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Commissioner of Higher Education
Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr.

Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. currently serves as Commissioner of Higher Education for the state of Mississippi. As Commissioner, Dr. Rankins advises the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) on all higher education issues and provides oversight of the system's eight public universities and academic medical center.

Prior to being named Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Rankins served as the 19th president of Alcorn State University. Under his leadership, the university excelled in academics and athletics and was recognized nationally for its commitment to the student experience.

During his tenure 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 its highest ever ranking by College Consensus as the #7 best HBCU and #1 best public HBCU in the nation. The university established new academic programs, forged new strategic partnerships, made important discoveries through its research, and acquired its largest single monetary gift in its history. In intercollegiate athletics, Alcorn won several conference championships and a national championship, while graduating student-athletes in record numbers.

As President, Dr. Rankins improved the campus infrastructure and initiated and completed major capital projects to strengthen Alcorn's infrastructure and improve the campus living and learning environment. Additionally, Dr. Rankins served on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Executive Board as Vice Chairman.

Prior to being named President of Alcorn State University, Dr. Rankins served as IHL's deputy commissioner for academic and student affairs. While serving as deputy commissioner, Dr. Rankins also served a year as acting president of Mississippi Valley State University.

Dr. Rankins began his higher education career on the faculty at Mississippi State University (MSU), where he was a tenured associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and state-wide extension specialist with the MSU Extension Service.

Currently, Dr. Rankins serves on the State and School Employees Health Insurance Management Board, State Workforce Investment Board, and Entergy Mississippi Advisory Board. He is also a member of the National Association of System Heads (NASH), State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), and Education Commission of the States (ECS).

A native of Greenville, MS, 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.