Retired professors, alumni establish endowed scholarships in Bagley College

April 11, 2014

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Two retired engineering professors and Mississippi State alumni have established new scholarships in the Bagley College of Engineering.

The Philip and Susan Bridges scholarships in will benefit students in aerospace engineering and computer science and engineering – departments they have served for more than 20 years.

A $2,000 scholarship in each department will be awarded annually beginning in the fall of 2014. The Bridgeses said they hope the scholarships will help deserving students overcome the financial struggles of college.

“College is becoming more expensive, and we want to do something to help students who needed it the most,” Phil said.

The Bridgeses said that they would like these scholarships to benefit first generation college students. Susan’s scholarship will also aim to encourage women to study computer science and engineering, a traditionally male dominated field.

They said they that they know from personal experience that the first years of college can be especially difficult without parental advice and would like their scholarships to help alleviate some student concerns.

“We saw how much we benefited from higher education, so we want to help these students succeed,” Phil said.

The Bridgeses, who were named BCoE Distinguished Alumni Fellows in 2012, said establishing these scholarships are a way to continue helping the departments they’ve been part of for so many years.

“We firmly believe that MSU will continue to be the best school in the state for engineering,” said Phil. “By contributing, we hope to help continue this tradition of excellence at MSU.”

Phil retired from MSU in 2001 after 27 years as a faculty member. However, he remains active on campus as a member of the advisory board and emeritus associate professor in the department of aerospace engineering. He is also a research professor and pilot at the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory in the Bagley College of Engineering.

Prior to his retirement, Phil served as selection chair for the department of aerospace engineering fellowships and national defense science and engineering grants. He was named Outstanding Educator in the Bagley College of Engineering in 1996 to recognized his commitment to his students.

During his time at State, Phil also worked for the U.S. Army Missile Command and Nichols Research Corporation in Huntsville, Ala. For five years, he worked on the space shuttle as a guidance and control engineer for a private industry in Houston, Texas. He also spent five years in the Army and 18 years in the Army National Guard before retiring as a Master Army Aviator in 1993.

Phil earned both a master’s and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from MSU. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas in mechanical engineering.

Susan retired as a professor in 2010 after more than 20 years at MSU. She is now emeritus professor of computer science and engineering. Following her retirement, she served as the science coordinator for the MSU Office of Research.

During her time at MSU, Susan helped establish the Institute for Digital Biology where she served as co-director. She also established and directed the computation biology certificate program and was the recipient of the Engineering Faculty Research Award and the Career Award. Before joining the MSU faculty, she worked as a public school teacher and computer scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Service.

Susan earned a bachelor’s degree in botany from the University of Arkansas. She then earned two master’s degrees – one in biology from the University of Mississippi and another in computer science from Mississippi State. She holds a doctorate in computer science from the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

For more information about the Bagley College of Engineering and its scholarship opportunities, visit

By: Erin Boozer