Although candidates for president of Jackson State University begin interviewing on Tuesday, no names are being released by the Institutions of Higher Learning. However, Mississippi Today has identified three people who have been nominated. Two of those candidates have completed applications.
According to Institutional Executive Officer Search Process policy, the IHL’s board of trustees will not release any information until the preferred candidate has been selected and brought to the university for meetings with the university community.
• Dr. Mark G. Hardy, provost at JSU from 2011-12, is vice president for academic affairs and professor of biology at Tennessee State University in Nashville. A 1980 JSU alumnus, Hardy has served the university in a number of capacities since 1987, including associate dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology for two years before being named dean, project director for multiple research initiatives, faculty senate chair and department chair.
Hardy confirmed his interest and application, but would not reveal his interview date.
• Dr. Hilliard L. Lackey III told Mississippi Today, “Indeed, I have been nominated and followed through with an application packet for the presidency of Jackson State University. I trust the process and await the search committee’s decision as to finalists in line for interviews.”
A 1965 alumnus of JSU, Lackey has a career at the university spanning 30-plus years. Lackey has been an administrator and professor, most recently of urban higher education for the executive Ph.D. program, as well as director of alumni affairs, director of development and alumni affairs, special assistant to the executive vice president and the president of the National Alumni Association from 2004 to 2008.
Lackey is the author of Marks, Martin and the Mule Train, a chronicle the the mule train, which began in Marks, Miss., during the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. The book was published in 1998.
“I stand ready to answer the call if the process identifies me as the appropriate candidate,” said Lackey.
• Dr. James T. Minor, senior strategist for academic success in the chancellor’s office at California State University since September, also is being considered, according to administrators at Jackson State. Prior to his current position, Minor served as deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Post-secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education from March 2014 to August 2016. The JSU alumnus also served as senior program officer and director of higher education programs for the Southern Education Foundation in Atlanta. Minor has not confirmed his candidacy with Mississippi Today.
The first round of interviews, conducted by eight members of the JSU campus search advisory committee and the IHL search committee, will be completed this week.
A second round of interviews will begin May 5, after which a preferred candidate will be announced by the IHL search committee. That candidate will be brought to the JSU campus, tentatively on May 17, for a full day of meetings with constituents. Participants can complete ratings surveys about the candidate for the board to review before making a final decision.
The board will then vote to name the preferred candidate the next president or vote to continue to search.
Former JSU president Dr. Carolyn Meyers announced her resignation in October, less than a week after the Institutions of Higher Learning appointed an accounting analytics firm to assess the university’s finances. IHL trustees reported that Jackson State’s cash reserves declined from $37 million to $4 million over four years. The board hired Ridgeland-based Matthews, Cutrer & Lindsay P.A. to assess the university’s finances between fiscal year 2012 and fiscal year 2016. Dr. Rod Paige was named interim president of JSU in November.