Names surface in search for new Ole Miss chancellor

n Finalists will be interviewed by IHL on Sunday and Monday.
By Patsy R. Brumfield
Daily Journal
Four names have surfaced among the six reported finalists to replace Robert C. Khayat as chancellor at the University of Mississippi.
While University of Mississippi Medical Center leader Dr. Daniel W. Jones’ name has been in the mix since the search began several months ago, the others may not be so well known to the red-and-blue faithful.
n Timothy Hall, president of Austin Peay State University in Tennessee.
n Dr. Leslie Wyatt, president of Arkansas State University.
n Dr. Robert Robbins, director of Stanford University’s Cardiovascular Institute.
They all have Rebel ties, which many Ole Miss friends, alumni and students have insisted upon. None responded to Daily Journal inquiries about their involvement with the search, which is officially a secret process until a preferred candidate is chosen.
Hall and Robbins are in their early 50s. Jones is 60 and Wyatt is 63.
Other names mentioned along the way have included former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, former Speaker of the House Tim Ford and Jackson corporate lawyer Barry Cannada. But, say sources close to the secret selection process, their names are not among the chosen.
The final decision could come as early as Monday, when the state’s Institutions of Higher Learning search committee ends its interviews of the finalists. IHL runs the state’s public universities.
Amy Whitten of Oxford, chairwoman of that committee, did not respond to questions about the search.
Khayat will retire June 30 after 14 years at the university’s helm. He’s widely considered the 161-year-old institution’s most successful chancellor.
Jones, who’s been the medical center’s top man since 2003, is still regarded to be the frontrunner.
Jones got his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Mississippi College and earned his medical degree from UMC in 1975. He’s now University of Mississippi vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.
Hall is the most recent in Oxford. From 1989 through July 2007, he was Ole Miss’ associate provost and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, although he came to teach law.
Many parents and students will remember him as the director of the university’s orientation program. He also helped create the honors college and the Lott Leadership Institute.
In 2005, he added duties as executive director of the campaign to fund a new law school.
Wyatt became Arkansas State’s 10th president in 1995 after seven years at Ole Miss as its vice chancellor for executive affairs for Chancellor Gerald Turner.
A professor of art history, he worked as Turner’s top aide, coordinating the work of several other vice chancellors and officials reporting to the chancellor, as well as other tasks under Turner’s supervision, including lobbying the Legislature.
Robbins earned his medical degree at UMC in 1983 after undergraduate studies at Millsaps College. He is professor and chairman of Stanford School of Medicine’s Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. He also is director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and directs other heart and lung transplant programs.
He lists numerous projects, including research into congestive heart failure.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or

Patsy Brumfield

Click video to hear audio