STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- It's a fond farewell for a man whose devotion to Mississippi State University is considered by scores to be unparalleled.
"It's an honor to thank-you for embracing us and thank you for embracing Donald Zacharias. Thank you for letting us into your Mississippi State world," Eric Zacharias, son of Donald Zacharias.
Dr. Donald Zacharias would make history again and again.
Annual contributions at MSU rose from $4 million to $42 million during his nearly 13 years of service.
Millions in major gifts poured in and funding for research doubled.
"It ranks very high in research contract grant activity [and he] created while he was here a very vibrant student life and growth in enrollment to become the largest institution in the state," former MSU President Malcolm Portera said.
State graduate and celebrated author John Grisham says Dr. Zacharias held a book signing for him in those early days.
"Dr. Z made a big presentation of walking over, pulling cash out of his pocket because he wanted to buy the first book. He made sure everybody knew it and the message was delivered," Grisham said.
"Dr. Zacharias was undaunted, unapologetic about his fierce advocacy for Mississippi State University and higher education here in the state of Mississippi," MSU President Mark Keenum said.