Alumni Recruitment Network Volunteer Spotlights

Through the Mississippi State Alumni Recruitment Network, any Bulldog can make an impact on future generations by sharing their MSU experiences and passion with prospective students, like these impactful volunteers have.

Patsy L. Fowlkes
B.S. biochemistry, 1974
Retired pharmaceutical sales professional

MSU Alumni Recruitment Network Participation: Maroon Mail Writers
“I volunteer because I believe it is important that students from the Greater Chattanooga area know that there are local alumni who care about their choice of schools. My first letter is really “generic.” I welcome them to join our Bulldog family, and encourage them to visit campus and to enjoy their senior year in high school. My second letter is specific to their major and college of interest.

“My third letter comes after they have committed and enrolled. I welcome them to our Bulldog family and inform them about the upcoming Send-Off Party. Of course, I keep communicating with them about the Send-Off Party, and this year I had three students who communicated back to me, so I got their mailing addresses. I try to send them a note or a card every few weeks. Especially this year, I wanted them to know they are supported by their alumni chapter.”

Memorable Recruitment Story: Several years ago, there were twins attending Baylor School in Chattanooga. While we learned of them fairly late in the recruiting process, in February, we contacted them, got them on campus, and both decided to attend Mississippi State. Both graduated in May 2020 and were successful in finding employment. Their parents have remained “active friends” of our chapter.


Tyler Ellis
B.S. history, 2012
Attorney, U.S. Department of Agriculture

MSU Alumni Recruitment Network Participation: Student Recruiter for the Washington, D.C. Alumni Chapter

“Volunteering allows me to connect with other Bulldogs in the nation’s capital who love MSU as much as I do. I’m able to meet incoming freshmen and their families at the Send-Off party, which really is the best event of the year.”

Memorable Recruitment Story: It was actually unofficial. I was eating at a Thai restaurant downtown and a woman at the table next to me was talking to her friend about her daughter who wanted to major in history and recently visited MSU. I politely interrupted and we went on to have a great conversation about Starkville, MSU, the history department and its amazing faculty. You’re never off the clock when it comes to recruiting for Mississippi State.


Blaire Wilson
B. S. mathematics, 2012;
MPPA, 2013

Associate Director, Honor Council and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Emory College, Emory University

MSU Alumni Recruitment Network Participation: Maroon Mail Writers and Student Recruiting Chair for the Atlanta, GA Alumni Chapter

“Writing letters is a great way to promote your chapter and support your university at the same time. I often tell people to imagine being a prospective student and getting actual mail, addressed to you, and inside a handwritten note from a Bulldog saying, “We want you!” You can’t convince me that it doesn’t have a positive impact on that student. As a professional in higher education, I recognize the importance of showing prospective students that when they choose Mississippi State they aren’t just a number, they are family and as a member of that family, I can’t wait to congratulate them on their admission.

“Throughout the last few years, I have organized Sip & Scribe events for the Atlanta Chapter. This year, I coordinated a team of 10 amazing volunteers to assist with letter writing season, nearly 600 letters sent to students! To respect social distancing, I have produced letter writing care packages for volunteers and arranged contactless deliveries and pickups across the Atlanta area.”

Memorable Recruitment Story: This year, I dropped a batch of cards in the mail. A week later an email came in from a prospective student just beaming about how they just had their campus visit and how they were blown away by their experience. They wrote, “It immediately felt like home.” I knew exactly the feeling they were describing, and I can’t wait to hopefully meet this student at our 2021 Send-Off Party.


Danielle Whelan Gaudé
B.S. office administration, 1991
Administrative Assistant for the Department of Music, Mississippi
State University

MSU Alumni Recruitment Network Participation: Maroon Mail Writers

“I’m a third generation Bulldog and my son just graduated in November as the fourth. My husband, a 1989 graduate, and I moved to Starkville in January 2020 and I wanted to do something to influence future students to come to MSU. I searched on the Alumni Association website for a way to volunteer. There are several different opportunities through fairs and events, but with my schedule they were not feasible. Then I saw Maroon Mail Writers. I loved the idea of sending personal, handwritten notes to prospective students. I hope that receiving an actual letter demonstrates the personal touch that another email, text or social media post cannot.”

Memorable Recruitment Story: I include my name and personal email address in all the letters I send. I haven’t heard back from anyone directly, but if I’ve influenced just one of the many students I’ve written to come to MSU then I’m happy!


Jake Donald
B.S. psychology, 2006
Major Gifts Officer, Office of Development, University of MS Medical Center

MSU Alumni Recruitment Network Participation: Maroon Mail Writers

“It’s important for future Bulldogs to hear the impact that MSU had on alumni so they are able to make the best decision for their futures. As a former enrollment professional, I know the value alumni experiences have on the pivotal decision that high school and transfer students make when choosing a college. Not only do students want to know they’ll have a positive college experience, more importantly they want to have the best chance to secure their intended career. When students hear from successful alumni, it gives them the confidence that Mississippi State will be instrumental in providing a clear path to a successful career.”

Memorable Recruitment Story: I had the privilege to represent MSU at a local awards ceremony, and one of the students receiving a scholarship found me at the conclusion of the ceremony to thank Mississippi State for providing this scholarship so that college would be made a reality. This first-generation college student had dreamed of going to MSU but knew it would be a financial struggle for her family to make that happen. With tears in both her and her parents’ eyes, they expressed their gratitude and asked if I would take a picture with them so they could freeze that memory forever.

For more information about becoming a bulldog volunteer, visit www.