Mississippi Valley State University

July 24, 2016

University News


May 05, 2013

Congressman Bennie will be the speaker for Mississippi Valley State University's 61st Commencement on Saturday, May 11, 8:00 a.m., in the Rice-Totten Stadium on the campus in Itta Bena, Miss.

MVSU’s acting president, Dr. Alfred Rankins, Jr., will confer degrees to approximately 500 undergraduate and graduate students during the ceremony. In addition, Dr. Rankins will confer golden degrees to members of the Class of 1963.

Bennie G. Thompson is currently serving his 11th term as the Democratic congressman for Mississippi's Second District and 3rd term on the Homeland Security Committee. The Second District stretches from Tunica in the north to Jefferson County in the south and all points in-between, creating a rare blend of agricultural economies and the hustle and bustle of city life.

Congressman Thompson has spent his entire adult life giving a voice to the voiceless. With more than 45 years of continuous public service, he is the longest-serving African-American elected official in the state of Mississippi. 
From 1968 to 1972, he served as alderman and mayor in his hometown, after which he served as Hinds County Supervisor for 13 years before being elected to Congress in 1993. With six district offices - Bolton, Greenville, Greenwood, Jackson, Marks, and Mound Bayou - Congressman Thompson is committed to empowering those who gave him an opportunity to represent the Second District of Mississippi. His reputation as a no-nonsense problem solver has earned him the trust of his constituents and the respect of his colleagues in Washington.

To begin the 110th Congress, Thompson was promoted by his colleagues to serve as the first ever Democratic Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, a committee that was created by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. As chair, Congressman Thompson recently introduced and engineered House passage of the most comprehensive homeland security package since September 11th, H.R. 1, the "9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007."

Drawing on his 26 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter in Hinds County, Thompson understands that our nation's law enforcement and first responders are our first line of defense in times of emergency. With that in mind, he has constantly fought to ensure they are fully equipped with the resources and tools they need effectively to respond to any and all emergencies.  

Congressman Thompson has long been considered a leading voice for civil rights, equal education and healthcare reform. He has helped to make a real difference in the lives of his constituents. In 1975, he filed a lawsuit to increase funding at Mississippi's historically black universities. With Congressman Thompson as lead plaintiff, the case was settled in 2004 for an unprecedented $503 million. In 2000, Congressman Thompson's legislation creating the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities became law.

Congressman Thompson is a lifelong member of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Bolton, Miss. He has been married to his college sweetheart, London Johnson of Mound Bayou, Miss., for 44 years. The couple has one daughter BendaLonne, one granddaughter, Jeanna and one grandson, Thomas Gordon.

Congressman Thompson is an avid outdoorsman. He also enjoys gardening, reading, and listening to blues music.