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Jennifer Farish

Board of Trustees appoints Alcorn President as Commissioner of Higher Education

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The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning appointed Alcorn State University President Alfred Rankins Jr. as Commissioner of Higher Education at a meeting held earlier today in Jackson. He will begin serving as Commissioner on July 1.

“Dr. Rankins has experience at both the system level and as a university president,” said Trustee C.D. Smith, president of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. “In addition, he understands the important role higher education plays in our state and the lives of our students and their families. He also understands the challenges our universities face in today’s higher education landscape. He will provide excellent leadership to the university system.”

Named President of Alcorn State University on March 4, 2014, Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. is the 19th president of the university.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as President of my alma mater,” said Dr. Rankins. “Alcorn State University is a special place that transforms lives and opens doors of opportunity for our students and the citizens we serve through research and outreach programs. My experiences at Alcorn will inform my decisions as Commissioner, which will help me to serve all eight public universities in Mississippi as we work together to advance the system and the state.”

Alcorn State University is the nation’s oldest public land-grant HBCU. In addition to the Lorman campus, the university also includes branch locations in Natchez and Vicksburg.

Dr. Rankins previously served as deputy commissioner for the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), where he served as the IHL system’s chief academic and student affairs officer. While serving as deputy commissioner, Dr. Rankins also served as acting president of Mississippi Valley State University.

Prior to his appointment at IHL, Dr. Rankins served on the faculty at Mississippi State University (MSU), where he was a tenured associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and extension specialist with the MSU Extension Service.

Under Dr. Rankins’ leadership, Alcorn has strengthened its academic programs, improved campus infrastructure, initiated and completed major capital projects, increased fundraising, and expanded its

footprint as a premier comprehensive land grant HBCU. This past fall, Alcorn enrolled its largest freshman class in the history of the institution and the university has risen in national rankings. The university has established new academic programs and made important discoveries through its research.

Currently, Dr. Rankins serves on the University Press of Mississippi Board of Directors, Entergy Mississippi Advisory Board, Mississippi Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board, and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission of Colleges Executive Board.

A native of Greenville, Mississippi, Dr. Rankins received a Bachelor of Science degree from Alcorn State University and both Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Mississippi State University.

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning will announce plans for the search for the next President of Alcorn State University soon.

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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.

Michael McDonald Plays the Mississippi Delta

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Michael McDonald will take the stage Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) at Delta State University. The concert is locally sponsored by Cannon Motors.

Tickets start at $30 and are on sale at the BPAC Ticket Office, by phone 662-846-4626, or online www.bolognapac.com.

One of the world’s most distinctive singing voices, Michael McDonald is often imitated but never duplicated. He’s had enough humility over the years to freely blend that voice with others’, whether as a member of Steely Dan, a Doobie Brother, as a highly successful solo artist and songwriter, a member of the supergroup the Dukes of September or, most recently, reaching the Coachella generation as a celebrated co-star on Thundercat’s indie hit “Show You the Way.” Fans who’ve wanted to hear that 50,000-watt clear channel of a voice all by itself have had to bide their time—not just minute by minute, but year by year—waiting for McDonald to reclaim a solo spotlight.

Enter Wide Open, McDonald’s first new album in nine years, and his first set of all-original material since 2000. McDonald has nonetheless remained relevant through the early 21st century; he received his 13th Grammy nomination for Motown, a platinum-selling tribute to the greatest of all soul labels. He subsequently released a top 10-charting sequel, Motown Two along with a Christmas album, both of which certified as Gold Records. Following came Soul Speak, a collection of classic covers and a handful of original songs. But Wide Open finds him rediscovering his other voice—that is, his songwriting voice— in a big way, penning or co-writing 11 of the album’s 12 tracks. It’s a cogent reminder that he won Record and Song of the Year Grammys for co-writing as well as singing the Doobie Brothers hit “What a Fool Believes.” Wide Open marks a return to that classic’s emotional urgency alongside fiercer and fresher band arrangements than he’s ever created before.

With a career that encompasses five Grammys, numerous chart successes and personal and professional accolades, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music. Hailing from St. Louis, McDonald arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, honing his talents as a studio musician before becoming an integral part of Steely Dan. In the mid-’70s McDonald was invited to join the Doobie Brothers as the band redefined their sound with McDonald serving as singer, keyboardist and songwriter on such Top 40 singles as “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “It Keeps You Runnin’,” “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes.”
Throughout the ’80s and ’90s McDonald’s solo career took off with a string of hits including “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near),” “Sweet Freedom,” “On My Own” (with Patti LaBelle) and the Grammy-winning James Ingram duet “Yah Mo B There,” plus he co-wrote the Van Halen hit “I’ll Wait.” McDonald has performed with a who’s-who of critically acclaimed artists across a number of genres, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill and Grizzly Bear.

Tickets to see McDonald start at $30 and are available at the BPAC Ticket Office, by phone 662-846-4626, or online www.bolognapac.com.

Classes cancelled on Wednesday, Jan. 17

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Due to weather conditions and in the interest of safety and an abundance of caution, Delta State University is cancelling all classes, including night classes, on Wednesday (Jan. 17). University employees should report to campus from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Everyone is encouraged to use caution if traveling. Employees who commute and are not able to travel should notify their supervisor.

Please report any problems to the Campus Police Department by calling 662-846-4155. For students living in the residence halls, the Hall Directors will issue information/updates from time to time. Please contact your Hall Director with any questions or problems. The Dining Hall will be open for its normal operating hours.

Decisions regarding scheduled athletic events will be posted on the Delta State Athletics website (www.gostatesmen.com) and social media outlets. For the status of other scheduled university events, contact the event sponsor.

Updates and notifications of campus status will be available at www.deltastate.edu, the university’s Facebook page (facebook.com/deltastateuniversity), Twitter account (@deltastate), and through the Okra Alert Emergency System. Or, you can call for an update at 662-846-4155.

Anyone who has not yet registered his or her cell phone number for emergency text alerts is encouraged to do so now by completing the following steps:
1. Login to your “My DSU” account:
https://banapp2.deltastate.edu:9010/dsu/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage
2. Choose the “Personal Information” section and the “Enroll in Okra Alert” option.
3. Add your cell phone number (with area code).