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4/15/2021 - Jackson, Miss.

Trustee Ford Dye passed the gavel to incoming President Walt Starr at the meeting of the IHL Board of Trustees held today in Jackson. Trustee Starr will officially take office on May 8.

"Mississippi's public university system advances the state through its tri-fold mission of education, research and service," said Dr. Starr. "I am proud of the dedication to this mission that I have witnessed as a Trustee and look forward to taking on this new role as President of the Board. Our universities continue to innovate, lead and adapt to ensure that the system provides an excellent return on investment for both students and the state."

Trustee Starr served as Vice President of the Board during Trustee Dye's term. Trustee Tom Duff will serve as Vice President during Dr. Starr's term.

"During the nine years I have served on the Board of Trustees, the universities have faced many issues and changes, but none as challenging as the past year," said Trustee Dye. "The university leaders, faculty and staff, and students have all persevered through the global pandemic. I am very proud of the way they faced these challenges and continued to provide an excellent education to students, conduct life-changing and life-saving research, and serve their communities, while also helping to combat the coronavirus. I have enjoyed working with my fellow Trustees, the Commissioner, and the universities. It has been a privilege to serve as President of the Board of Trustees."

Mississippi Public Universities served more than 89,000 students and awarded 19,159 degrees in Academic Year 2020. Over the past five years, there has been a 12 percent increase in the number of degrees awarded and a 29.5 percent increase in the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates.

Dr. J. Walt Starr was appointed to the Board by Governor Phil Bryant in May 2015 to represent the Third (Northern) Supreme Court District for a term to expire May 7, 2024.

Dr. Starr is a native of Starkville and graduated from Mississippi State University in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in Chemistry, from University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry in 1984 and completed a periodontal residency from the University of Alabama Birmingham in 1988.

Dr. Starr practiced general dentistry from 1984 - 86 in Starkville and Macon at which point he entered his residency for periodontics from 1986-1988. He has practiced periodontics in Columbus and Starkville since 1988 and has served the dental community for the past 29 years. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Mississippi Dental Association, American Academy of Periodontology, American College of Dentists, past president of the Pierre Fauchard Academy, past president of the Columbus Dental Society, past president of the District 1 Dental Society, past member of the Mississippi Dental Association Board of Trustees and volunteers his services for the Donated Dental Services (DDS). Dr. Starr was appointed to the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners by Governor Haley Barbour and served from 2004 - 2010.

Dr. Starr is actively involved in the community. He is a past president of Columbus Rotary Club, past president of Columbus GirlChoir and past member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church Vestry. He also served on the Mississippi State University Development Foundation Board for three terms.

Dr. Starr and his wife, Lee Ann, have two daughters, Breland and Georgia Grace. He is an active member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Columbus.

Dr. Ford Dye was appointed to the Board by Governor Phil Bryant in May 2012 to represent the Third (Northern) Supreme Court District for a term to expire May 7, 2021.

Dr. Dye is a board certified otolaryngologist in practice with ENT Consultants of North Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. He is also a Diplomate with the American Board of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

Dr. Dye earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Mississippi. He completed both his general surgery internship and his otolaryngology residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Throughout his career, Dr. Dye has received numerous awards and honors. In 2011, he received the Dr. James C. Waites Leadership Award from the Mississippi State Medical Association in recognition of his excellence as a leader in organized medicine and community affairs. In 2000, Dr. Dye received the Robert S. Caldwell, M.D., Award given to the outstanding resident at UMC in recognition of excellence in medical care, leadership, and the teaching of medical students and fellow residents.

Dr. Dye has co-authored and published scholarly abstracts included in peer-reviewed journals such as Hearing Research and Laryngoscope. He received the Association for Research in Otolaryngology Travel Award as a resident and also spent a summer as a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health.

He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi State Medical Association and the board for the Mississippi Physicians Care Network. He is past president of the North Mississippi Medical Society and the North Mississippi Physicians Association. He is also a member of the Mississippi Tobacco Control Advisory Council.

Dr. Dye, a native of Jackson, Miss., lives in Oxford, Miss. He and his wife, Sonya, have one son, Bradford "Jack" Dye, IV. They are members of Oxford University United Methodist Church.

Trustee Ford Dye (left) of Oxford, outgoing President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, passes the gavel to incoming President Walt Starr of Columbus.

Trustee Walt Starr (right) of Columbus, incoming President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, presents a plaque of appreciation to outgoing President Ford Dye of Oxford.


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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