Alumni Fellows

Alumni Fellows

Alumni Fellows 2023 Banner

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 MSU 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.

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

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Dr. Dennis Reginelli

Dr. Dennis Reginelli

Dr. Dennis Reginelli grew up on his family farm in Shaw, MS, where he learned about crops from his father and horticulture from his mother. His parents played a crucial role in his decision to pursue a degree in agriculture at Mississippi State University (MSU).

Dr. Reginelli is a three-time alumnus of MSU. He earned a bachelor's degree in agronomy in 1982 and a master's degree in the same discipline in 1989. He completed his education with a Ph.D. in seed technology in July 1993.

During his career with the MSU Extension, Dr. Reginelli held various roles, including Area Extension Agent for Agronomic Crops, where he contributed to program development for several counties. He also served as a Regional Extension Specialist, showcasing his skills in agronomic program execution and leadership. From 2007 to 2012, he was the County Director/Area Extension Agent, providing exceptional leadership in county extension education focused on agriculture, natural resources, and 4-H youth development.

Dr. Reginelli's experiences include serving as a County Agricultural Agent in Noxubee County, where he specialized in crops such as cotton, wheat, soybean, and corn, and as a Research Assistant in agronomy at various research stations in Mississippi.

Although he retired from MSU in 2019, Dr. Reginelli continues contributing to agriculture. He is currently the Executive Director of the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to agronomy and agriculture in Mississippi. He has also made significant contributions to the science and practice of agronomy and has been a source of leadership and inspiration to the Mississippi agricultural community.

In 2020, Dr. Reginelli and his wife, Deborah, established the Dennis and Deborah Reginelli Endowed Scholarship in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They both live in Starkville.

College of Architecture, Art and Design
Will Bryant

Will Bryant

Will Bryant, hailing from Texarkana, TX, and currently residing in Austin, TX, epitomizes the spirit of creative dynamism. Raised in the rich culture of East Texas, Bryant is not just an artist, designer, and illustrator; he is a powerhouse of creative versatility. As a dedicated alumnus of Mississippi State University, Bryant graduated in 2008 from the College of Architecture, Art, & Design, setting his path to becoming an influential figure in contemporary art.

His academic excellence didn't stop there. Pursuing further education, Bryant earned his MFA in Contemporary Art Practice from Portland State University in 2013. His professional journey is enriched by illustrious collaborations with globally renowned brands, including Adidas, American Express, Google, Nike, the University of Texas, and even the White House.

Beyond his commercial success, Bryant's commitment to the arts is evident in his esteemed roles. He sits on the board of SAGE Studio, a laudable endeavor that provides artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities the necessary resources to showcase their talent. Additionally, as the Creative Director of Breakfast Club, Bryant showcases his leadership in shaping the creative narratives of the modern era.

Bryant's connection to Mississippi State University remains strong. He has been a beacon of knowledge, offering his expertise as a guest lecturer and juror for the Department of Art. His consistent contributions and mentorships are a testament to his dedication to fostering the next generation of artists.

His personal life is equally rich. Married to his childhood sweetheart, Sally, they are proud parents to two children, Polly and James, with whom he shares his passion for creativity, from building Legos to crafting art.

In recognition of his monumental achievements and unwavering commitment to the arts, Will Bryant is celebrated as the 2023 Alumni Fellow for the College of Architecture, Art, & Design at Mississippi State University.

College of Arts and Sciences
White Gan Jee

White Gan Jee

White Gan Jee, a distinguished Chemistry graduate of 1974 from MSU, hails from Tutwiler, MS, and resides in Sugar Land, TX, where he runs JEE Consulting Services LLC. Born in Clarksdale, White's educational journey began under the strong influence of his grandparents and parents, immigrants from China in the 1940s, who emphasized the significance of higher education. Upholding a tradition of Jee family members attending MSU, White joined the ranks and has become an integral part of the MSU community.

While at MSU, White was actively involved in Army ROTC, completing four years and later serving in active duty, eventually honorably discharged at the rank of Captain from the Army Reserves. He was a member of Phi Eta Sigma, a freshmen honor society, and The Lucky Eleven, a Chinese-American social organization.

Post-MSU, White furthered his education, obtaining an MBA in Industrial Management from the University of Houston. Throughout his career spanning over 40 years, he's been associated with industry giants such as Dow Chemical, INEOS Olefins & Polymers, and Sasol Chemicals. Recognized for his contributions, White received the ASTM Award of Merit and held the honorary title of Fellow for his service in Committee F17 on Plastic Piping Systems.

Beyond his professional life, White is deeply rooted in community service. He's a Gold Level Donor to the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and a legacy participant in the annual Aramco Houston half-marathon.

Recently, White has shown immense support for MSU's Department of Chemistry, donating resources and actively mentoring professors and students. As he steps into the esteemed role of Alumni Fellow for the College of Arts & Sciences, White wishes to express his gratitude to the MSU community and remains committed to championing its values.  Hail State and Go Bulldogs!

College of Business
Benji Nelson

Benji Nelson

Benji Nelson, born in Canton, MS, but now living in Madison, was born in 1970, and spent his formative years at the Live Oaks Golf Club in Jackson. Here, Benji developed a profound love for golf under his father's influence, the golf professional and part-owner of the club. Living behind the 14th green, the course was his playground. A proud alumnus of Clinton High School, class of 1988, he is blessed with a loving family: his wife Lauren of thirty years and their two children. Their son, Benjamin, a distinguished MSU golfer, secured his undergraduate and MBA degrees by 2022. Their daughter, Mary Grace, an exemplary student, is currently part of the esteemed Shackouls Honors College at MSU, aspiring to achieve her degree in Political Science.

As a dedicated Bulldog, Benji's decision to join MSU in 1988 was unsurprising, further influenced by a recruitment offer to join the men's golf team. Benji left his mark on the golfing world during his competitive playing career. He played in the 1991 NCAA Championship finals at the iconic Poppy Hills GC in Pebble Beach and clinched the title at the 1995 Mississippi Golf Association State Amateur Championship. Beyond golf, his campus life was enriched as a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, and academically, he pursued a Marketing major, graduating in 1992. He was an active M Club member both while in school and to this day as an honored alum. He actively contributes to MSU, serving on multiple boards, including the Bulldog Club and the College of Business Executive Advisory Board.

Lauren, Benji's college sweetheart, remains his rock. The friendships forged at MSU are the bedrock of his professional network. Guided by his father's legacy in golf, Benji ventured into the world of golf cars. His professional journey led him to E-Z-GO Golf Cars, culminating in co-establishing Ben Nelson Golf & Utility Vehicles, a flourishing business with three retail locations across three states and a committed workforce of 50 people. Over the years, Benji has been recognized for his contributions to the golf community, notably as the president of the Mississippi Golf Association and Annandale Golf Club. Moreover, he's a dedicated supporter of the First Tee of Central Mississippi, amongst various other local charities.

College of Education
Joseph L. Loviza

Joseph L. Loviza

Joseph L. Loviza is a native son with a storied legacy of service and leadership. Born in Vicksburg in 1940, he began his academic journey at St. Aloysius HS, graduating in 1958. He secured degrees from Hinds Community College in 1960 and Mississippi State University, where he completed his Bachelor's in 1967, followed by a Master's in 1971 and Specialist studies in 1975. His pursuit of doctoral studies is ongoing.

Serving his nation valiantly, Loviza is a U.S. Navy Veteran, with tours in both Vietnam & Cuba, notably as a Petty Officer 2 aboard the USS Mitscher. Upon returning to his hometown, he carved a path in education and civic leadership. From 1960 to 1973, he held the role of Vo-Tech Director for Vicksburg Schools. His commitment to education persisted as he transitioned to serve as Dean at Hinds Community College from 1973 to 1993.

His civic engagement is highlighted by a term as the Mayor of Vicksburg from 1993 to 1997. Beyond mayoral duties, Loviza has made substantial contributions across various community boards, from the Vicksburg Lions Club to the Vicksburg Warren School Trustee. His tenure has included leadership positions with the VWC Historical Society, Chamber of Commerce, and WC Parks & Recreation Commission.

A devout member of St. Michael's Catholic Church, Loviza is also associated with the Knights of Columbus (4th degree) and has affiliations with organizations like the VFW and American Legion. With his wife, Gail Helgasoh, with whom he shares three children, Loviza's life is a tapestry of service, commitment, and leadership in both Vicksburg and beyond.

James Worth Bagley College of Engineering
Jay Wileman

Jay Wileman

Jay Wileman of Wilmington, NC, is a prominent figure in the engineering domain, currently serving as the President & CEO at GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. Born in Downey, CA, but having grown up in Gattman, MS, Jay embarked on his educational journey at MSU after being captivated by nuclear engineering during his senior year of high school. He graduated in 1987 and has since carved an illustrious path.

Before his appointment in 2015, Jay held various pivotal roles within GE. Notably, in 2009, he led GE Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa, spearheading oil, gas, power generation, and grid modernization projects. Throughout his 29-year tenure with GE, he’s navigated diverse leadership positions in the U.S., Japan, Italy, Australia, and South Africa, initially starting as a nuclear fuel engineer at Southern Nuclear.

Jay's connection to MSU extends beyond his student years. A 2007 BCoE Distinguished Fellow, he's been instrumental in supporting scholarships, notably the Winfred & Joyce Wileman Family Legacy Scholarship. Furthermore, Jay actively champions recruiting initiatives for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, emphasizing MSU talent, and routinely organizes MSU BCoE alumni meetings in Wilmington.

Beyond his corporate achievements, Jay is deeply entrenched in community service. He has championed STEM outreach through GE Hitachi Nuclear and has notably served as the chairman of the United Way campaign committee and the American Heart Association Heartwalk.

Married for 34 years, Jay cherishes his family life with three daughters and two granddaughters, testifying to a balanced life of professional excellence and personal fulfillment.

College of Forest Resources
Jim Inglis

Jim Inglis

Jim Inglis, hailing from Upper Sandusky, Ohio, embodies dedication to the environment and wildlife conservation. Growing up on a dairy farm in the Finger Lakes Region of NY, Jim’s intrinsic fascination with hunting, natural resources, and agriculture was nurtured, eventually leading him to pursue higher education. He earned an undergraduate degree from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse and further deepened his expertise with a master’s in wildlife management from Mississippi State University (MSU). It was at MSU that Dr. George Hurst, known for his iconic Wild Turkey research, influenced Jim’s academic trajectory. He later collaborated closely with Dr. Wes Burger, acquiring insights into Farm Bill conservation programs and private lands management for wildlife.

Today, Jim is recognized as the Director of Government Affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. A committed 22-year veteran of "The Habitat Organization," he amplifies the organization's state and national advocacy endeavors. Jim's diverse roles, ranging from chapter volunteer to government affairs representative, have poised him for success in his current leadership capacity.

Jim's commitment to wildlife and habitat conservation reverberates outside his primary role. Notably, he was recently inducted as a Professional Member of the prestigious Boone and Crockett club. He also serves on the American Wildlife Conservation Partners steering committee, a role bestowed upon him by peer election, illustrating his industry-wide respect.

Beyond his professional commitments, Jim enjoys life in NW Ohio with his wife, Miranda, their two sons, Nash and Kade, and bird dogs. He remains an active community volunteer, assisting local farmers and landowners with implementing conservation practices, hosting youth events, and sharing his love for hunting and conservation - a passion that has only intensified over the years.

College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. John Rehak

Dr. John Rehak

Dr. John Rehak of Mobile, Alabama, boasts over two decades in the animal health industry. Before his esteemed tenure with Merck Animal Health, he received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Loyola University, Maryland, then obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and finally earned a Master of Business Administration focusing on finance from Tulane University,

Upon launching his professional journey, Dr. Rehak melded clinical practice with business acumen. He rendered his services in small animal medicine in a New Orleans-based private practice. Progressing through the industry ranks, he took on multifaceted roles, navigating marketing, brand and product management, technical services, sales training, and technical marketing.

Dr. Rehak's commitment to the veterinary realm isn't limited to corporate contributions. He actively imparts his knowledge and experience as a member of the curriculum advisory committee for the Veterinary Technology Program at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Areas that capture his professional interest span dermatology, parasitology, veterinary business, and the intersections of economics and marketing.

Outside the professional sphere, Dr. Rehak, alongside his wife, Jennifer, cherishes a tranquil life in Mobile with their three rescue dogs and a bird. A man of diverse passions, he revels in inshore saltwater fishing, biking, and reading. Notably, he possesses a penchant for collecting first-edition books.