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10/21/2021 - Jackson, Miss.

Dr. J. Walt Starr

"The Mississippi Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning has renewed the contract of MSU President Mark E. Keenum for a four-year term ending June 30, 2025, at his present compensation. Keenum is now in his 13th year of distinguished and impactful service to the university.

"As part of that contract renewal, the IHL Board also authorized the private Mississippi State University Foundation - at its discretion - to structure and invest in a retention plan for Dr. Keenum.

"While Dr. Keenum did not seek a pay increase or other compensation, the Board sees the wisdom in taking steps to invest in retaining the effective and visionary leadership that Dr. Keenum has brought to MSU.

"It is wise on the Foundation's part to incentivize stability and continuity in leadership as the institution moves forward. The Foundation's retention plan relies on private dollars.

"As president of the Mississippi IHL Board, I strongly believe that this plan reflects very positively on Dr. Keenum and his leadership team at MSU, along with the students, faculty, and staff of the institution and provides the foundation for continued growth and development of the university for the foreseeable future."

"Earlier this year, Dr. Keenum surpassed the late Dr. Donald W. Zacharias' 12.5-year tenure (1985-1997) to become the second-longest serving MSU president in the institution's history behind only founding MSU President Stephen D. Lee, who served for 19 years.

"During Dr. Keenum's tenure leading the university, MSU has reached unprecedented heights in terms of undergraduate and graduate enrollment, university endowment, external research funding, scholarship offerings, diversity and inclusion attainment, new construction and renovations, expansion of online education capacity, and a dramatic expansion of the university's physical plant including utilities, parking, dining space, and student amenities. His tenure also brought MSU the institution's first modern-era Rhodes Scholar (Field Brown in 2013) and a Phi Beta Kappa Society chapter in 2018.

"Dr. Keenum's tenure has also been marked by expansion and sophistication of the university's athletic programs and facilities, including the university's first NCAA National Championship in a major sport after competing in three other national championship contests."

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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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