By STEVEN NALLEY
This year, Mississippi State University is celebrating its birthday with a cowbell too heavy and delicious to ring.
Allison Noble, MSU Dining Services catering director, said her staff have created a giant cowbell-shaped cake for the celebration. At 4 feet in height, the cake contains 200 pounds of batter, she said.
“Our idea this year was to incorporate the theme, ‘This Is Our State,’” Noble said. “We decided to use a large cowbell and write ‘This Is Our State’ on the cowbell.”
The MSU Alumni Association will sponsor a celebration of MSU’s 134th anniversary 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday in the Junction.
The celebration is free and open to the public. In addition to the cake, hamburgers, chips, cookies, soft drinks and MSU ice cream will be served while supplies last.
Jimmy Abraham, MSU Alumni Association executive director, said the event celebrates the Mississippi legislature’s creation of the university on Feb. 28, 1878, as opposed to the date students first began attending or the passage of the Morrill Act of 1862 which empowered Mississippi and other states to create land-grant institutions.
“The birthday party is such a fun celebration for our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends each year,” Abraham said. “It is a great time for campus and the Starkville community to come together and celebrate the founding of our beloved university.”
Abraham said he came on board at the MSU Alumni Association seven years ago, and for the past six of those years, MSU has held anniversary parties. He said other MSU chapters elsewhere may have anniversary parties as well, but this is the only party he is aware of on campus.
“We had a great turnout at our party last year,” Abraham said. “We had over 2,500 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. We hope our 134th birthday party is even bigger.”
Abraham said crowds can also catch free anniversary T-shirts tossed from the Junction’s stage, where the band Big Poppa Strang will perform throughout the event. The band appears courtesy of Music Maker Productions and the Campus Activities Board, and its lead guitarist, Dale Robertson, also works with event services at MSU.
Robertson said his band specializes in classic rock covers from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, with some original music. He said the band first performed at the MSU anniversary celebration last year.
“That was the first year we did the birthday bash,” Robertson said. “We have done a number of events here on campus, but that was the first birthday bash we’ve done. I’m the only one in the band that’s a staff member... (but) we all love MSU. It’s fun to play outdoor events like (the anniversary celebration,) especially on a campus like MSU.”
Abraham said there are no firm rain plans for the celebration currently.
“We’re going to plan to go ahead with it outside,” Abraham said. “If it rains hard, we’ll find another location to serve the cake.”