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At noon on Wednesday, November 20, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Rick Cleveland will moderate a panel discussion featuring Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey and others on the history of the SEC and its relationship to Mississippi’s capital city.

“In 1940 Jackson’s Standard Life Building became the first neutrally located headquarters of the Southeastern Conference, and former Mississippi governor Mike Conner was the first full-time commissioner,” said Cleveland. “From those humble beginnings as a two-person staff, the SEC has grown into the nation’s most successful collegiate athletic conference.”

Joining Sankey for the panel discussion will be SEC Chief Operating Officer Charlie Hussey, Mike Conner’s grandson Bob Biggs, former Mississippi State University athletic director Larry Templeton, and current MSU athletic director John Cohen.

At 10:30 that morning, a new state historical marker will be unveiled in a public ceremony at the Standard Life Building to commemorate its place in college athletics history.

New York native Greg Sankey became the SEC's eighth commissioner in 2015. Charlie Hussey is an Oxford native and University of Mississippi graduate. Bob Biggs is a University of Mississippi graduate and attorney in Jackson. Starkville native Larry Templeton has served as special assistant to former SEC commissioner Mike Slive and current commissioner Greg Sankey. John Cohen has been involved in the SEC as a baseball player, a baseball assistant coach, a baseball head coach and now as the athletic director at Mississippi State. Rick Cleveland has been an award-winning sports journalist in Mississippi for more than half a century and a longtime devotee to the sports history of the Magnolia State.

The program will take place in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium in the Two Mississippi Museums--the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum--located at 222 North Street, Jackson. There is no charge to attend. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email

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