Mississippi College

The Royces Named Recipients of Mississippi College Award of Excellence

September 28, 2012

A tribute to their ten years of extraordinary service to Mississippi College, President Lee Royce and his wife, Rhoda, will receive the Award of Excellence at the Christian university’s 2012 Homecoming this fall.

The Royces have worked hard to boost the nation’s second oldest Baptist college on a number of fronts – from finances to facilities and academic programs. The 5,145-student Christian university has seen enrollment jump by 60 percent since their arrival in 2002.

“Dr. and Mrs. Royce have certainly earned the recognition which they are receiving at Homecoming,” says School of Nursing Dean Mary Jean Padgett. “Their leadership, hard work and unwavering faith have guided Mississippi College to strengthen academic quality, and to improve financial and physical resources.”

The Royces will be among the Homecoming award-winners at a special dinner on Friday October 26 at Anderson Hall starting at 6 p.m.

In late August, MC faculty and staff saluted President Royce and his wife, Rhoda, at the university’s convocation to open the institution’s 187th academic year.

At the event, MC trustee Andy Taggart detailed a few of the many accomplishments under Royce’s watch over the past decade.

--The operating budget of the institution is up by 70 percent.

--The university’s long-term debt decreased by 90 percent.

--The MC endowment is up by 83 percent.

--Graduate school enrollment has tripled.

A construction boom at Mississippi College this year has included the building of a new three-story parking garage and bookstore in Olde Towne Clinton. The bookstore features Pimento’s café and upstairs lofts for ten graduate students. A new science building, including a cadaver lab, will be open for classes in early 2013.

Last fall, Royce and other MC leaders wrapped up the university’s “Growing the Vision” campaign that raised $87.4 million for academic programs, the endowment, facilities and scholarships. The original campaign goal announced in September 2006 was $65 million.

As Royce begins his 11th season, Taggart says “his leadership has been bold and visionary.”

School of Science and Mathematics Dean Dr. Stan Baldwin says the new award for Lee and Rhoda Royce is well-deserved.

“Dr. Royce’s vision for academic excellence in a Christ-centered campus culture has led MC to unparalleled growth, both in student numbers and the quality of education,” Dr. Baldwin said.

During the August convocation, Dr. Royce expressed his appreciation to Mississippi College trustees, the senior management team, faculty, staff and others for contributing to the university’s success. “It’s been a wonderful ten years.”

MC’s success is getting noticed in national publications. In September, “U.S. News & World Report” rated Mississippi College among the South’s top 30 regional universities.

The Royces join other Homecoming award-winners including Dr. Dan W. Jones, the University of Mississippi chancellor and former MC trustee, who was named the university’s 2012 Alumnus of the Year.

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