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Mississippi State University (WCBI) –  At Mississippi State University its a celebration of life for a leader credited with bringing the Starkville university to a new level of prominence during his 12 and a half year tenure.

On the MSU campus, flags have been lowered all week in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Donald W. Zacharias, the institutions 15th president.

A video tribute showcased his many accomplishments.

MSU president emeritus, Malcolm Portera and other leaders following him had big shoes to fill.

“But also during that period of time, a tremendous growth in the research standing in this university. In fact I think it was clearly recognized as the research university in the state if not the region,” said Malcolm Portera, MSU President Emeritus.

MSU President Dr. Mark Keenam, and John Grisham Jr., National Alumnus of the year used words like humble, kind, patient, and loving to describe Dr. Z.

Zacharias is being remembered as a visionary in academics and athletics.

“But he is the guy that had the vision that we could enlarge our facilities and bring them to first class for for our student athletes and our coaches. And I think the blue print of where we are today in intercollegiate athletics was set by this great man,” said Larry Templeton,Former Athletic Director.

“Before I became chancellor he and I became friends. I was president of the NCAA Foundation so we had mutual interests that did not involve Ole Miss. So I knew him that way. And so the, I think the usually healthy competition, it didn’t interfere with our friendship,” said Robert Khayat, President Emeritus, Ole Miss.

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