Dr. Ivory Nelson returns to higher ed as JSU’s interim provost

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Dr. Ivory Nelson, interim provost at Jackson State University.

Dr. Ivory Nelson, age 83, says that new Jackson State University President William B. Bynum Jr. is the only person who could get him out of retirement. On Wednesday, Nelson was appointed interim provost at the university.

In 2000, Nelson sat as the 12th president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and hired Bynum as his vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.

“He worked for me for nine years,” Nelson said. “We’ve had a great relationship over time.”

Dr. Evelyn J. Leggette, immediate past provost at JSU. Leggett retired in late June.

Nelson retired to his Houston home in December 2011. Now he is in Jackson after the retirement of JSU provost Dr. Evelyn J. Leggette, according to university media relations specialist LA Warren.

“I’m here to help with the current transition and assist in the search for a permanent provost. I will support the president in this academic endeavor wherever I can use my expertise and knowledge,” said Nelson in a press release.

The provost oversees the university’s budgetary policy and its academic and academic support programs. The provost also also has oversight responsibility for recruiting, hiring, retention, performance of faculty and academic administrators, and for the promotion and tenure process.

The timeline of the search process for a new provost has not been confirmed, however, it may take six months, said Warren.

Nelson was the first black president of Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., from 1992-1999, and acting president at Prairie View A&M University in the early 1980s. Nelson was also the first black chancellor of Alamo Community College District in San Antonio in 1986.

At Lincoln, he developed a five-year strategic plan for financing and phased construction that resulted in the elimination of operating deficits and repayment of outstanding loans and debts.

Nelson secured $27 million in private financing and $290 million from the state of Pennsylvania for renovation and new construction.