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MSU-Meridian loses educational pioneers

By Staff
RECEPTION Habib Bazyari, left, David Moffett and Gary Benton gather at a retirement reception last week at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus. Bazyari, the former chairman of MSU-Meridian Campus' Business and Industry Division, and Benton, the former chairman of the Education Division, were honored after recently retiring. Moffett, a former dean, had already been retired. Submtted photo.
special to The Star
August 11, 2002
After 65 years of combined service to Mississippi State University, Dr. Habib Bazyari and Dr. Gary Benton have left their posts at MSU-Meridian Campus.
The two men had led the divisions of business and education for the 29-year history of the Meridian campus.
Bazyari builds business
Bazyari came to MSU from Iran. He earned a degree in agricultural engineering in Iran and emigrated to the United States to further his education.
Bazyari taught business classes on the Starkville campus and came to Meridian in 1972 when MSU opened its branch campus. He became its first business professor.
Bazyari also served as the chairman of the business division and played an important role in building the division, MSU-Meridian Campus spokesperson Linda Butler said.
She said Bazyari grew the business program from 80 students to 350 students. Under his watch, the division awarded more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees and became a resource for regional businesses.
Bazyari is retiring after a 36-year career with MSU.
Benton teaches the way
Dr. Gary Benton came to MSU-Meridian Campus 29 years ago to chair the Education Division.
While there may have been some blood, sweat and tears shed along the way to bring the program to where it is today, he said, he is proud of the results.
The Division of Education is the largest program on the Meridian campus.
Benton officially retired as chairman of the education division some months ago, but continued to work for MSU on a half-time basis. Now, however, he said he is ready to leave.