. He is also involved with the Alumni Recruitment Network, serves as a Bulldog Network mentor and participates in the annual alumni band reunion.
Josh Thompson of Meridian, a 2004 graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance, joins the board as a Mississippi South 1 Region director. Thompson, a former MSU Foundation development officer for MSU-Meridian, began his volunteer service with the Oktibbeha County Alumni Chapter and currently serves as the scholarship chairman for the Lauderdale County Alumni Chapter.
Richard Cannon of Ocean Springs, a 1986 Bagley College of Engineering graduate, continues his service on the board representing Mississippi South 3 Region. He is a longtime volunteer and past president of the Jackson County and Mississippi Gulf Coast Alumni chapters and was honored with the MSU Alumni Association’s 2018 Distinguished Service Award.
John Shappley of Hattiesburg, a 1997 graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration in banking and finance, rejoins the board as a director for the Mississippi South 3 Region. He previously served on the National Board from 2004–2009. Shappley is a longtime volunteer and officer with the Pine Belt Chapter (previously the Southeast Mississippi Chapter) and assists with student recruiting through the Alumni Recruitment Network.
Michael Criswell of Atlanta, Georgia, a 1980 Bachelor of Science in business statistics and data processing graduate, rejoins the board as the Out of State Region 2 Director. He previously served on the board from 2006-2012 and 2014-2015, and has served in a variety of leadership roles in the Atlanta, Georgia Alumni Chapter, including president. He was honored with the MSU Alumni Association’s 2012 Distinguished Service Award.
Stephen Woo of Cordova, Tennessee, earned two degrees—a 1994 Bachelor of Professional Accountancy and a 1995 Master of Professional Accountancy. He will serve a second term as the Out of State Region 2 Director. His alumni association and Memphis Maroon Club volunteer service spans more than 20 years and he was honored with the MSU Alumni Association’s 2019 Distinguished Service Award.
Paige Roper of Franklin, Tennessee, will continue serving as Director for the State of Tennessee for a second three-year term. She joined the board of directors in 2020 and has been active in the Nashville Alumni Chapter, notably serving as the scholarship and student recruiting chairperson and Send-off Party coordinator.
The alumni association was founded June 17, 1885, by the first three graduating classes of then-Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College. A full-service organization, the association now includes more than 100 chapters and clubs. Mississippi State currently has more than 162,000 living alumni.
For more information about the MSU Alumni Association, contact Davis at 662-325-7000 or [email protected].