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Commissioner of Higher Education
Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr.

Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. was appointed to serve as Commissioner of Higher Education by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning on March 22, 2018 and began serving in this role on July 1, 2018. As Commissioner, Dr. Rankins provides leadership to the university system, including all eight public universities in Mississippi.

Prior to being named Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Rankins served as the 19th president of Alcorn State University, the nation's oldest public land-grant HBCU. Under his leadership, the university excelled in academics and athletics and was noted nationally for its commitment to the student experience.

During his four years as president of his alma mater, Dr. Rankins provided leadership that helped the university enroll its largest freshman class in its history and increased the average ACT scores of entering freshmen for three consecutive years. The university achieved it highest ever ranking by College Consensus as the #7 best HBCU and #1 best public HBCU in the nation. The university has established new academic programs and made important discoveries through its research.

In athletics, Alcorn has also won several conference championships and a national championship, while graduating student-athletes in record numbers.

As President, Dr. Rankins improved campus infrastructure and initiated and completed major capital projects. In addition to the 1,700-acre Lorman campus, the university also includes branch locations in Natchez and Vicksburg.

He was named President of Alcorn State University on March 4, 2014. Prior to that, Dr. Rankins served as deputy commissioner for the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). While serving as deputy commissioner, Dr. Rankins also served as acting president of Mississippi Valley State University.

Prior to his appointment at IHL, Dr. Rankins served on the faculty at Mississippi State University (MSU), where he was a tenured associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and extension specialist with the MSU Extension Service.

A native of Greenville, Mississippi, Dr. Rankins received a Bachelor of Science degree from Alcorn State University and both Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Mississippi State University.

Dr. Rankins and his wife, Juandalyn, have two children Aftyn and Alfred.