Student Public Service Leaders Programs
The MSU Distinguished Scholars Program began in 2006 with the merger of the Schillig Leadership Scholarship, endowed by the Schillig Foundation in 1987, and The Presidential Endowed Scholarship, established in 2001. It now encompasses 18 endowed scholarships worth approximately $50,000. It represents MSU’s most outstanding students.
In the spring, a multi-day trip to one of the nation’s great cities exposes students to cultural and historical sites. The Stennis Center has helped connect students with political leaders on trips to Washington, D.C. (2008, 2011), Chicago (2009), Little Rock (2010) and Atlanta (2012).
The Atlanta program began with a tour of the Carter Presidential Library and Museum. Lunch featured former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia who discussed his Nuclear Threat Initiative and recalled his relationship with Senator Stennis and Stacey Abrams, a Mississippi native and Truman Scholar who is now the Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives. The program gave the students the opportunity to think about how they might be involved in providing public service leadership through their careers or through volunteer efforts.
The Stennis-Montgomery Association (SMA) is a student organization at Mississippi State University that encourages students of every background and academic discipline to participate in politics. The SMA serves as a resource for students who want to register to vote and get involved in the political process of their community and nation. Throughout the year, the SMA sponsors various speakers on campus and provides workshops that guide students through the application process for internship positions in Washington, D.C. and other places.
Each year, approximately 30 of the most active members of the Stennis-Montgomery Association take a trip to Washington, D.C. The Stennis Center for Public Service always organizes a luncheon for the SMA students to interact with the congressional delegation from Mississippi. The event is usually in March, except in presidential inauguration years when it occurs in January. The annual luncheon for 2013 was held on Tuesday, January 22, at the U.S. Capitol in conjunction with the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.