By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Malcolm White, who was announced Friday as Mississippi’s next tourism director, has long been associated with Jackson, but he has roots in Northeast Mississippi.
He was as co-founder of one of the capital city’s favorite restaurants and entertainment venues and of one of its best-known events – Mal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade.
But White moved to Booneville in 1965 from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and graduated from Booneville High School in 1969. He also graduated from Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville where he played football. He later graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi.
White’s father, Harold White, served as president of Northeast Mississippi Community College from 1965 until 1987.
“Many people in the Jackson area and around the state are familiar with Malcolm White, his devout entrepreneurial spirit and his love of Mississippi and our unique, creative culture,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in a news release. “The experience he brings to this position and the vast amount of knowledge he has of the tourism industry will be beneficial … to the entire state of Mississippi.”
White has spent the last seven years as director of the Mississippi Arts Commission. He already is involved in several tourism-related endeavors in Jackson and statewide, such as chair of the Mississippi Blues Commission and vice chair of the state’s Bicentennial Committee.
White said Northeast Mississippi, like the rest of the state, has many tourism opportunities.
“Every area of Mississippi is unique,” he said. “Northeast Mississippi is our Hills region and the foothills of Appalachia. Having lived there and been a part of that community gives me deep insight into the culture and heritage. And it will be a pleasure to promote and serve Mississippi as the director of tourism.”
Tourism is a division of the Mississippi Development Authority.
New MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen, who was appointed by Bryant this summer, said, “The experience (White) brings to this position will greatly benefit MDA as we continue to work to promote Mississippi as a tourism destination.”
White replaces Mary Beth Wilkerson, who resigned in June. He will start his new post on Jan. 14.