|Commissioner of Education Dr. Thomas C. Meredith spoke yesterday in Cleveland at the first of 12 regional gatherings across the state aimed at garnering support for funding higher education.|
In the first of 12 regional gatherings across the state aimed at garnering support for funding higher education, Mississippi Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Thomas C. Meredith delivered a 30-minute address yesterday inside KC’s Restaurant before a crowd of 50-plus legislators, local business leaders, members of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and university leaders.
Entitled “Partnering for the Future: IHL Today,” Meredith opened his delivery, stressing, “The truth is, everyone sitting in this room is a shareholder in the higher education system in Mississippi.
“The benefits of higher education are endless, both to Mississippi and her citizens,” he continued. “The question really isn’t ‘Why get a degree?’ The real question should be ‘How can you afford not to?’ At its most basic, more education means more money – increased tax revenues, greater productivity, increased consumption, increased workforce flexibility and a decreased reliance on government financial support.”
Honest in his assertions, Meredith deadpanned, “We know we’ve still got work to do, but we believe we can get it done. Through the solid leadership of our Board of Trustees and capable hands of our eight University presidents, we are about the business of improving the lives of our citizens and calling on the collective resources of our brainpower to make Mississippi a better place to live.”
If Mississippi was compared to the nation, on average, the nation has 19.6 percent of its population with less than a high school degree, compared to Mississippi’s 27 percent with less than a high school degree.
“We know where we sit in the national picture,” Meredith contended. “We do know, but there is no problem we can’t answer when we pool our collective brainpower.”
Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, IHL 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.
Judson Thigpen, Executive Director of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, served as host of the event, with Delta State University acting as host institution.