A new endowed scholarship at Mississippi State University honors an agricultural economist with more than 40 years of service to the university and the state.

The Robert L. Williams Endowed Scholarship in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences recognizes the career and dedication to Mississippi agriculture of the MSU economist.

“Bob Williams grew up near Alligator in Bolivar County and earned bachelor's and master's degrees at MSU before beginning his career as an assistant Extension economist in 1964,” said Vance Watson, vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine. “His work has benefited thousands of Mississippians, and this scholarship will continue that legacy.”

Williams retired from the MSU Extension Service as state program leader for agriculture and natural resources in 1995, but continues to serve as project coordinator for the office of the vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine.

During his Extension career, Williams, who completed his doctorate at MSU in 1977, authored numerous publications on the economics of soybean production and soybean marketing. He has received distinguished service awards from the MSU Alumni Association and the Tennessee Valley Farm Family Association. He also served on Gov. William Winter's economic task force in 1980.

The Williams scholarship will be awarded each year to a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The scholarship is an open fund in the MSU Foundation and may be increased through contributions to the foundation. For additional information on the Williams Endowed Scholarship, contact Jud Skelton, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences development director, at (662) 325-0643.