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IHL seeks input as Jackson State...

IHL seeks input as Jackson State University President search moves forward

By: Anne Summerhays - April 25, 2023
Jackson State University

Jackson State University (Photo from JSU Facebook)

The IHL Board of Trustees is gathering feedback from the community to assist in developing a candidate profile. Once complete, the Board will advertise the position.

At the beginning of March, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) placed former Jackson State University President Thomas Hudson on administrative leave with pay, effective immediately, and named Dr. Elayne Hayes-Anthony as temporary acting president.

Days later, Hudson formally resigned the post. No formal announcement as to why the change was made has been made either by Hudson or IHL.

Last month, IHL announced that President of the Board of Trustees Tom Duff appointed trustee Dr. Steven Cunningham to serve as chair of the Board Search Committee as they seek the 13th President of Jackson State University (JSU).

The trustees who will serve on the JSU Board Search Committee include:

  • Dr. Steven Cunningham, Chair
  • Dr. Ormella Cummings
  • Bruce Martin
  • Gee Ogletree
  • Hal Parker

The Board of Trustees held Listening Sessions with members of the Jackson State constituency groups on the campus last week. The Online Listening Session Survey is now open for members of the JSU Community to share the qualities and qualifications they would like to see in the next President.

IHL Commissioner Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. spoke with Magnolia Tribune on Monday about the Board Search Committee’s progress as well as on qualifications he would like to see in the next President of JSU.

Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr.

Dr. Rankins said they have not set a definite timeline but hope to fill the position as soon as possible.

“We are currently gathering feedback from the university community that we will use to develop a candidate profile,” Dr. Rankins explained. “Once the profile is complete, we will begin advertising the position and accepting applications.”

The IHL Commissioner stated that his thoughts about the qualifications of the next president will be guided by the candidate profile developed after the listening sessions.

“At this point in the search process, we are seeking input from the Jackson State constituent groups to learn what they hope to see in the next president. We will use this information to develop a profile of the candidate we will be seeking,” Dr. Rankins said.

“With strong alumni and community support and a location in the capital city, Jackson State has enormous potential. I would advise the next president to fully engage the JSU community in helping the university flourish,” the IHL Commissioner continued.

Dr. Rankins said that he understands how important the success of Jackson State University is to the Jackson community. He stated that IHL Board of Trustees wants to hear from Jackson State students, alumni, faculty and staff as well as members of the greater Jackson community about the qualities and qualifications the next president should possess.

“A few of the things we have heard are the need for a leader who is visible and accessible and who will develop strategies to address pressing issues such as the water system, student housing and campus safety,” Dr. Rankins said. “I encourage all members of the Jackson State community to take time to share their thoughts through the Online Listening Session Survey which will be open through April 26th on our website,”

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: