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9/21/2010 - Jackson, Miss.

Higher education presidents, faculty and staff will explore the theme, "Empowering Leadership, Citizenship and Service," at the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities Conference, which will be held at the Mississippi State University Riley Center in Meridian on Monday, October 4 and Tuesday, October 5. The 77th annual MAC conference is hosted by East Central Community College in cooperation with Meridian Community College and Mississippi State University Meridian Campus.

Highlights of the conference include the Halbrook Awards Luncheon, which recognizes colleges and universities that maintain and achieve high academic standards for student athletes and succeed in improving graduation rates. Sharon Fanning-Otis, head coach of the Mississippi State University women's basketball team, will speak at the luncheon. The award was endowed by former Mississippi Representative David Halbrook and his brothers in honor of their parents.

Mississippi native Clifton Taulbert, known nationally for his commitment to community building and dedication to ensuring organizational effectiveness at all levels, will deliver the keynote address. East Central Community College president Dr. Phil Sutphin, who serves as the 2009-2010 president of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities, will welcome visitors with remarks at the beginning of the conference.

"I would encourage all leaders in higher education to attend the 77th annual MAC conference," said Dr. Sutphin. "From the Halbrook Luncheon to the nationally-recognized speakers, the conference will give us the opportunity to discuss the issues and challenges facing Mississippi's community colleges, colleges and universities."

Other speakers include State Economist Dr. Darin Webb and political observers Andy Taggert, Jere Nash and Sid Salter. Sessions will cover a variety of topics, including social media issues in school, critical thinking, school technology, National Incident Management System (NIMS), service learning, articulation agreements and women in higher education. The conference concludes on Tuesday evening with a jazz concert by nationally renowned jazz musician David Sanborn in the Riley Center Grand Opera House.

Members may register at ecccmac.mybigcommerce.com or www.mississippi.edu/mac.

Founded in 1921, MAC promotes goodwill among the state's public universities, community and junior colleges and independent colleges and universities. The MAC organization offers an opportunity for all sectors of Mississippi higher education to network, share concerns and discuss common goals. The conference is open to all MAC members, including college and university presidents, chief academic officers, chief student affairs officer, faculty and administrators.

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