COLUMBUS, Miss. – Dr. David L. Beckley, president of Rust College, will keynote a breakfast to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday, Jan. 15 at the Trotter Convention Center.

Events will begin with an 8 a.m. breakfast that is free and open to the public as long as space allows. Registration is available at

A graduate of Rust College and the University of Mississippi, Dr. Beckley is the longest tenured senior college president in Mississippi. Since accepting the presidency of Rust College, the College’s endowment fund has grown from $13 million to $36 million and reaffirmation of regional accreditation with Specialty Accreditation was received for the Department of Social Work by the Council on Social Work Education.

Among his recent awards are the Silver Beaver Award, Boy Scouts of America; Outstanding Education Alumni Award, University of Mississippi School of Education; Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education; Citizen of the Year, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; Service Award, NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association); and President of the Year, National Association of African American Honors Programs. Beckley is a U. S. Army Veteran with service in Vietnam 1970-71.

He and his wife, Dr. Gemma Douglas Beckley, have two daughters, Jacqueline B. Lampley, a public school teacher in Birmingham, Ala., and Dr. Lisa B. Roberts, an associate professor at Jackson State University.

The community collaboration involves the City of Columbus, the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mississippi University for Women, Sodexo Food Services and the United Way of Lowndes County.

United Way is accepting donations of cases of ravioli (pop top), cases of water and boxes of variety granola bars from the community for sack lunches. All lunches will be donated to the soup kitchen Loaves & Fishes.

Jan. 9, 2018


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