JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi College Board has named Jeffrey Vitter, the brother of a U.S. senator who is provost at the University of Kansas, as its top choice to become chancellor of the University of Mississippi.
John Polk, chairman of the Senate Universities and Colleges Committee, said Higher Education Commissioner Glenn Boyce told him the board will announce Vitter’s selection at 2 p.m. Monday. The board still needs to take a final vote to make the selection official.
Vitter, a 59-year-old computer scientist, has also served at provost at Texas A&M University from 2008 to 2009 and dean of the College of Science at Indiana’s Purdue University from 2002 to 2008. He is the brother of Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana.
Trustees declined last March to renew Chancellor Dan Jones’ contract, citing concerns about contract management at the university’s medical center. The decision prompted protests by students, faculty and alumni, including author John Grisham, former quarterback and donor Archie Manning, and former FedEx and Netscape executive Jim Barksdale. Despite the pressure, Jones and trustees couldn’t reach an agreement for him to remain as chancellor. Jones, a physician, has since rejoined the faculty at the medical center, leading clinical research into obesity treatment and prevention.
The College Board conducted an initial round of interviews last week and had been scheduled to conduct a second round of interviews later. However, the board held an emergency meeting Monday, with all trustees except College Board President Alan Perry attending by phone. Vitter had been named as a finalist to become chancellor at the University of Arkansas, which may have motivated swift action by the board.
Vitter will visit Ole Miss for interviews with faculty, staff, students and alumni before the board takes its final vote.
Provost Morris Stocks has been leading Ole Miss since June 15. As interim chancellor, he isn’t eligible for the permanent job.
As provost at Kansas, Vitter oversees operations on campuses in Lawrence and Overland Park, but he does not oversee the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Vitter holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame, a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University and a master’s in business administration from Duke University.
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