Alumni Fellows

A group of Mississippi State University’s notable alumni are selected each fall as Alumni Fellows. They are honored in recognition of the ultimate measure of a university -- the quality of its alumni.

Sponsored by the Mississippi State University Alumni Association and the university’s eight academic colleges, the Alumni Fellows Program recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves in their respective careers. They are selected by each academic college and are invited to return to campus to meet with students, both in the classroom and informally.

Through the years, the Alumni Fellows program has served as a means for enriching the MSU experience by exposing students to outstanding alumni who share extensive knowledge and real-world experience from their respective fields. These outstanding alumni are willing to talk about specific competencies, attitudes, and efforts needed to succeed. The program is an exciting and stimulating way to blend the interests of the accomplished professionals, the students, and the professors.

The MSU Alumni Association will welcome the 2016 class of Alumni Fellows on campus Nov. 3-5, 2016. The group will be honored in conjunction with the MSU vs. Texas A&M football game. As Alumni Fellows, these graduates will hold the distinction for life.

Please meet our newest class of Alumni Fellows through their bios.

Dr. Loston Rowe
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Loston Rowe remembers experiences from his time at Mississippi State University that strongly impacted his life. During his time as a student, Rowe “enjoyed being able to tutor some of the younger students, as well as many of the international students” within his department.

As an Alumni Fellow, Rowe will continue the tradition of serving the university’s students through the mentoring opportunities associated with the honor.

Rowe earned his bachelor’s and master’s in agronomy from MSU in 1984 and 1986, respectively. After earning these degrees, he continued his education at Michigan State University, where he graduated with his doctorate from the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences with an emphasis on weed science in 1989.

In regard to his time spent at MSU and the value his degree has created within his career, Rowe said, “Sharing dorms, classes, and offices with friends and classmates from all around the state, country, and world, taught me to communicate effectively with all kinds of people, which is especially important in today’s diverse business environment.”

Currently, Rowe serves as the retail accounts manager for DuPont Crop Protection, a company that he has worked with in different roles since 1989. Throughout his career, Rowe has also worked on various publications and patents and is a member of numerous organizations, including the Dean’s Advisory Council for the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Originally from Aberdeen, Rowe now resides in Eads, Tennessee, with his wife, Rita, who is a fellow Bulldog graduate.


Valerie “Val” Berney Cripps
College of Architecture, Art, and Design

Valerie “Val” Berney Cripps found mastering the “learning curve of the technology” that she utilized during her time at Mississippi State University to be her greatest accomplishment during her master’s program. She hopes that her mentoring as the 2016 Alumni Fellow for the College of Architecture, Art, and Design will lead the students of her college to strive for their own accomplishments.

Cripps initially earned bachelor’s degrees in art history and Italian from Indiana University, before enrolling at Mississippi State University. Cripps continued on to Mississippi State to earn her Master of Fine Arts in electronic visualization in 1997.

In her professional career, Cripps has taught Ph.D. courses on special effects software used for production, worked as a freelance FX artist, and worked for Disney Feature Animation as an FX animator. However, perhaps her most notable accomplishment is the list of movies that her work appears in, such as Big Hero 6, Life of Pi, Spider-Man 3, and The Chronicles of Narnia, among others. Now, Cripps is the CEO for Valtopia, a company that she founded based out of Los Angeles, California.

Cripps is grateful to the College of Architecture, Art and Design for her selection as Alumni Fellow. She cites the guidance and influence of Brent Funderbunk, longtime MSU art professor, as one of her most memorable mentors.

Originally from Joplin, Missouri, and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cripps now calls Los Angeles home with her husband, Stuart, and their two sons, John and Charles.

Tommie S. Cardin
College of Arts and Sciences

As an experienced and successful lawyer, Tommie S. Cardin is proud to return to Mississippi State University to mentor the students of the College of Arts and Sciences as the 2016 Alumni Fellow.

While attending Mississippi State, Cardin served as president of the Student Association and remembers the experience as his greatest accomplishment as an undergraduate. He feels that his involvement in extracurricular activities, such as this one, is what expanded upon his academic training “to help him obtain the skills to work with others effectively as a team to accomplish mutual goals.”

In 1983, Cardin graduated magna cum laude with his bachelor’s in political science and later worked at MSU as the College of Arts and Sciences development officer, securing private support for the academic unit. He would also earn his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi in 1986, and for a time, he was an adjunct professor in the Mississippi College School of Law.

Currently, Cardin serves as an attorney for the Regulatory and Government Relations Practice Group at Butler Snow, LLP. In addition to his professional positions throughout his career, Cardin has authored and co-authored numerous articles in various law journals and publications. He is also a member of several associations, including the Internal Municipal Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association, and the Mississippi Association of County Board Attorneys. Since 2013, he has been chair of the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board.

Cardin was raised in Brooksville, and he and his wife, Susan, currently reside in Ridgeland.

Jan F. Lewis
College of Business 

Jan F. Lewis, the 2016 Alumni Fellow selection for the College of Business, acknowledges Mississippi State University for providing her with the confidence that would serve her throughout her career.

Lewis, a 1985 summa cum laude graduate with her bachelor’s in professional accountancy, described her MSU experience by saying, “When I graduated, I was smart and prepared and unafraid, and that has helped me immeasurably over the years.”

Lewis also noted the impact of MSU faculty. “The professors at the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy not only taught me the technical knowledge I needed, they also instilled in me the confidence to tackle any project,” she shared.

In 2002, Lewis became a tax partner at Haddox Reid Eubank Betts, PLLC, where she started as a staff accountant in 1987. She serves in industries such as healthcare, oil and gas, construction, and real estate. Prior to working at Haddox Reid Eubank Betts, PLLC, Lewis served as a staff accountant for Arthur Andersen & Co.

In addition to the professional positions in her career, Lewis is involved with various professional and community organizations. Some of these include board membership with the MSU Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy and the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, along with chairing the Mississippi Society of CPAs’ Young CPAs Liaison Committee.

Lewis is a native of Jackson, where she resides with her husband, John, a fellow MSU alumnus.


Dr. Max E. Jobe
College of Education

Max E. Jobe, the 2016 Alumni Fellow for the College of Education, credits Mississippi State University with providing him with the background for much of his success in education.

Jobe gratefully acknowledges MSU for giving him with the tools needed to be an effective teacher, stating, “I learned to move with confidence in whatever assignment I received.”

Jobe served in the United States Army prior to enrolling at Mississippi State and earning his bachelor’s in industrial education in 1954. Following graduation from MSU, Jobe was commissioned into the Mississippi National Guard, where he served 14 years and retired with the rank of captain. After his military career, Jobe earned his Master of Education from Our Lady of the Lake College and his Doctor of Education from the University of Georgia.

Jobe spent 25 years at Texas A&M University in Commerce, Texas, where he now holds professor emeritus distinction. Over the course of his professional career, he has worked for various high schools, community and junior colleges, universities, the Maryland State Advisory Council on Vocational and Technical Education, the Oklahoma Department of Higher Education, and the U.S. Office of Education.

A Corinth native, Jobe currently lives in Kingwood, Texas, with his wife, Patricia, an alumna of MSU. 

Michael W. “Mike” Bloesch
James Worth Bagley College of Engineering

As the 2016 Alumni Fellow for the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering, Michael W. “Mike” Bloesch hopes that his mentoring helps prepare the current students of Mississippi State University for their futures, just as the university gave him the foundation for his.

“I believe I was being prepared during every hour of every day at MSU” for this opportunity, says Bloesch, who enthusiastically looks forward to his time on campus with the Alumni Fellows program. He plans “to promote the great education and values that MSU represents” while interacting with students.

In 1992, Bloesch earned his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Mississippi State. He later continued his education at the University of Houston, earning his MBA with a finance concentration.

Bloesch has held several upper level positions in both the engineering and business fields. He currently serves as president and CEO of the company he helped found in 2014 known as Next Wave Energy Partners, L.P., a start-up venture based in Houston, Texas. Prior to the formation of Next Wave, Bloesch spent 22 years with TPC Group, a company that provides products for chemical and petroleum-based companies around the world.

Bloesch feels, “I have been extremely fortunate to have mentors and people who have gone out of their way to help me over the years.” Early in his career, he was able to work with and be mentored by notable MSU engineering alumni, including Bill Waycaster and the late Dave Swalm and the late Hunter Henry.

Originally from Helena, Arkansas, Bloesch and his wife, Shannon, an alumna of MSU, now reside in Sugar Land, Texas.

Dr. Steven H. “Steve” Bullard
College of Forest Resources
Steven H. “Steve” Bullard has been selected as the College of Forest Resources’ 2016 Alumni Fellow. He feels that Mississippi State University gave him “a growth mindset—a perspective on continuous learning that is essential for success in all career fields today,” and he wants to stimulate that in the university’s current students.

Bullard earned a bachelor’s of forestry and a master’s in forest management with a focus on economics from Mississippi State in 1977 and 1980, respectively. He later earned his Ph.D. in forest management and economics from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1983.

For a period, Bullard taught for the College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State, and he has held positions with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Mississippi Forest and Wildlife Research Center, in particular as the Sharp Professor of Forest Economics. Additionally, he has been professor and chair for the Department of Forestry at the University of Kentucky.

Presently, Bullard serves as the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Stephen F. Austin State University. He also holds the university’s prestigious Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Forestry. In his career, Bullard is well known for his numerous publications, projects, and awards.

Bullard and his wife, Gail, currently reside in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Dr. Michael R. “Mike” Johnson
College of Veterinary Medicine

Michael R. “Mike” Johnson, a 1989 graduate from Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has been selected as the college’s 2016 Alumni Fellow. Johnson says he is “honored and humbled to be recognized by such a great university” that afforded him so much.

Prior to attending MSU for his master’s in veterinary medical sciences, Johnson earned his bachelor’s from Ohio University in environmental zoology and biology and his doctorate in veterinary medicine from The Ohio State University in 1980 and 1985, respectively. After his time at MSU, he attended Tulane University for his MBA.

Johnson fondly recalls his time spent at Mississippi State. He utilizes his experiences associated with his master’s degree in veterinary medical sciences with an emphasis in Catfish Aquaculture and Immunology as he works as a consultant for international companies involved in markets concerning minerals, water treatment, and energy. He credits his master’s program position with the Fish Disease Research and Diagnostic Center in the Mississippi Delta as the foundation for his success. He was able to work with many organizations and farmers, while cultivating his skills and experience within the catfish industry.

In his professional career, Johnson has served as president and owner of Gulf States Environmental Solutions, LLC, and he served as senior executive vice president of AMCOL International, and president of its subsidiary, CETCO Energy services. Currently, Johnson works as a private consultant.

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Johnson and his wife, Elizabeth, now reside in Mandeville, Louisiana.

Past honorees:

2015 Alumni Fellows

2014 Alumni Fellows

2013 Alumni Fellows

2012 Alumni Fellows

2011 Alumni Fellows

2010 Alumni Fellows

2009 Alumni Fellows

2008 Alumni Fellows

2007 Alumni Fellows