The memory of a lifelong public servant with a distinguished career in environmental and regulatory affairs will be honored with the naming of a state agency building at Mississippi State University.
The Bureau of Plant Industry building will formally be named for the late Robert H. McCarty during a dedication ceremony at 3 p.m., Sept. 11. McCarty was bureau director and state entomologist from 1993 to 2000. He died of a heart attack Oct. 26, 2000.
Special guests include State Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell Jr. and McCarty's immediate family: wife Frances, son, Jack, and daughter, Robin. A commemorative bronze plaque will be presented at the conclusion of the ceremony. A reception and tour will follow.
“Robert McCarty was committed to doing an exemplary job for everyone associated with agriculture,” Spell said. “It is appropriate we recognize his contributions by naming the plant industry building after him.”
The Mississippi Legislature passed a bill in March 2001 authorizing the naming of the building for McCarty. The resolution in the bill cited McCarty's efforts in obtaining funding to transform an outdated structure into a modernized, computerized facility. Renovation of the building, originally erected in 1973 at MSU, began in 1998 and was completed two years later.
A state employee for more than 33 years, McCarty began his professional career as a pest management consultant in DeSoto County, Miss., in 1963. Later that year, he accepted a job with the Mississippi State University Extension Service as assistant county agent for Sharkey and Issaquena counties.
In 1967, McCarty was hired as a district entomologist by the State Plant Board. The board evolved into the Division of Plant Industry and was placed under the auspices of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce in 1971. The division was renamed the Bureau of Plant Industry in 1991.
McCarty was a native of the Souinlovey Community in Clarke County and a graduate of MSU, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1964 and a master's degree in 1973.
Friends and family established the Robert H. McCarty Memorial Scholarships at MSU in 2000 for students with majors related to production agriculture.