COLUMBUS, Miss. – Malcolm White, director of tourism for the Mississippi Development Authority, will address Mississippi University for Women graduates Saturday, May 10 in Rent Auditorium, Whitfield Hall.
Approximately 300 degree candidates are expected to participate in the May ceremony.
Conferring of degrees for graduates of the College of Nursing and Speech-Language Pathology will start at 10 a.m. Conferring of degrees for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business and Professional Studies and College of Education and Human Sciences will be at 1:30 p.m.
As tourism director for the MDA, White is responsible for the overall management, development and implementation of Mississippi’s story along with the creation of economic growth and opportunities for Mississippi through tourism.
White worked his way through the ranks of the hospitality industry starting as a dishwasher. His experience led him and his brother Hal to open Hal & Mal’s, a Jackson landmark. Here, White hosted the first ever book signing for first-time novelist and state representative from DeSoto County better known as John Grisham.
White is founder of the Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade, which benefits the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children and attracts more than 75,000 visitors from around the country to Jackson each year, and WellsFest, a family festival also held annually in Jackson.
In 2004, he received the Tourism Visionary Award at the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.
White joined MDA in 2013 after serving as the executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) for seven years. In that position, he was responsible for overseeing the agency’s staff and operations while driving its mission of supporting and celebrating the arts in Mississippi and its creative culture.
He is from rural Stone County and was raised in Perkinston. White graduated from Booneville High School in 1969 and studied at various Mississippi institutions of higher learning before ultimately graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi.
White is chairman of the Mississippi Blues Commission and Mississippi’s Bicentennial Organizing Committee.
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