Office of Alumni Development

Meet our 2015 Candidates

Electoral Position: President
Michael Smith' 77
Read Bio
Larry Anderson' 87
Read Bio
Electoral Position: Vice-President
Clarence Smith' 76
Read Bio
  Leanne Moore' 89
  Read Bio
Electoral Position: Recording Secretary
Lynitta Watson-Balu '94
Read Bio
Gail James '85
Read Bio
Electoral Position: Chaplain
  Percy Bruce'59
  Read Bio
Chase Carr'13
Read Bio
Electoral Position: Parliamentarian
Oreler Murry ’60
Read Bio



Electoral Position: President

Michael Smith's Bio
Michael Joseph Smith, a resident of Olive Branch, Mississippi graduated from Hernando High School in 1972, he received his Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education from Rust College in 1977. In 1991 he received his Ed.S in Supervision & Education Leadership from the University of Mississippi. In 1988-89 he served as President of the Memphis-Rust College Alumni Club-under his leadership they received the alumni club of the year.

Michael is also an active member with the DeSoto County Metro Rust College Alumni Chapter. Mr. Smith is a veteran educator of 30 years, having served in the capacity as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, and student support services coordinator. He has worked in the DeSoto County Schools, North Panola Schools, Memphis City Schools, and currently with Shelby County School District as Principal at Hope Academy, a transition school providing academic instruction for teens detained in Shelby County Juvenile Court.

A former Vice-Chairman of the Desoto County Democratic Party, and a past board member of the Mississippi Democratic Party Executive Committee. Mr. Smith is founder and President of the DeSoto County African-American History Symposium. In 2011 he received the Trailblazer Award among distinguished African-Americans in DeSoto County. He mentors youth in DeSoto County through Saving Our Sons-Mississippi. Michael attends Life Fellowship Church in Southaven.

He is Basileus of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Psi Mu Mu Chapter, a member of Phi Mu Alpha, Sinfonia Fraternity, and a Master Mason. Michael is a motivational speaker, and a political advocate. Michael was a candidate for the Southaven Board of Alderman, Ward 6 in 2009, and ran unsuccessfully for the State Senate District 19 in 2012. Mr. Smith has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career.

He was selected as an outstanding young man of America in 1981. In 1999 he was elected the first African-American male ever to serve as President of the Shelby County Education Association. He also served as West Tennessee Administrator on the Tennessee Education Association Board of Directors from 2000-2004. Most recently he was named DeSoto County’s NAACP Community Activist’s of the year. One of his favorite quotes is... Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Mr. Smith is the father of one adult son Phillip

Larry Anderson's Bio

Mr. Anderson is a Life Member of the Rust College International Alumni Association. He graduated from Rust with a B.S. in Physical Education and minor in Psychology (Cum). He also earned a M.S. from the University of Mississippi in Ed Leadership, Higher Education. While a student at Rust, he was elected and served as SGA President, Director of Gaston Hall, Living and Learning Center, worked in the cafeteria, member and captain of the Basketball Team, student-worker at the physical plant, served as orientation leader for new students, member of the Omega Psi Fraternity, organized voter registration drives, Aquatics Director of the National Youth Sports Program, worked in the president's office and served as a driver, and served as class leader (1987) for Rust College.

While employed at Rust, Mr. Anderson served as Director of Student Activities (Cultural, recreational, intramural fraternities and sororities), Associate Director of Athletics, Assistant Basketball Coach, and he has served as Educational Talent Search Counselor. Mr. Anderson is very well known to the community of Holly Springs. He was elected two terms and served as Alderman (Ward I), served as Assistant Boy Scoutmaster, former member of Asbury United Methodist Church, organized UNCA 10K Run/5K Walk (raised more than $1,000.00), and he was elected and served on the Northeast Board of Directors of the Mississippi Local Elected Officials.

Mr. Anderson worked at MIT for 20 years as of this past July 1, 2014. While employed at MIT, Anderson worked as Assistant Professor and Head Basketball Coach, Director of Club Sports (approximately 80 coaches/instructors & 900 athletes-students, faculty, staff, spouses and alums),Director of the MIT Summer Day Camp (responsible for more than 1,000 campers and approximately 90 staff members), Housemaster of Tang Hall (provided leadership and programming for approximately 400 students, and organized and raised more than $239,000 to start an endowment for the MIT Basketball Program (it's still growing).

Also, at MIT Mr. Anderson served on the MLK Committee (Chair of the awards committee), Chair of the hiring and promotions committee, served on curriculum development committee, member of Senior Staff in the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation, prepared and presented reports to the Visiting Committee, speaker at president’s convocation, and member of the department’s management team.

Mr. Anderson is a member of several professional organizations such as: NCAA Northeast Advisory Committee, National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), Board Directors of the Cambridge Family YMCA (Chair of Program Committee), Black Coaches Association, Faculty Admissions Reader, and has served as class leader (1987) at Rust College. He is married to Dawn who is an alumna from Rust College. Together, they have contributed gifts to Rust College. They have a son, Paul, who is currently a student at Rust College.

Electoral Position: Vice-President

Clarence Smith's Bio

Rev. Smith is a native of Tupelo, MS and is currently serving as Registrar of Rust College. Beginning in 1982, he also served the College as Assistant Director of Upward Bound, Director of Upward Bound, Director of Admissions and Records, and Director of Institutional Research. He was ordained as a minister in 2003 at Rising Star M.B. Church, Tupelo, MS, and was installed as pastor of Yates Chapel M.B. Church on March 14, 2004.

He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi in 1981. In 2006, Smith received a Master of Arts in Religion from Memphis Theological Seminary. He was one of the recipients honored in Trademark Who’s Who in Higher Education 2014 edition. Rev. Smith has served in various organizations at local and national levels.

President of the Tupelo Rust Club; Member of Mississippi Association of Colleges and Registrars and Admission Offices, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Phi, and Chairperson of Tupelo/Lee County UNCF. He was chosen for Outstanding Young Men of America-1981. He is married to the former Ms.Mearion Adams from Tupelo, and they are the proud parents of 2 lovely daughters, Amelia Lorin Smith and ClaRenica Monique Smith.

Leanne Moore's Bio

Ms. Moore received a B.S. Degree in Business Administration and Computer Science in 1989 from Rust College. She is a daughter of a Rust Alum from the Class of 1954. In 1994, Moore was rewarded Business Woman of the Year by Pasadena Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. She received her Real Estate license in the state of California in 1996 and later received her Real Estate license in Nevada in 2006.

Ms. Moore is a faithful member of First A.M.E. Church in Pasadena, California and serves on the Senior Usher Board. Moore is also an associate member of Foundation of Hope A.M.E. Church located in Henderson, Nevada and serves on the usher board. Ms. Moore currently serves as 2013-2015 President of Los Angeles Chapter of Rust College Alumni Association.

Electoral Position: Recording Secretary

Lynnita Watson-Balu's Bio

Mrs. Balu is a native and resident of Jackson, MS. She graduated from Rust College in 1994 and received a degree in Business Administration: Accounting. She is an active member of Jackson-Hinds Rust Alumni Club where she. As a member of the Jackson-Hinds Rust Alumni Club, currently serves as Historian/Social Media Chairperson, but has served as secretary in the past.

Mrs. Balu is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is an active member of the Alumnae Chapter in Jackson, MS.  She is an active church member at Cade Chapel M.B. Church.

At Cade Chapel, she has served as Nate Ruffin Scholarship Board Past Secretary, Voices of Love-Community Organizer/Chair of the MLK interdenominational Mass Choir Concert, Past President, Secretary, Past Assistant Director of the Youth Department, and the advisor of Youth 4 Christ Dance Ministry. Mrs. Balu is happily married and a mother of three.

Gail James' Bio

Gail James is a Life Member of the Rust College International Alumni Association. She has been employed with the Social Security Administration since graduating from Rust in 1985. Gail has held several positions with her employer including claims representative, operations supervisor, operations analysts, field office manager and currently program policy analyst. Gail has held offices and chaired various events as a current and active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Chicago Community Chorus, Chicago Music Association, New Covenant M.B. Church, Rust College Club of Chicago, and Modern Orchestra Project.

Electoral Position: Chaplain

Percy Bruce's Bio

Mr. Bruce is a retired teacher with the South Panola School System where he taught for 32 years. He is active with the Democratic Party, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Job Corps. He serves as substitute teacher, and serves on the Deacon Board at West Camp Baptist). Mr. Bruce is a loyal supporter of Rust College and currently serves as president of the Rust College Panola County Alumni Chapter. He received a Master of Education Degree from the University of Mississippi.

Chase Carr's Bio

Mr. Carr is a 2013 graduate of Rust College. During his tenure at Rust College, Mr. Carr served as President of the Earnest A. & Milverta Smith Honors Program for two consecutive years (2010-2011, 2011-2012), Chaplain of the Pre-Alumni Club, President of the Student Government Association during the 2012- 2013 school year. From 2010-
2011, Carr was the Assistant Events Coordinator for the Student Government Association, and the following year (2011-2012) he became the Events Coordinator for the Student Government Association.

Mr. Carr is a member of Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society; Chi Bet Phi National Science Honor Society, Who’s Who Among American College Students, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Rust College International Alumni Association; Beulah Grove Missionary Baptist Church (Leland, MS). He volunteers as a mentor at Beulah Grove Missionary Baptist Church (Leland, MS), Rust College Sponsored Events – Founders’ Celebrations & Reunion of Reunions; Class Leader - Class of 2013 Endowed Scholarship Project. Mr. Carr is a microbiologist at Baxter Healthcare Inc. in Cleveland, Miss. He is pursuing a Master’s degree in Natural Science at Delta State University.

Electoral Position: Parliamentarian

Oreler Dillard Murry

Ms. Murry is a retired principal at Detroit Public School System. Relocated to Memphis, TN. Very active with the Memphis Rust Club, Mt. Pisgah CME Church-Memphis, Melrose Alumni Association, volunteer at the National Civil Rights museum, and former Grizzlie Granny Dancer. She works part-time as a tax preparer for Dillard-Dillard Business Service. Ms. Curry has served as International Alumni Association President, and has served as Vice President Region #2 (TN, KY, and NC).



Contact Us

Dr. David L. Beckley

(662) 252-8000 ext. 4015


Dr. Ishmell Edwards
Vice President, College Relations

(662) 252-8000 ext. 4012
Ms. Jo Ann Scott
Director of Development & Alumni Development
(662) 252-8000 ext. 4013
Mrs. Margie Green,
MI Graduate
Assistant Alumni Development Director

(662) 252-8000 ext. 4913
Ms. Kimberly Woods
Admin. Assistant, PR/ Alumni Affairs

(662) 252-8000 ext. 4911