Ole Miss, State leaders get extensions

JACKSON – The contracts of the leaders of both Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi have been renewed for four years, the state College Board has announced.
Statements released Friday afternoon by the 12-member Board of Trustees for the State Institutions of Higher Learning said the contracts of Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones and Mississippi State President Mark Keenum were renewed unanimously for four years after “a careful review that included meetings with stakeholders across each campus.”
Of each, Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds said, “I look forward to our continued work together to help our university system continue to excel in serving the needs of our students and our state.”
The statement cited record enrollment at the University of Mississippi and said during Jones’ leadership over the past two years Ole Miss has had the largest freshmen enrollment in the state’s history, has put in programs to aid students financially, has completed a new stragetic plan, has developed new programs and was recognized by Forbes Magazine as the highest ranking public university in a five-state region.
“Dr. Jones has provided the university with outstanding leadership over the past two years,” said College Board member Aubrey Patterson of Tupelo. “He remains focused on meeting the needs of students while working with business leaders from across the state to ensure that students today are prepared to help businesses grow and prosper in the future.”
Jones took over at Ole Miss in July 2009 for Robert Khayat. Before then, Jones was vice chancellor over the University Medical Center.
Of Keenum, Board member Scott Ross of West Point, said, “We waited a long time for him, but it has been well worth the wait. I think he is the best president Mississippi State has ever had.”
Keenum took over in January 2009. Keenum, a former undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, had been a finalist for the post as president of his alma mater in past selection processes.
The statement said Mississippi State has experienced record enrollment during Keenum’s tenure, plus has developed a goals for the university and developed programs that raise private funds to award faculty and to provide scholarships to deserving students.
Both Keenum and Jones earn $429,000 annually with $220,500 in state funds and $208,500 in funds from the school’s private foundations.

Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal