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10/29/2015 - Oxford, Miss.

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning announced today the unanimous decision to name Dr. Jeffrey S. Vitter as Chancellor of the University of Mississippi. A renowned computer scientist and academic leader, Dr. Vitter currently serves as provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas.

"Dr. Vitter is, without a doubt, an exceptional academician and researcher. He is also an experienced and very successful academic leader," said Alan Perry, President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. "However, it is his vision and passion for the University of Mississippi that is most compelling. I am confident this vision, coupled with his ability to lead the process of developing and implementing strategic plans, will help take the university to even higher level of stature and prominence."

Dr. Vitter serves as the provost and executive vice chancellor and the Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas. His academic home is the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and he is a member of the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center. KU includes the main campus in Lawrence, with 10 colleges and schools, the Edwards Campus in Overland Park and the Medical Center campuses in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina, Kansas. As provost, Dr. Vitter is the chief academic and operations officer for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.

Dr. Vitter initiated and co-led the campus-wide development of KU's strategic plan, Bold Aspirations: The Strategic Plan for the University of Kansas, 2012-2017. The plan is the university's transformative roadmap toward its vision of excellence as a top-tier public international research university. While at KU, he created the first-ever university-wide KU Core curriculum; oversaw major facilities improvements and expansion; and led the expansion of the Schools of Engineering, Business and Pharmacy.

He also enhanced multidisciplinary research and funding around four strategic initiatives, including:

  • Alumni outreach and furthering the goals of the capital campaign
  • Major growth of technology commercialization and corporate partnerships
  • Incentivizing innovation
  • Administrative reorganization and efficiency

"I am honored to be given this opportunity by the Board of Trustees and the Ole Miss family," said Dr. Vitter. "I hold a profound respect for the University of Mississippi and understand the responsibility with which I have been entrusted. As chancellor, I commit, with wholehearted enthusiasm, to building on its rich history to foster excellence and lead the university forward."

Previously, Dr. Vitter was on the faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. At Texas A&M, he served as provost and executive vice president for academics and oversaw the academic mission of the university in Galveston, Texas and Doha, Qatar.

Before joining Texas A&M, Dr. Vitter served as the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science and Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. As dean, he was the chief academic officer and administrator of the College of Science, responsible for overseeing the discovery, learning, engagement and diversity activities of the college's seven academic departments.

At Duke University, Dr. Vitter held the distinguished professorship as the Gilbert, Louis and Edward Lehrman Professor. He also served as chair of the Department of Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences and as co-director and a founding member of Duke's Center for Geometric and Biological Computing.

Prior to joining Duke, Dr. Vitter progressed through the faculty ranks and served in various leadership roles in the Department of Computer Science at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

"As a preeminent scholar and a leader in higher education, Dr. Vitter's experience speaks for itself," said Dr. Alice Clark, Chair of the Campus Search Advisory Committee. "During the search process, our alumni, faculty, students, staff and community members provided invaluable information about the qualities they expect to see in the next University of Mississippi chancellor. We listened, and we believe Dr. Vitter exemplifies those qualities. Dr. Vitter's background and experience combine to make him the perfect choice to lead a strong public research university like ours to even greater success."

A native of New Orleans, Dr. Vitter graduated with highest honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1977 and earned a Ph.D. under Don Knuth in computer science at Stanford University in 1980. He also holds an M.B.A. from Duke University.

Dr. Vitter and his wife, Sharon, have three adult children.

Yesterday, Dr. Vitter met with campus constituency groups at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and, earlier today, met with campus constituency groups on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members were able to pose questions to him and share their thoughts and concerns with him. Attendees at both locations were able to provide feedback to the Board of Trustees. This feedback was reviewed during the Board Meeting on campus.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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