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Dr. Alfred E. McNair Jr. to succeed...

Dr. Alfred E. McNair Jr. to succeed Duff as IHL President 

By: Anne Summerhays - May 5, 2023

Trustee Bruce Martin, incoming Vice President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning recognized the leadership of outgoing President Tom Duff at the meeting of the IHL Board of Trustees held April 20 in Jackson. (Photo from IHL)

Duff and McNair have served on the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board since 2015.

Dr. Alfred R. McNair, Jr. will take the reins of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) in Mississippi as President next week succeeding Tom Duff.

Dr. Alfred McNair

Both Dr. McNair and Duff were appointed to the IHL Board of Trustees in May 2015 by former Governor Phil Bryant to represent the Second Supreme Court District for a term expiring on May 7, 2024.

At its last meeting, IHL members recognized the leadership of outgoing President Duff.

Trustee Bruce Martin, incoming Vice President, praised Duff’s leadership and acknowledged the tremendous impact Duff has in Mississippi as a business leader and generous benefactor.

“The force that you are in the economy of this state and our universities is admirable,” said Martin. “We are fortunate to have a leader of your caliber engaged in governing Mississippi’s public universities.

Dr. McNair said Mississippi’s public universities are advancing Mississippi with academic programs to meet workforce needs and research to address our state’s most pressing concerns.

“Trustee Duff’s wisdom and commitment to our universities is an inspiration,” Dr. McNair continued. “I look forward to his continued counsel as I begin serving as President in May.”

Duff noted that these are challenging times in higher education.

“I am proud of the way our university leaders, faculty and staff are adapting and maintaining the quality academic and research programs that our students need and deserve,” Duff stated in a release on the transition. “Because of their efforts thousands of students will graduate and launch careers in our state and beyond. I am confident Mississippi public universities have prepared them well for a bright future.”

According to IHL, Mississippi public universities served 87,775 students and awarded 19,861 degrees in Academic Year 2022. Over the past five years, there has been an 8.8 percent increase in degrees awarded and a 19.7 percent increase in the numbers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) graduates.

IHL noted in their recognition of the outgoing President that Duff is a resident of Hattiesburg and is co-owner, along with his brother Jim, of Duff Capital Investors, the largest private business in Mississippi. In 1980, Mr. Duff received his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern Mississippi. In 2012, in recognition of Jim and Tom Duff’s significant contributions, the University of Southern Mississippi named its athletic center ‘The Jim and Tom Duff Athletic Center.’ The center is located on the north end of Roberts Stadium and houses the football players locker room, weight training area, and coaches’ offices. The University of Mississippi also honored the Duffs’ contributions with the naming of ‘The Jim and Thomas Duff Center for Science and Technology Innovation.’

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: