MVSU & FedEx Logistics celebrate grand opening of satellite office, launch of HBCU program

ITTA BENA, Miss.— The atmosphere was festive Wednesday morning at Mississippi Valley State University as individuals came out to formally celebrate the grand opening of the MVSU FedEx Logistics satellite office and the launch of FedEx Logistics’ new Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program.

The event, hosted at 10 a.m. Sept. 4 at the MVSU Courtyard, was highlighted by a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The newly renovated satellite office was in peripheral view as representatives from MVSU and FedEx joined together to address the audience made up of MVSU employees, students, alumni, community members and special guests from FedEx.

The brief program was presided by MVSU’s Chief of Staff & Legislative Liaison Dr. La Shon F. Brooks, who led MVSU’s team during the implementation of the project.

Keynote speakers included MVSU President Dr. Jerryl Briggs, Senior Vice President/Chief Human Resources & Diversity Officer for FedEx Express Shannon Brown, and Vice President of U.S. Brokerage for FedEx Logistics Bethany Rochelau.

Briggs began by acknowledging MVSU students.

“Honestly, they’re the reason why we’re here. They’re the reason why the University is here,” he said. “Everything we do here is geared towards making our students successful, and we understand we couldn’t be successful as a University if we didn’t have a community of folks like we have here today.”

MVSU President Dr. Jerryl Briggs

Briggs said the collaboration speaks to the University’s eight-word vision— “One Goal. On Team. One Valley...In Motion.”

“This is an example of what we’re talking about—really building and growing our institution,” he said.

“There are approximately 100 HBCUs in the country, so I’m just so overjoyed and so proud that we are the first University to establish this partnership with FedEx Logistics,” he added.

Brown noted that MVSU students have been entrusted with the lofty task of connecting 90% of the world’s GDP by clearing packages that are flying across the globe.

Senior Vice President/Chief Human Resources & Diversity Officer for FedEx Express Shannon Brown

“Who would’ve ever thought that you could pull off something this big in Itta Bena, Mississippi?” Brown said as the audience applauded in response.

The satellite office is situated on MVSU’s campus across from the Jacob Aron Student in the former Student Annex Building. Renovations to the building were overseen by MVSU Director of Facilities Management Terrance Hurssey and members of his team.

To date, 36 of the 48 part-time positions available have been filled by MVSU students. In addition to receiving a competitive wage, students are also eligible to receive full benefits (after 90 days) and tuition assistance.

“We are committed to our students being successful,” said Briggs. “A partnership like this gives out student further employment opportunities and career pathways.”

Students working in the MVSU FedEx Logistics satellite office expressed gratitude for the opportunity.

Currently, 36 MVSU students have part-time positions with the new MVSU FedEc Logistics Satellite Office.

“This is my first job, and it has granted me the opportunity to build on my resume and continue to finish school,” said Rodkell Barber, a sophomore Mass Communications major from Leland, Miss.

“This opportunity will put Valley on the map. Don’t get me wrong— we were already on the map, but now we’re on the map for being the first to launch this great program. I’m forever grateful,” she added.

Senior Health, Physical Education and Recreation major Arnesha Gray of Greenwood, Miss., said the partnership is beneficial to students now as well as in the future.

“This is a great opportunity for us students, especially the ones from the Delta. There’s a lack of jobs here and Valley has provided us with the opportunity to do more and be great,” she said. “Also, this opportunity will be great and helpful for post-graduation life.”

Crimson Driver, a senior Engineering Technology major, said he’s proud of the fact that MVSU will serve as the prototype for universities joining FedEx Logistics’ HBCU program in the future.

“I’m honored that my HBCU is the first to start the FedEx Logistics program so that we can be forever known as the University that started it,” said Driver, a native of Yazoo City.

Janice M. Citchens, a senior Sociology major from Tutwiler, Miss., agreed.

“I’m honored and grateful, but I’m not shocked. Why? Because, it says that the last shall be first…We’re oftentimes placed last when it comes to opportunities, but this time, we’re first.”

Rocheleau said she’s looking forward to a long-lasting relationship between MVSU and FedEx Logistics.

Vice President of U.S. Brokerage for FedEx Logistics Bethany Rochelau

“It’s is a unique program where the social benefit is just as important as the economic,” she said. “And it’s a new relationship that will benefit FedEx, MVSU and its students for many years to come.”

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