Development Direction

A man with his arm around a smiling woman standing on a sidewalk in front of a lake.
Derrell Doss, son of Roy and Helen Doss, with wife Katrina Doss

A Reward for Hard Work

Doss Family Endows Scholarship for Future Extension Agents

Story by Keri Collins Lewis • Photos by Kevin Hudson

In the Doss family, a strong work ethic is the hallmark of success. That is why, as a tribute to his parents, Roy and Helen, Derrell Doss arranged for their trust to fund a scholarship for Mississippi State University students who want to pursue careers related to agriculture, home economics, and the Extension Service.

Helen Johnson Doss graduated from the Mississippi College for Women in 1955 and immediately began work as an assistant home demonstration agent in Chickasaw County. Her excellent work resulted in a promotion to State 4-H Club staff, where she helped develop 4-H club programs for statewide implementation. In 1961, she married Roy Doss and left her Extension career.

After graduating from Mississippi State College in 1956 and serving in the Army for two years, Roy began his Extension work in Tishomingo County as an assistant county Extension agent. He became an area agent in Monroe County in 1967 and obtained a master’s degree in adult education in 1970 from MSU. He eventually retired as the county Extension agent in Monroe County.

“My parents helped countless people through Extension over the years,” Derrell shares. “They both meant a lot to many people, and both of their families were very rooted in agriculture. The work done through MSU Extension continues to edify many lives.”

Derrell also recalls his own memories of 4-H.

An old photo of a woman standing next to a truck with a man sitting on the bed of the truck with his legs crossed.
Helen and Roy Doss

“4-H requires a sense of discipline, and that’s a transferable skill,” he observes.

With his parents’ legacy and family values in mind, Derrell developed a scholarship with preference given to students demonstrating certain characteristics.

The Roy and Helen Doss Endowed Scholarship is designed to reward students who have been in 4-H, are employed part-time, and express an interest in becoming Extension agents, conducting agricultural research, or teaching agriculture.

“What better way to honor my parents than to assist someone to help people like they helped people?” Derrell asks. “Someone who goes through the difficulties of doing what it takes to get into college, studying, and working part-time shows passion and dedication. Those are essential qualities in a great Extension agent.”

To learn more about creating an endowed scholarship, contact Will Staggers, MSU Foundation director of development for Extension, at (662) 325-2837 or



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