Interstate 20/59 southbound, a few miles west of York, AL, August 1988. "Mississippi Welcomes You!"
My family and I are moving, and this is the last state line to cross. My first driver's license will be a Mississippi license, my high school diploma a Mississippi high school diploma. At least I'll finally be in the Saints home TV market...
I learned a lot about friendship, caring, and society living in MS, and I cherish those I know in the state today. In my sincerely held beliefs, I feel it Providential that my humanity was improved by my short time there. But, needless to say as teenager, I entered the state that day with an eye toward the day I'd leave.
But how? Then later on, how can I leave going towards something instead of away from something? An encounter at Ole Miss changed my life, and it wasn't the Grove or the Archie Manning-inspired 18 mph signs or the Lyceum, nice as all that is.
Eleventh grade and I'm submitting a "paper" to a high school conference at Oxford. My first dorm experience. One of the tours takes me to the Electrical Engineering department and a setup of a radar system with an oscilloscope. This is the moment I decided I was to be a Ph.D. I asked the professor about in-state tuition for grad school and was informed that in general, grad school for the sciences pays you, not the other way around. The tumblers click in my brain, and the escape route is opened.
Or, more correctly, this encounter at Ole Miss provided my career trajectory. (I'm not an EE but I am an IEEE member.) A talk with former Governor Mabus locked the trajectory in, but that's another story.
Friends of Vanderbilt, let us celebrate the good services provided by our state university bretheren in (and just outside) the SEC (e.g., USM) Several of us come from the SEC footprint and have benefitted before, during, and after our college years. Let's collectively pay Oxford a visit and bestow on them our best efforts on the football field. Anchor Down.