Glenn Boyce appointed UM chancellor as IHL board cuts search process short

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Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press

(File photo) Commissioner of Higher Education Glenn Boyce, center, responds to a lawmaker’s question during a hearing before the Legislature’s working education group, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, at the Capitol in Jackson.

Glenn Boyce, former commissioner of the Institutions of Higher Learning and president of Holmes Community College, will be named the next chancellor of the University of Mississippi in a news conference on Friday, several sources close to the process confirmed to Mississippi Today.

The 12-member IHL board voted on Thursday afternoon to appoint Boyce after conducting several interviews with other applicants on Wednesday and Thursday, shortening their stated search process by several weeks and waiving vetting visits with university constituency groups.

Boyce, who served as IHL commissioner from 2015-2018, served as a consultant to the IHL board during the chancellor search process, meeting with potential candidates and powerful alumni to gauge how the process should move forward. 

His consulting contract was paid through the University of Mississippi Foundation, not through the IHL, according to several people close to the process. The contract amount is not publicly available, as the university foundation is not subject to public records laws.

Boyce did not submit a formal application that was placed before the Campus Search Advisory Committee, which included various student, faculty and alumni groups. The IHL board granted Boyce what’s known as a “back door” interview, meaning the board and other search consultants reached out to him privately and included him late in the search process.

After several candidates – including Texas Wesleyan President Fred Slabach, Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson, Auburn University Provost Bill Hardgrave, Oxford attorney Cal Mayo and Jackson businessman Jim Barksdale – were interviewed on Wednesday and Thursday, the IHL board voted to grant Boyce an interview. Shortly after the interview ended, a motion was made to appoint Boyce chancellor.

‘We need a leader with vision’: Inside the politically charged Ole Miss chancellor search


The vote count was not immediately available on Thursday evening, but a majority of the 12 members voted affirmatively. 

Several messages to Boyce were not returned on Thursday evening.

Speculation about the possibility of a Boyce hire swirled around Oxford for several months. A handful of alumni asked the IHL board members at an early September listening session not to hire him.

“There is a very disturbing rumor floating around in the business community that this group is going to review all the applicants and nobody’s quite going to come up to par and that the job is going to be offered to a former consultant to this board who was not an applicant,” Oxford businessman Campbell McCool told the IHL board on Sept. 5. “I’m not here to disparage any particular person, but I’m asking that this please be a fair and legitimate process.”

Boyce, a New York state native and Madison resident, has more than 35 years of experience in education in Mississippi, ranging from a classroom teacher on the kindergarten to 12th grade level, to administration on the K-12, community college and university level.

He previously served as president of Holmes Community College in Goodman.

Boyce obtained undergraduate and doctorate degrees from the University of Mississippi and a masters from Mississippi College. His doctorate is in education leadership.

Read all of Mississippi Today’s chancellor search coverage.