MSU staff member celebrates record year

For Starkville native Jeanette Booth, 2019 marks 60 years of employment at the university, 60 years of marriage and her 80th birthday.

Mississippi State University is known for many traditions, whether it be ringing cowbells at Davis Wade Stadium or watching a ballgame from the Left Field Lounge. However, there are not many people who know the traditions of MSU better than Jeanette Booth.

2019 marks 80 years of life, 60 years of marriage and 60 years of employment at MSU for Booth.

Born and raised in Starkville, Booth spent most of her time working in Britt’s Café, her parent’s restaurant, which is now Starkville Café. It was there, at her parents' business, that Booth met her husband, Marion, in July of 1959. According to Booth, the two were married in November, shortly after meeting.

Earlier the same year, Booth took a job with Mississippi State working in accounts payable, where she worked for 42 years before retiring. According to Booth, her driven personality, however, did not allow her to enjoy retirement for long. As a result, she took a part-time position in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with the intention of working only a few months. 

Seventeen years later, Booth can still be found at her desk on the second floor of Simrall working diligently as ever. Throughout her 60 years of work, Booth said the most valuable part has been the friendships she made along the way. 

“I’ve been blessed to work with good people. There are a lot of people I have met along the way that I am still friends with and that is something I can take when I leave,” Booth said.

With such a long tenure at MSU, Booth has certainly seen some changes. She will tell anyone that she has witnessed all of the buildings on campus updated and all the new buildings built, as well as nine different university presidents and a tremendous increase in traffic.

The biggest change, however, came in the late 1990s when the university changed over to a new accounting system, Booth said. The massive overhaul required for all the accounts to be transferred to an electronic system, as opposed to the previous method of handwriting the bills. According to Booth, the change was a frustrating process, but Booth persevered. 

Throughout all the change, Booth has been, and always will be, steady, said James Fowler, the interim head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“She is very dependable. There isn’t anyone around who knows the university inside and out like she does. She’s always a pleasure to be around,” Fowler said.

According to her son, Cade Booth, who works on campus with forestry research, the steadiness his mother exemplified at work was reflected at home as well. It left a lasting impact on her two sons, Tommy and Cade Booth, who both graduated from MSU. 

According to Cade Booth, the most important thing his mother taught him was the value of family.

“She was very close with her mom and dad. They lived within a mile of us when I was growing up. That transferred down to me. That’s the main reason why I am still here in Starkville. As they got older, I wanted to be with them as they did with me,” Cade Booth said. 

In 80 years of life and 60 years of work, marriage and family, Booth has never struggled to find motivation. She said she believes both enjoying what one does and the people one surrounds themself with, are the reasons behind this. 

“I guess the motivation is to stay young. As long as you’re active and keep your mind working, I think the biggest motivation is to enjoy what you do. If you ever get a job and really enjoy it, it makes life so much better. I really enjoy my work and the people I work with,” Booth said. 

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