NEWS UPDATE: College Board names Foglesong 'preferred candidate' for MSU president

Associated Press

JACKSON – Retired Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, who earned his wings at Columbus Air Force base, was named Monday as the state College Board's “preferred candidate” for president of Mississippi State University.

Foglesong, who retired in February after holding several key command positions in the Air Force, still faces a full day of interviews on Tuesday with faculty, staff, alumni and others on the Mississippi State campus in Starkville.

Late Tuesday, the College Board plans to review the results of the campus meetings and make a final decision.

MSU's new president would succeed Charles Lee, who is retiring.

The board began closed-door interviews with finalists on Sunday and continued meetings on Monday.

“We feel we have a person whose leadership, experience and courage in his past jobs can help Mississippi State succeed,” said Ed Blakeslee, chair of the MSU Presidential Search Committee.

Several potential candidates had been mentioned by university alumni leaders but Foglesong had not been among them.

Mark Keenum, a Starkville native and Mississippi State graduate who serves as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., had interviewed on Sunday.

According to an Air Force Web site, among Foglesong's commands were U.S. Air Forces in Europe; Allied Air Component Command, Ramstein Air Base in Germany; and director of the Multinational Joint Air Power Competence Center in Kalkar, Germany.

Foglesong logged more than 4,400 flying hours, primarily in fighter and training assignments. His staff tours included duty as assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C.

Foglesong earned a doctor of philosophy in chemical engineering from West Virginia University in 1971. He graduated from the National War college at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington in 1989, according to the Air Force site.

Despite being unable to sit in on Sunday's discussions, Starkville Alderman Richard Corey, a student at Mississippi State, remained in the board lobby.

“They should be more inclusive and involve the community and the university,” Corey said.

He said the secrecy that had surrounded the MSU search “doesn't serve the public good, and it is a public university.”

Mississippi State alumni leaders earlier identified other finalists as John Frederick, provost at University of Nevada, Reno; Renu Khatur, provost at the University of South Florida, and Walter Wendler, chancellor at the University of Southern Illinois campus at Carbondale.

Check back for updates to this developing story. For more information, see Tuesday's Daily Journal.