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ֱ Horticulture Club grows new Excellence Endowment

Contact: Vanessa Beeson

STARKVILLE, Miss.—As summer nears full bloom across ֱ's campus, a new opportunity has emerged for students passionate about flowering plants.

Pictured from left are Will Staggers, ֱ Foundation director of development; Madelyn Gresham, a spring 2024 graduate from Naperville, Illinois, who served as 2023-24 ֱ Horticulture Club president; Wesley Rainey, a spring 2024 graduate from Hattiesburg who served as the 2023-24 club greenhouse manager; and Richard Harkess, club faculty adviser, in the Dorman Hall greenhouse.
Pictured from left are Will Staggers, ֱ Foundation director of development; Madelyn Gresham, a spring 2024 graduate from Naperville, Illinois, who served as 2023-24 ֱ Horticulture Club president; Wesley Rainey, a spring 2024 graduate from Hattiesburg who served as the 2023-24 club greenhouse manager; and Richard Harkess, club faculty adviser, in the Dorman Hall greenhouse. (Photo by Dominique Belcher)

The ֱ Horticulture Club recently announced the establishment of an endowed fund supporting undergraduate horticulture activities and scholarships, a testament to the club’s commitment to nurturing academic excellence and fostering the next generation of horticulturalists.

The ֱ Horticulture Club Excellence Endowment represents a significant milestone in the club's journey, made possible through the hard work of past and present club members. With an initial pledge of $25,000, the endowment is poised to provide vital financial support to undergraduate students pursuing horticulture studies in the ֱ College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Dating back to its inception as the Mississippi A&M Horticultural Society in 1921, the ֱ Horticulture Club is a beacon for students eager to explore the world of plants and cultivation. Over the decades, it evolved into a dynamic community where students come together to share their love for horticulture, engage in hands-on learning experiences and make a lasting impact on their surroundings.

Spring 2024 graduates Wesley Rainey of Hattiesburg, a horticulture and food science, nutrition and health promotion double major, and Madelyn Gresham of Naperville, Illinois, a horticulture major and 2023-24 club president, worked with faculty advisor Richard Harkess and the ֱ Foundation to establish the endowment. Both Rainey and Gresham previously served the club as greenhouse managers.

“Participating in the setup of this endowment was a big deal for me. I credit a lot of my academic accomplishments to ֱ Horticulture Club. The experience I gained in my time as greenhouse manager and president has opened a lot of doors for me, and I wanted to ensure that students get the same opportunities for years to come,” Gresham said. “I’m excited that this year’s members will leave such a lasting impression on the club and university. I hope this endowment will allow future students to take advantage of all the ֱ horticulture program has to offer.”

For more information on the ֱ Horticulture Club and the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences’ horticulture major, visit and . If you are interested in supporting the endowment, contact Harkess at richard.harkess@msstate.edu or 662-325-4456, or Will Staggers at wstaggers@foundation.msstate.edu or 662-769-8822.

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