Montgomery Foundation Supports New MSU Veterans Facility

vet-on-campusOffice of Public Affairs
News Bureau (662) 325-3442
Contact: Amy Cagle

August 12, 2014

STARKVILLE, Miss. –The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation has made a $100,000 challenge commitment to the late U.S. Congressman’s alma mater for a new campus veterans center to be erected with private gifts on the Mississippi State campus.

“This is a most generous donation and a wonderful tribute to the late Sonny Montgomery who will always be remembered as a champion for assisting our servicemen and women,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “Currently the veterans center is housed in an older building that cannot adequately serve this growing portion of MSU’s enrollment. A new home will enhance the educational and transitional environment for student veterans.”

The MSU master plan proposes the state-of-the-art facility to be built on the northern central portion of the Starkville campus. Thus far, $2.2 million is in hand from private contributions toward the construction, and an additional $1.5 million is still needed in gifts. Once completed, the building will house a large classroom/multipurpose room, a computer lab, study rooms and office spaces.

Brad Crawford, president of the Montgomery Foundation, said, “We are extremely proud to be among the contributors for this facility that will be a larger base of operations for veteran activity at
Mississippi State University.”

By stepping forward, the Montgomery Foundation seeks to encourage other private gifts to make the facility a reality, Crawford said.

At MSU, The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans is a national leader in providing campus-based veteran resources in support of 2,000 currently enrolled student veterans, service members, dependents and survivors. The university’s 136 year-old land-grant institution been recognized for its veteran-friendly campus, most recently as a top 30 institution by U.S. News & World Report.

“This generous gift from the Montgomery Foundation celebrates the late Congressman Montgomery’s legacy of service to veterans,” said Ken McRae, director of the MSU center. “The gift will assist us in improving our support to MSU’s student veteran community now and in the future.”

A Meridian, Mississippi, native, Montgomery was a 1943 general business graduate of then Mississippi State College who served as Student Association president and was a member of the ROTC. Montgomery devoted three decades of his life to military service that included active duty in World War II and the Korean War. He retired from the Mississippi Army National Guard with the rank of major general after 35 years of service. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States, in 2005.

Montgomery began his political career in 1956 with election to the Mississippi State Senate and would serve a decade in that role. In 1966, Montgomery was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and held office through the terms of seven presidents before retiring in 1996. He won national acclaim for his leadership in passing legislation for what become known as the Montgomery G.I. Bill and was known on Capitol Hill as “Mr. Veteran.”

The Montgomery Foundation was established prior to Montgomery’s death in 2006 at the age of 85. It currently supports scholarships for veterans at Mississippi State and has contributed to projects that further the Montgomery name and legacy at MSU and in his home state of Mississippi.

Gifts for the new veterans center are part of Mississippi State’s ongoing Infinite Impact campaign, and alumni and friends may contact Wes Gordon, director of development for the Division of Student Affairs, at 662-325-9129 or email him at to contribute.

More on the university’s veterans center may be found at To learn more about the Montgomery Foundation, visit



G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery Pictorial Biography Book

photo 1The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation and the Mississippi State University Libraries co-published this unique biography and has placed a copy of the book in the library of every high school, college and university in the State of Mississippi. A copy is also presented to recipients of foundation recognition awards and scholarships for military or civilian leadership or academic achievement. The book is also utilized by the Montgomery Leadership Program in its leadership training curriculum.



Remembering Congressman G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery on the Occasion of His 93rd Birthday

Sonny's Cake DayMonday, August 5th, marks the date of former Congressman G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery’s 93rd birthday if he were still living today.

According to Bo Maske, Executive Director and President of the G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation, it’s only fitting that on his birthday, KC-135R Tankers are returning to his beloved 186th Air National Guard Refueling Wing, and the return of that mission could not have been possible without the hard work, professionalism and dedication of its members.  The KC-135’s are returning from various units across the nation and the Wing has scheduled an official welcoming ceremony this Saturday at 2 p.m..  “It’s the best birthday gift he could have ever received,” Maske said.

[Read more…]

GVM Foundation Donates To NGEF

From The National Guard Association of the United States:

Guard Legion: 15 Large Donors Aid NGEF

The National Guard Educational Foundation has 11 new large benefactors to help fund the telling of the Guard story.

Foundation officials inducted the 11 into the Legion de Lafayette, which is reserved for those who donate at least $10,000 to the foundation, at a reception July 14 following the summer meeting of the NGAUS board of directors in Washington, D.C.

The NGEF also used the occasion to recognize four existing LdL members for adding to earlier contributions.

In all, the 15 honorees provided a combined $150,000 to the NGEF, which operates a variety of public education programs, including the National Guard Memorial Museum.

The new LdL members include corporations, state Guard associations, the elected heads of NGAUS and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, and the foundation for the late congressman known as Mr. National Guard on Capitol Hill.

They are: AMERIPACK Inc., retired Col. Edwin Livingston and Marcia Gosline, retired Brig. Gen. John L. Jones, retired Chief Master Sgt. Roger A. Hagan and Family in memory of Master Sgt. Doris “Dorrie” Hagan, Humana Military Healthcare Services, retired Maj. Gen. Harold Gwatney, the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation, the National Guard Association of Maryland, Remember My Service, the Wisconsin National Guard Association in honor of retired Lt. Col. Ronald R. Wagner, and Maj. Gen. Frank and Jane Vavala.

James G. ( Bo) Maske representing The G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation at our being inducted into the Legion de Lafayette which is reserved for those who donate at least $10,000 to the National Guard Education Foundation at a reception July 14th following the summer meeting of the National Guard Association of the U.S. (NGAUS) Board of directors in Washington, D.C.

Chris Mears & Associates Inc., Cobham, EADS North America and the NGAUS Committee on Company Grade Issues all added $10,000 each to their existing donations.

EADS North America is one of the NGEF’s corporate contributors. The manufacturer of the UH-72 Lakota helicopter has now donated $85,000.

G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation Makes Donation to MSU-Meridian

Montgomery Donation(MERIDIAN) – The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation presented Mississippi State University-Meridian with a $10,000 donation on Friday, May 18 at 4 pm in Kahlmus Auditorium. The donation is part of a $50,000 commitment on behalf of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation to advance academic programs at MSU-Meridian.

According to Bo Maske, executive director and president of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation, “Sonny left us an enduring legacy built on service, leadership, and support for education. With this gift to his alma mater, we continue to honor that legacy by helping advance higher education in Meridian, Lauderdale County, and throughout east Mississippi.”

“Anyone familiar with higher education in Mississippi is aware of the tremendous impact and influence of Sonny Montgomery,” said Dr. Steve Brown, dean and associate vice president of MSU-Meridian. “The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation is carrying this commitment forward for future generations of students, and MSU-Meridian is honored and humbled to be part of this incredible commitment.”

The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation also unveiled a bronze bust of the late congressman that will grace the lobby of the College Park campus.

Montgomery BustThe bust, created by Dr. Kim Sessums, a physician in Brookhaven and a renowned artist and sculptor, stands approximately 24 inches high. In addition to the original Sonny Montgomery bust which resides at Mitchell Memorial Library at MSU-Starkville, Sessums has, to his commission credits, bronze busts of Billy Graham, Eudora Welty, and the artist, Andrew Wyeth. All four of these individuals were recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The bust is positioned on a 44-inch tall pedestal made of walnut constructed by Albert Weems, an accomplished wood craftsman and Meridian native as well as a long-time friend of the congressman.

“MSU-Meridian held a special place in Sonny’s heart, and he maintained an unofficial office on campus after returning home from Washington, D.C.,” noted Bob Bailey, G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation board member. “It is very fitting that we honor that memory with the donation of this bust.”

Three receive Montgomery Foundation Scholarships

STARKVILLE, Miss.–Three Mississippi State seniors are receiving the university’s 2011 G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation Scholarships.

Shaun M. Cooper of Newton, David A. Jackson of Starkville and Eric M. Page of Huntsville, Ala., are participants in MSU’s Montgomery Leadership Program, and members of either the campus Army or Air Force reserve officers training corps.

The $3,000 foundation awards were established in 2007 as a memorial to the late 3rd District congressman and MSU alumnus from Meridian. Selections are made on the basis of academic achievements, as well as demonstrated leadership abilities and commitments to personal development, among other qualifications.

Cooper is a secondary education major and a graduate of Newton County High School in Decatur. At MSU, he has been involved with the College of Education Ambassadors, Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Society, Mississippi Model United Nations Security Council, Spectrum student organization, and Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

Cooper’s community service projects have included work at Baptist Centers for Cancer Care, MSU’s Studio School and an alternative spring break trip to Niceville, Fla.

A Starkville High School graduate, Jackson is a junior kinesiology major who joined the AFROTC program in 2008. An Air Force Field Training graduate, he was in the top third of his class. In the cadet wing, he currently is training 15 cadets for this summer’s Air Force Fitness Test.

Having held other cadet wing positions as physical training commander, executive officer assistant and general military course adviser, Jackson is a deputy squadron commander for the Arnold Air Society, an honorary service organization. He becomes commander in the fall.

Page, a Virgil I. Grissom High School graduate, is an industrial technology major. Since entering MSU’s AROTC program, he has served as both cadet and Ranger company commander. A 2009 graduate of the Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., he last year attended the Leadership Development and Assessment Course at Fort Lewis, Wash., and graduated in the top 10 percent of his regiment.

Page now serves as the cadet executive officer of the MSU Bulldog Battalion.

The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation was established more than a decade ago by the late U.S. representative and former Mississippi State student body president. Designed to help carry his legacy forward, the foundation works to encourage leadership development, education, excellence in scholarship, and support of various military and veteran projects.

For more information about Mississippi State University, see