IHL prefers Valley’s president take JSU’s top job

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Mississippi Public Universities

Dr. William Bynum, president of Mississippi Valley State University

Dr. William B. Bynum, president of Mississippi Valley State University, is the preferred candidate for president of Jackson State University, the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees search committee announced Monday.

“It’s going to be a tough process, but I have no doubt about it that I’ll be able,” said Bynum, who has served as president of MVSU since November 2013.

“I have a great engine and I’m in excellent shape to put the energy time and commitment into touching the students, faculty and staff and alumni of Jackson State,” he added.

Immediately after the announcement, Jackson State alumni and other constituents who have been critical of the selection process began to walk out in protest.

“I am shocked, because Dr. Bynum was a part of the pool of candidates and he did not make the second round (of interviews),” said Dr. Jean-Claud Assad, appointed co-chair of the campus search advisory committee and member of the interview search committee.

“IHL is going to have to answer to this,” said Assad.

“Dr. Bynum has served Mississippi Valley State University very well as president,” said C.D. Smith, chair of the IHL board’s search committee. “He is a student-centric leader who has increased enrollment and attracted philanthropic and legislative support for the university, putting the university in a good fiscal position to offer more programs, services and opportunities for students.”

On Wednesday May 31, Bynum will be at Jackson State for a full day of meetings with constituents at the JSU Student Center: 

9 a.m. Administration, faculty and staff
10 a.m. Students
11 a.m. Alumni/community
1 p.m. Board meeting
1:30 p.m. Press conference

Participants can complete ratings surveys about the candidate for the board to review. The board will then vote to name the preferred candidate the next president or vote to continue to the search.

Bynum is a graduate of Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., where he was a student-athlete, and holds a doctorate from Duke University, where he was a Duke Endowment Fellow.

At Mississippi Valley State University, he helped secure almost $2 million in grants, increased student enrollment by 11.4 percent and raised annual giving from $400,000 to more than $1.2 million per year. Bynum also improved the university physical plant and oversaw numerous renovations and additions, including the Harrison Sports and Recreation Complex, the Edna Horton Residence Hall, College Hall residence hall and the Academic Skills Complex.

Prior to joining Mississippi Valley State University, Bynum served as vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Services for Morehouse College in Atlanta.

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.