Mississippi state names richard rula national alumnus for 2019

Mississippi State University is honoring construction industry leader Richard A. Rula with its highest alumni honor. In a campus ceremony on March 1 the Northsider will be recognized formally as the university’s 2019 National Alumnus.

A 1970 civil engineering graduate and Vicksburg native, Rula has enjoyed a successful career in the construction industry for nearly five decades. He is currently the owner and president of Hemphill Construction Company Inc.

“We are proud to salute Richard Rula on behalf of Mississippi State University for his success in industry and for his loyal lifelong connection with his alma mater. Richard’s achievements serve as a primary example of the success our university hopes each of its graduates achieves,” said Jeff Davis, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association. “Of more than 142,000 living alumni, Richard is a distinguished selection for this honor.”

Rula joined Hemphill in 1979 as a project manager and became owner and president in 1984. Since then, he has led the small, locally based construction company into a prosperous firm that is well-recognized throughout the southeastern United States. Hemphill Construction now is a multi-faceted contractor licensed to perform work throughout the region involving heavy and highway construction, and utilities and earthmoving.

Rula also is the proprietor of Suncoast Infrastructure Inc. and has developed Maintenance Systems Inc., which focuses on the operations and management of water and wastewater treatment plants.


At MSU, Rula earlier was recognized as the Bagley College of Engineering’s Alumnus of the Year in 2017 and as one of the college’s Distinguished Engineering Fellows in 2006.


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1. He drove a blue ‘77 Chevy Nova in high school. 2. He played on Jackson Prep’s 1985 and 1986 state championship basketball teams.