Who We Are

Founded in 1979, the Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State University is an advocate for meaningful design in America's small towns. We provide planning and design services to communities and conduct research that seeks to provide solutions to problems faced by communities across the nation.

The Carl Small Town Center is comprised of architects, planners, and students who work to improve the built environment in the communities in which they work.

Leah Kemp


Leah Kemp, AIA

Director | (662) 325-8671 | E-mail

Leah Kemp is a licensed architect and serves as the director of the Carl Small Town Center. Leah also teaches an online course within the College of Architecture, Art and Design at Mississippi State University, where she has taught both design and lecture courses.

Leah graduated cum laude from Virginia Tech where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. She earned a Master of Architecture from Tulane University where she received a commendation for her Masters Thesis: Re-connecting New Orleans to the Mississippi River. Leah has practiced in Washington, DC, Nashville, TN, and Mississippi.


Thomas Gregory, AICP

Community Planner | (662) 325-2207 | E-mail

Thomas Gregory is a certified planner and serves as a community planner for the Carl Small Town Center. For 8 years, Thomas served as the Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Greenwood, Mississippi, writing grants, administering projects, and implementing the comprehensive plan for the city. 

Thomas graduated with a Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with specializations in land use planning, real estate development, and historic preservation. Thomas also graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Aministration from Mississippi State University.