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2/15/2006 - Jackson, Miss.

In its regular monthly meeting, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) met in executive session and voted to approve renewal of four-year contracts for Dr. Claudia A. Limbert, President of Mississippi University for Women, and Dr. Lester C. Newman, President of Mississippi Valley State University. The Board also honored the academically talented students and faculty members of Mississippi’s higher education institutions who have made outstanding contributions in promoting academic excellence. The 19th annual Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) program will culminate with an “Appreciation Day,” hosted by the Legislature each February. Additionally, the Board recognized the month of February as Black History Month, and will recognize and honor noteworthy African American faculty members from each of the state’s eight public universities, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, during the regular March Board meeting.

In other news, the Board approved the FY 2006 budget for Ayers settlement funds, including amendments for Alcorn State University, Jackson State University and Mississippi Valley State University. The Board also voted to lengthen the repayment period for the Critical Needs Alternative Route Teacher Loan/Scholarship Program, as well as the Critical Needs Teacher Loan/Scholarship Program, from five to ten years.

In his Commissioner’s Report, Dr. Thomas C. Meredith discussed the search for president at Mississippi State University. “It’s moving forward nicely,” said Commissioner Meredith. “I’m encouraged to report that there are more current sitting presidents in this pool than the Board has experienced in a long time, maybe ever. I haven’t been able to go back through a lot of searches to study it, but it appears this is true.”

Following the meeting, Board members met formally with Student Government Association presidents and student newspaper editors during the annual Student Leader Luncheon. Commissioner Meredith invited the student body presidents to the regular meeting of the Commissioner and the Institutional Executive Officers every third month at the Jackson Board office. In addition, the Board will reserve a permanent seat at each Board meeting for the President of the Student Body Council, as well as a seat for Student Body Presidents, to rotate on a monthly basis. “You are what we are all about,” said Commissioner Meredith. “The Board and I are pleased to work with you and hear your input in a more formalized fashion.”

In other good news, Delta State University (DSU) President John Hilpert announced that seven of DSU’s athletic teams are nationally-ranked. Mississippi State University (MSU) President Charles Lee reported that Dr. Richard Holmes, a physician at the University’s student health center and the first African American to enroll at MSU, was recently named Mississippi State’s 2006 National Alumnus of the Year. Finally, it was announced that Trustee Aubrey Patterson was recently named Tupelo, Mississippi’s Citizen of the Year.

The next regular meeting of the Board is set for Thursday, March 16, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, IHL 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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