Town Hall Meeting
September 22, 2023
September 22, 2023
The members of the Board of Trustees of Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) attend an annual retreat for the purpose of discussing issues related to the university system. In recent years, they have invited each of the eight university presidents to provide an update on topics of importance related to each university.
My session with the IHL Board took place yesterday afternoon, and I used my time to provide a summary of Delta State’s enrollment and budget situation. The overarching message I shared with them was backed by a careful analysis of our expenditure, revenue, and enrollment data. For too long, Delta State’s enrollment has declined while the university’s expenditures have increased. As a consequence, the institution has operated under a budget deficit, and that deficit has consumed our financial reserves. Those of you who attended Convocation in August have already heard this message.
Now that my analysis has been accepted by the IHL Board, I would like to share this information with the university community and discuss the implications. To do so, I will host a Town Hall for Delta State employees on Thursday, September 28 at 3:00 p.m. in the auditorium of E.R. Jobe Hall. There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions at the end of the presentation.
Whereas the numbers, when presented without context, suggest we face serious challenges as a university, I am more confident now —than when I arrived four months ago — that Delta State’s future is bright. It is better to know the nature of a difficult task than to speculate in fear upon unknown challenges. Now that I know what must be done, I will rely on shared governance to determine how best to do it.
Know that we are not alone. Having met with the IHL Board, I am assured that they will provide the support needed to help Delta State to be successful. We also have a community of alumni and supporters standing at the ready. The many offers of assistance I’ve received since my arrival has led me to rethink our Centennial Campaign; you will hear about a more ambitious fundraising goal than that which was set under the prior administration.