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Dr. Richard Holmes Receives Honorary Degree

STARKVILLE, Miss. ∼Richard Holmes, M.D., will receive the honorary doctor of science degree from his alma mater at the Spring Semester Commencement on Saturday, April 30.

Dr. Holmes, now a resident of Columbus, MS, is the first African American to attend MS State. He will receive an honorary doctorate for his contributions in the practice of medicine and for the expansion of educational opportunity in Mississippi. He currently practices in Columbus and Meridian.

A Starkville native, Dr. Holmes entered MS State in the summer of 1965. He went on to receive a general liberal arts degree in 1969 and a Master of Science degree in microbiology in 1972. He holds a doctor of medicine degree from Michigan State University.

Holmes's entry to MSU helped pave the way for African Americans and other minorities to attend MS State. The black student population that today is almost 3,900 strong, which is approximately 20 percent of the total enrollment. This also represents the largest proportion of black students at any other historically white land-grant institution in the nation.

The university has recognized Dr. Holmes for his achievement over the years. It named its cultural diversity center in his honor and, in 2006, selected him national alumnus of the year.

Dr. Holmes continues to give back to his alma mater. He and his wife Judy endowed a minority scholarship fund to be awarded annually.

The faculty in African American Studies and their affiliates at the university nominated Dr. Holmes for this honor.