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12/11/2009 - Cleveland, Miss.

John HilpertThe New Year will bring exciting, new responsibilities for Delta State University President Dr. John Hilpert, elected recently as chair of the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges.

Dr. Hilpert, elected Tuesday at the organization's annual conference in Atlanta, is the second Mississippi university president to hold the position.

Former University of Mississippi Chancellor Dr. Robert Khayat also served as chair of the SACS Commission on Colleges.

"It is an honor to be elected by my colleagues," Dr. Hilpert said, "I look forward to the challenges ahead and to representing Mississippi on a commission that does such valuable work for higher education."

The SACS Commission on Colleges is the regional accreditation body for degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. The Commission's mission is to enhance the educational quality and effectiveness of institutions throughout the region by ensuring that universities meet all standards established by the higher education community.

Dr. Hilpert will assume duties as chair in 2010 after finishing his term as the 2009 vice chair. Dr. Hilpert served on the 2008 Executive Council of the Commission prior to his term as vice chair.

Mississippi Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Hank Bounds said he is proud to have one of the state's university presidents serve in such a distinguished role.

"Dr. Hilpert will represent Mississippi well," Dr. Bounds said. "He has worked tirelessly to ensure Delta State University remains a first-rate institution offering quality degree programs. I have no doubt that he will bring the same level of commitment and passion to SACS."

President for the SACS Commission on Colleges Dr. Belle Wheelan agreed.

"John has provided strong, fair and conscientious leadership as the Vice Chair of the Commission during the past year," Dr. Wheelan said. "His understanding of the Commission activities coupled with his patient demeanor and thorough understanding of all issues make him the perfect choice to be the next Chair. I sincerely look forward to working with him as we move the business of the Board forward."

A Missouri native, Dr. Hilpert became the seventh president of Delta State University in 2003 after serving six years as president of Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. Prior to his tenure at Northern State, Dr. Hilpert served as executive vice president and acting president of the University of South Dakota, vice president at Thiel College in Pennsylvania and executive assistant to the president at Suomi College (now Finlandia University) in Michigan.

The SACS Commission on Colleges serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America and other approved international sites that award associate, baccalaureate, master's, or doctoral degrees.

For more information about Dr. Hilpert's appointment visit deltastate.edu. For more information about the SACS Commission on Colleges visit sacscoc.org.


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