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4/29/2024 - Jackson, Miss.

The newest members of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning were confirmed by the Mississippi Senate on Sunday, April 28, 2024. They will each serve a nine-year term beginning May 8, 2024.

Stepping into their new roles with IHL are:

  • Donald Clark Jr., of Ridgeland, who will represent the First Supreme Court District. Clark is of counsel to Butler Snow, LLP.
  • Jerry L. Griffith of Gulfport, who will represent the Second Supreme Court District. Griffith has more than 40 years of experience in government, and previously served on the Mississippi Gaming Commission.
  • James Heidelberg of Pascagoula, who will represent the Second Supreme Court District. A founding partner of Heidelberg, Steinberger, Burrow & Armer, P.A., Heidelberg has practiced law since 1978. He is a past chair of the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board.
  • Charles Stephenson of West Point, who will represent the Third Supreme Court District. Stephenson currently works as CEO of Heartland Natural Resources, LLC. He also serves as manager of the Stephenson Family Foundation.

"This class of trustees brings a broad and diverse set of skills to the table, and I look forward to working with them in support of Mississippi’s eight public universities," said Dr. Al Rankins Jr., commissioner of higher education. "We have a strong system, and I’m confident the IHL Board of Trustees will continue in their dedicated work to make it even stronger."

Four trustees are completing their nine-year terms effective May 7, 2024: Tom Duff of Hattiesburg, Dr. Alfred McNair Jr. of Ocean Springs, Chip Morgan of Leland, and Dr. Walt Starr of Columbus.


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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