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3/26/2008 - Jackson, Miss.

Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Thomas C. Meredith announced today that Dr. Vance H. Watson, named Interim President by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) during its March 2008 Board meeting following the resignation of Mississippi State President Dr. Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong, will immediately begin working in transition with President Foglesong and will assume the presidential post on Tuesday, April 1, 2008. Dr. Watson’s salary is to be determined.

"The Board and I appreciate Dr. Watson’s willingness to serve Mississippi State in this capacity and know he will generate positive momentum for the university during this interim period," said Commissioner Meredith.

A Missouri native, Dr. Watson began his tenure at the land-grant institution in 1966 as an assistant professor of agronomy. During his 42-year career, he has held successively responsible positions, including a variety of leadership roles in the areas he now heads. Prior to the interim presidential appointment, Dr. Watson served Mississippi State as Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine.

Watson is the author of more than 300 publications, including six textbook chapters. Among his many service activities is a five-year appointment as executive vice president of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies, an international organization for genetic standards and certification of 3,500 varieties of crops produced in nine countries.

He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. His MSU honors include recognition by the MSU Alumni Association for excellence in research and selection by two student groups as professor of the year. Watson holds a bachelor's degree from Southeast Missouri State University, a master's from the University of Missouri and a doctorate from Mississippi State.

A photo of Dr. Watson can be found here: http://www.mississippi.edu/images/vance_watson_lg.jpg.

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.


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