Bruce and Stephanie Childress

Bruce and Stephanie Childress, pictured inside MSU's Mitchell Memorial Library
Photo by Megan Bean

When Bruce and Stephanie Childress met several years ago, they immediately noticed they had much in common—including their love for Mississippi State.

Now the couple enjoys “the MSU atmosphere” daily as they carry out their careers and continue their family bonds with the university. Stephanie is business coordinator for the Center for Teaching and Learning, while Bruce is an HVAC mechanic II for the Physical Plant.

“We have a lot of perks to our jobs, and I love being on campus,” Stephanie said.

“Mississippi State has always taken care of me. I take care of Mississippi State, if that makes sense,” she said in describing her work. The Starkville native and Starkville Academy graduate remembers growing up enjoying ballgames and other MSU activities. With her mother an MSU retiree, as well as aunts and uncles either working or having retired from the university, she said, “MSU was always where I wanted to be.”

She now has been with the Center for Teaching and Learning nearly five years and has been in various MSU roles for over a decade.

“There are a lot of good co-workers you come in contact with, and you can always find someone to help you work through any challenge,” Stephanie said.

Bruce, an Amory native and Mississippi State fan “since birth,” started learning HVAC mechanic skills at the young age of 9 because his father also worked in the field.

“I was working under houses by the time I was 11 putting together ductwork,” he remembers. Bruce went on to gain experience at several local businesses and did general maintenance for the Columbus Air Force Base. He soon will mark five years as an MSU staff member.

While the Facilities Management HVAC crews stay extremely busy, especially during summer months, Bruce said he likes to take time to make sure repairs are done correctly.

“I learned a skill from my daddy that no one can take away. My granddaddy also did heating and cooling in Louisville, so I’m the third generation to do HVAC,” Bruce said.

Both Bruce and Stephanie are taking advantage of one important employee benefit—tuition remission for up to six hours per semester. Bruce earned an associate degree from Itawamba Community College. Although he decided to pursue full-time employment before completing his bachelor’s degree, he soon will graduate through MSU’s Complete to Compete program. His University Studies curriculum includes a focus on agriculture and history.

Stephanie will be working toward her bachelor’s degree in business management for several more semesters, but she anticipates their completed degrees will help them attain their professional goals as they seek opportunities for advancement.

While the couple isn’t working or studying, they enjoy watching MSU Athletics events, especially women’s basketball, football and baseball games. They love to spend as much time as possible with their six-year-old daughter Kadie and serve their church, Faith Baptist in Starkville, where Bruce is a bi-vocational youth minister.