Mississippi State University will honor the memory of longtime employee Frank T. “Butch” Withers Jr. by naming the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond after him.

Former colleagues, friends and family members will gather at the center at 10:30 a.m. July 10 for a naming ceremony. The event will conclude with a luncheon at noon. Thepublic is invited to attend.

Withers, who passed away October 14, 2012, was an employee for 40 years in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at MSU. He served as head of the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center for 10 years, until his retirement in 2006. MSU President Mark Keenum recommended the addition of Withers’ name to the building to the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, and thechange was approved in March.

Before leading the central Mississippi staff, he served as facility coordinator of the Pontotoc Ridge Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station from 1972 to 1978 and as unit head of MSU’s Animal Research Center from 1978 to 1996.

He was an MSU alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in ruminant nutrition.

The 18,000-square-foot Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center was completed in 2001 and houses research and Extension personnel with MSU and Alcorn State University. The facility is located on the Hinds Community College campus and provides employees and clients with well-equipped laboratories, offices and meeting spaces. The center is the hub for 20 county offices and three research stations which conduct studies on beef, forages, row crops, small game production, and homeand commercial horticulture.

The center and the three branch stations include about 3,000 acres of land and 51 buildings.