School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applies Sciences convenes to close out the academic year

“Saddle Up! Denim and Diamonds” was the theme of the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences end of the academic year meeting Monday, May 9 in the Extension and Research Complex.

The school’s faculty, staff, administrators and alumni gathered in the Ray Johnson Assembly Center for a day of activities focused on planning, educational workshops, great food, music, fun and laughter. Many staff members adorned in their western attire were also surrounded by western decor: saddles, hay, cow bells and other western-style pastimes.

Dr. Ivory W. Lyles, dean and director, land-grant programs, welcomed the audience to the opportunity to “relax, enjoy the day and close out the school year.”

Amanda O’Quinn, the mistress of ceremonies, announced the program that included Lavada Hill, secretary for the Mississippi Small Farm and Agribusiness Center, singing the song, “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams, greetings by Casnasita Gray, student services coordinator, words of inspiration by Beatrice Owens, administrative assistant, “The AREAS Shuffle” a western-style line dance by Jacqueline Ford, Antoine Tenner, Dr. Ananda Nanjundaswami, Janice Harris, Randy Derby, Shalonda Brinkley, John Coleman, Velma Oliver, Rochelle Whitmore, Deshundrick Winston, Rachae’ Martin and Ricky Johnson.

During the three breakout sessions, administrative support staff received training on Banner document management suite from Accounts Payable and the CITS staff; hourly employees had an opportunity to discuss payroll issues and concerns with payroll staff; and educators, specialists and faculty had conversations with Dean Lyles and the School of AREAS alumni.

During the afternoon session all staff reconvened to hear Dean Lyles’s report, in which he discussed the School’s budget, talked about the leadership team’s work on planning new projects for the School, gave an update on building construction and renovations, and revealed that a committee will soon begin to plan a back-to-school retreat.

In his closing remarks, Lyles thanked the event’s planning committee, and emphasized the importance of teamwork and being on time.

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