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4/15/2010 - Jackson, Miss.

In his yearlong tenure as President of the Board of Trustees, Scott Ross has seen the inauguration of three new university leaders and the selection of a new Commissioner of Higher Education.

Ross passed the gavel to incoming President Dr. Bettye Neely at a Board meeting in Jackson today. Dr. Neely will officially take the seat on May 8.

“Trustee Ross has been at the helm during a time when many of our universities were facing significant changes – not just in leadership – but also in budget and policy matters,” said Dr. Neely, appointed as a Trustee by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in June 2000 to represent the former Fourth Congressional District. “I’m looking forward to building on the accomplishments the Board has made during his tenure.”

Dr. Neely served as Vice President of the Board during Ross’s term. Trustee Robin Robinson will serve as Vice President.

Ross was also appointed by Gov. Musgrove. He joined the Board in May 2000 and represents the Third Supreme Court District.

“It has been a high honor to serve in this position,” said Ross, who also serves as the current Mayor of West Point. “I consider Dr. Neely a great friend; she is a true advocate for education. I have no doubt our Board will reach new heights under her leadership.”

Dr. Neely holds four degrees from Mississippi’s public four-year institutions including a Bachelor of Science in English from Mississippi Valley State University, a Master of Science in Elementary Education from Jackson State University, an Education Specialist in Administration and Supervision from Delta State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction from Mississippi State University.

Dr. Neely, whose term expires in May 2012, is currently the Assistant Superintendent of District Testing and Federal Programs in the Grenada School District. She and her husband, Calvin, reside in Grenada. Their daughter Shundreia lives in Georgia, where she is a district instructional specialist.

“Mr. Ross served as President during a very difficult time in our state’s history,” Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Hank Bounds said. “Dr. Neely will meet the challenges facing us head on, just as Mr. Ross did. We are very fortunate to have leaders of their caliber.”

Ross, whose term expires in May 2012, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Mississippi State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from The University of Mississippi.

From 1984-1992, Ross served in the Mississippi House of Representatives, including nine years of service on the House Universities and Colleges Committee. He formerly served several years as a Trustee and adjunct professor for Mary Holmes College, and as a State and Local Politics Specialist for the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University.

Ross and his wife, Donna, reside in West Point. They have two children, Katherine and Stephen.


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