overlook the contribution to academia from state institutions like MSU and innovative workforce development education from places like East Mississippi Community College?
It seems like MSU is pioneering something new every week and I would know, because we have to write about it.
EMCC also seems miles ahead of other institutions in how it continually finds new ways to marry formal education with professional development for local businesses.
Attendees also got to hear the story of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library on the MSU campus. It's a distinction only Starkville, Mississippi can claim and one that will help to change the perception of academia in the state for years to come. Scholars will come from all around to visit the library and the Lincoln collection, and there's no telling what else they may stay and do, just because Mississippi lured them here.
In athletics, Mississippi may not be next in line to host the Super Bowl, but in the Golden Triangle alone, we have a SEC institution whose teams consistently play on national television and a wildly-successful junior college football program turned into the subject of a Netflix series.
These stories, told by the personalities that lived them, underscore the grit and determination of the people that live here.
A common thread speaks to me from all of these stories, which is the humility and willingness to be overlooked at times, but a tenacity to do something about it. That's Mississippi.
The athletic accomplishments at Mississippi State and EMCC are uniquely southern in what they are doing for the state. It's showing Mississippi is a competitor.
I know it is just a game, but in 50 years, who are we more likely to remember: a football coach that won a handful of national championship rings or a politician who said something appalling?
In my home state of Alabama, the legacy
of Bear Bryant outlasted many-a volatile policymaker. I'm not saying athletics is the most important thing, but one can't deny how our identities are shaped by it and what it does for our own personal narratives.
We have an ocean of stories to tell in Mississippi, but those voices can easily be taken for granted in a world where news moves so fast. It is important we turn inward and look to build up our successes, instead of laboring under the false narrative that the rest of the world is passing us by.
The state's identity has evolved into an even more complex form and we must work now to take control of our own narrative, with the hope that we will thrive in our own southern way and broadcast to the world that Mississippi is ready for the future.
Ryan Phillips is the executive editor of the Starkville Daily News. The views expressed in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the newspaper or its staff.