COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women will award Medals of Excellence to five outstanding recipients at its winter commencement Friday, Dec. 7 in Rent Auditorium, Whitfield Hall, 2 p.m. Awarded since 1979, the Medal of Excellence is the university’s highest non-degree honor.
The December 2012 awards are made in recognition of exemplary service to MUW following the disastrous 2002 F-3 tornado that struck campus, damaging many historic buildings and destroying others.
MUW gratefully recognizes former Sen. Trent Lott, a 2007 Medal of Excellence recipient, who provided invaluable assistance throughout the recovery process and ensured the scope of damages to the Art and Design Building were fully addressed.
The university also will present awards to the following:
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, who provided immediate response to the disaster, expanding the scope of the 2002 3rd Extraordinary Session to provide matching funds for disaster assistance. Gov. Musgrove signed HB 20 on Nov. 18, just eight days after the tornado.
Robert Latham, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, who not only led the state’s response, but who assisted MUW in documenting the scope of damages following his retirement from that role.
Paul Barlow, director of the Mississippi Bureau of Buildings (retired), who provided expertise, professional referrals and assistance in facilitating the recovery process.
The City of Columbus and Lowndes County, whose leaders worked hand-in-hand with university officials to coordinate local disaster response and provide direct assistance to campus even as they responded to needs in the larger community.
Columbus Air Force Base, a good community partner and among the first to provide assistance with more than 190 pairs of boots on the ground, as well as equipment such as dump trucks and front-end loaders to begin clean-up and recovery.
MUW President Jim Borsig said, "We are grateful for the enormous support provided by community and state officials in coming to the aid of MUW, and we are pleased to recognize their efforts with one of our highest honors."