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11/27/2012 - Jackson, Miss.

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning recently appointed Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. as acting president of Mississippi Valley State. He will begin meeting with students, faculty and staff today.

A Greenville native, Dr. Rankins currently serves as the associate commissioner for academic and student affairs for the Institutions of Higher Learning and has extensive higher education experience. As the university system's chief academic officer, Dr. Rankins has administrative oversight for several units, including Academic Affairs, America Reads Mississippi, College Knowledge, Gear Up Mississippi, Nursing Education, P-20 Initiatives, Strategic Data Management and Student Affairs.

"The Board of Trustees is committed to the success of Mississippi Valley State University," said Ed Blakeslee of Gulfport, President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. "We are pleased that Dr. Rankins has agreed to step into this important role to work with the faculty, staff, students, alumni and community as they continue to move the university forward."

As head of IHL's Division of Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Rankins manages a $14 million dollar budget and advises the IHL Board of Trustees and Commissioner of Higher Education on all matters pertaining to academic programs, policy, and planning; student access, readiness, and success; and faculty affairs.

"I am happy to serve the university in this capacity at this important time in its history," said Dr. Rankins. "While change is never easy, I am excited to work with the university community and make this a seamless transition for students and staff as we continue to fulfill the university's mission to prepare students to be the leaders of tomorrow."

Dr. Rankins holds a bachelor of science degree from Alcorn State University and both the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees from Mississippi State University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Authority for Educational Television and University Press of Mississippi. He also serves on the Mississippi Commission for College Accreditation and as Secretary-Treasurer for the Mississippi Association of Colleges. Dr. Rankins and his wife, Juandalyn, have two children, Aftyn and Alfred.

"Dr. Rankins has a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of higher education," said Dr. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education. "His breadth of experience and deep understanding of the Delta region will serve the university well during this time of transition."

Dr. Rankins will continue serving as acting president until an Interim President is named by the Board of Trustees. A timetable for the search for the next president of Mississippi Valley State University will be announced at a later time.

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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.

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