Mississippi College

Dr. John Legg to be Honored at Homecoming

October 17, 2007

Mississippi College will unveil a new bronze bust of Dr. John Legg on the Clinton campus at ceremonies to salute the longtime chemistry department chairman.

The dedication at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at 1 p.m. Saturday is part of a slew of activities attracting thousands of visitors to MC's Homecoming weekend. Distinguished MC art professor Sam Gore crafted the bust of Legg, his longtime friend and colleague.

A former Choctaws football player and MC alum, Legg worked as a faculty member at his alma mater from 1960 until 2000. He's helped boost external research grants to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to a total of $2.3 million over the last ten years. "He'd credited with getting us in the direction we are going now," said Jerry Cannon, the department chairman who succeeded Legg.

Stan Baldwin, the dean of the School of Science and Mathematics, also poured on the praise. "Dr. Legg has spent decades serving as a role model for both students and faculty, as an outstanding teacher and scholar. His influence will be felt for generations," he said. "Mississippi College is in Dr. Legg's debt for his tireless service and dedication to our educational community."

Legg, who lives in Clinton, will be on hand for the event, along with President Lee Royce, Gore and a host of admirers. Legg, 71, a 1958 MC alumnus and his wife, Betty, who also graduated from MC that year with a bachelor's degree in religious education, are both delighted about the MC tribute from colleagues and former students.

"I'm humbled and honored,'' Legg said when reached at his home Thursday. "It's always good to be appreciated."

Besides being an outstanding chemist who received a master's and Ph.D in chemistry from the University of Florida, Legg has faithfully served his alma mater in other ways. The Drew native briefly wore another hat as interim MC athletic director for a few months during the 1980s.

His friendship with Sam Gore goes back six decades. Gore recalls knowing Legg since he and his brother Bill were fourth graders in Drew, Mississippi. A 1951 MC graduate, Gore remembers Legg as a talented halfback on the Choctaws football team and top student who went onto an exemplary career as an MC professor.

"It is to me a great privilege to sculpt and cast in bronze, in our own MC foundry, a portrait of him," Gore said. "I must say that a college art professor is better for having colleagues such as John. At MC, having such friends is a certainty."

The MC chemistry department grew during Legg's chairmanship of two decades. Today, there are 90 students listed as chemistry majors.

The bust to honor one of MC's own is just one of the activities for the chemistry department this week. Workers in recent days have installed the carpet and drapes and put finishing touches on a new chemistry conference room thanks to an anonymous gift. The room will be used for seminars and small classes.

In the same building Saturday, alumni, faculty and friends of the departments of biology, chemistry, computer science and physics are invited to a joint reception at 1:30 p.m. at the MCC lobby.

The event comes 30 minutes before the Choctaws' 2 p.m. kick-off with Mary Hardin-Baylor at Robinson-Hale Stadium.

Other Homecoming events, include Friday's open house for the School of Business to show off $1.2 million in renovations at Self Hall. It begins at 4:30 p.m. The Follies is booked for 6 p.m. Friday at Swor Auditorium. Tickets cost $5.

Saturday's activities include separate receptions at 1 p.m. at the Art Department and Music Department. There's a 12:30 p.m. Homecoming parade, MC women's soccer game at 1 p.m. at Longabaugh Field followed by a men's soccer game at 3 p.m., among other things. For more information, go to www.mc.edu/alumni.

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