History of the Center

History of the Center

With over 70 years of experience, we continue to produce impactful, interdisciplinary research. Take a look at some of our highlighting moments.

SSRC History Timeline


SSRC Founded

Officially established in 1950, the Social Science Research Center operated under the leadership of Dr. John K. Bettersworth, a historian. In the first decade, the Center could probably best be described as a coalition of faculty members interested in promoting the social sciences defined in the broadest possible terms.


A Cooperative Effort

By 1961, the University described the Center as a “cooperative effort among social scientists toward concentration on particular facets of research areas incident to problems such as agricultural adjustment and programs such as community development.” Under Dr. Harold Kaufman’s leadership, drawing on the existing experience of faculty in the Division of Sociology and Rural Life, the externally funded research program grew.


MASEP Established

The Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program was developed in 1972 with funding from the Governor' Highway Safety Program, the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, and the Mississippi Department of Health. The main focus of the early curriculum was to educate participants about alcohol, its effects on the body, and how these effects impair one's ability to drive.


Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory

The Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory has been conducting scientifically-based survey research for over 40 years. Using local, state, and national samples, the laboratory has collected data for hundreds of research projects for researchers and state and national agencies.


Open for New Collaborations

In 1986, the SSRC began reporting to the Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Vet Medicine, as well as its traditional supporter the Office of Research and Economic Development.


Moving to a New Space

To begin the 1990's, the center moved to its current location in the Mississippi Technology Center in the Thad Cochran Research Park. Our location is adjacent to campus, easy to access, and provides ample office and lab space for social scientists from across campus.


Developing New Labs

Beginning the mid-2010s, the SSRC began developing and supporting multiple individual labs like The Message Laboratory, the Systems Change Lab, and the Evaluation and Research Group. Our PI-driven labs conduct research around an interdisciplinary and collaborative focus.


Present Times

After over 70 years, the SSRC continues to work to address social problems and research issues, train students in research methods, and contribute to the scholarly atmosphere of Mississippi State University.