Michigan State University Horticulture Club establishes a new Excellence Endowment

Displayed above are Will Staggers, MSU Foundation director of development; Madelyn Gresham, a spring 2024 graduate from Naperville, Illinois, who was the president of the MSU Horticulture Club for 2023-24; 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 MSU Horticulture Club has recently unveiled the creation of an enduring fund that backs undergraduate horticultural events and scholarships, showcasing the club’s dedication to fostering academic superiority and supporting future horticulturists.

The MSU Horticulture Club Excellence Endowment signifies a notable achievement in the club’s progress, made feasible through the dedication of both past and present club members. With an initial commitment of $25,000, this endowment stands ready to offer crucial financial aid to undergraduates pursuing horticulture studies within the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Sprouting from its roots as the Mississippi A&M Horticultural Society in 1921, the MSU Horticulture Club remains a guiding light for students keen on delving into the realms of plants and cultivation. Through the years, it has transformed into a lively community where students converge to share their passion for horticulture, engage in hands-on educational undertakings, and leave a lasting mark on their environment.

Graduates of the spring class of 2024, Wesley Rainey from Hattiesburg, specializing in horticulture and double majoring in food science, nutrition, and health promotion, and Madelyn Gresham of Naperville, Illinois, pursuing a major in horticulture and serving as the club president for 2023-24, collaborated with club faculty adviser Richard Harkess and the MSU Foundation to institute the endowment. Both Rainey and Gresham previously fulfilled the roles of greenhouse managers within the club.

“Playing a role in setting up this endowment meant a lot to me. I attribute much of my academic success to the MSU Horticulture Club. The knowledge I acquired during my tenure as a greenhouse manager and president has opened numerous doors for me, and I wanted to ensure that future students could benefit from the same opportunities for years to come,” expressed Gresham. “I am thrilled that this year’s members will leave a lasting legacy on the club and university. I trust that this endowment will enable future students to capitalize on all that the MSU horticulture program offers.”

For further details on the MSU Horticulture Club and the horticulture major in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, visit www.horticulture.org.msstate.edu and www.pss.msstate.edu/students/floriculture.php. Those interested in contributing to the endowment can reach out to 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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