Dr. Jimmy W. Abraham began his professional career at Mississippi State University in 1976 as a residence hall director. He went on to hold positions of increasing responsibility as assistant director of College and School Relations, assistant dean of student services and director of enrollment services, associate vice president for student affairs, interim vice president for student affairs, and associate vice president for development and alumni and executive director of the MSU Alumni Association. He retired in 2013 after working nearly 38 years at his alma mater.
Dr. Abraham received a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1975 and a master’s degree in student personnel and counselor education in 1977, both from Mississippi State University. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in higher education administration from the University of Mississippi in 1985.
During Dr. Abraham’s 22 years working in the student recruiting and orientation office, MSU had the largest overall enrollment in the state each year and the highest entering freshman enrollment for that period except for one year. Mississippi State also had the highest mean entering ACT score of all the state institutions of higher learning for incoming freshmen for 18 of those years. In his role as the Alumni Association’s executive director for eight years, he helped develop and implement programs that built stronger relationships between the university and alumni, increasing active membership by 30 percent and chartering 10 new chapters.
The Clarksdale, Mississippi, native received the university’s Distinguished Staff Award, the Student Association’s Outstanding Faculty Award, the Lambda Sigma Outstanding Professor Award, and the Outstanding Professional Award from the National Orientation Directors Association. Dr. Abraham also served on many committees and councils while at Mississippi State, and he was the advisor for the MSU Roadrunners (student recruiters) and Orientation Leaders for 20 years and the Alumni Delegates for six years.
From 2013-2021, Dr. Abraham served as vice chairman of client and business relations for Cadence Bank. In this role, he was an ambassador for cultivating customer relationships.
He and his wife Patti, who retired as director of the research and curriculum unit from MSU in 2010, have three sons, Jim, Josh (Morgan), and Jase (Whitney), and four grandchildren, Hattie, Caden, Smith and Walt.