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Board of Trustees extends contract for Alcorn State University president

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning demonstrated great support for Alcorn State University President Dr. M. Christopher Brown II when they voted unanimously to extend his contract for four more years. The contract extension follows a careful review that included meetings with stakeholders on campus. Since being named President in 2010, Brown has led the university to be distinguished in many ways, including recognized as the HBCU of the Year by the Center for HBCU Media Advocacy in April of this year.

“Dr. Brown provides great leadership to Alcorn State University,” said Ed Blakeslee of Gulfport, president of the Board of Trustees. “He has a vision for the university and boundless energy and enthusiasm to lead the campus community in bringing that vision to fruition.”

Brown was named the 18th president of the nation’s first historically black land-grant institution in November 2010 and began serving in the role in January 2011. Serving approximately 4,000 students on the main campus in Lorman, along with satellite campuses in Vicksburg and Natchez, Brown provides a student-centered approach to decision-making.

“Dr. Brown is focused on providing students with the education and services they need to be successful,” said Trustee C.D. Smith of Meridian. “He ensures that all students, including first-generation college students and community college transfers, have the support system necessary to make the most of their university experience when they come to Alcorn.”

The Medgar Wiley Evers Heritage Village was recently established on the Lorman Campus and gives students a state-of-the-art student housing complex in which to live and learn. Brown is working to honor the Evers legacy by raising funds to build a memorial statue of Medgar Evers for the Heritage Village, making Alcorn a new destination on the Mississippi Civil Rights and Blues trail. In addition, Brown brought Myrlie Evers to campus as a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence, giving Alcorn students the opportunity to learn about sacrifice and service from someone who has demonstrated those ideals throughout her life.

“The enthusiasm that President Brown has generated for Alcorn State University gives us a competitive advantage,” says Dr. Dickson Idusuyi, associate professor of political science and Faculty Senate president.

Donna G. Hayden, chief information officer and Staff Senate president agreed and added, “President Brown has strengthened Alcorn and demonstrated that he is an effective and devoted leader. Under his leadership, Alcorn was named the 2012 HBCU of the Year. Alcorn has increased in recognition and student enrollment.”

The voice of Student Government Association President Marcus Mercy ’13 is full of pride as he speaks about his president, “President Brown is fully committed to serving the collective interests of our diverse student body. His transparent leadership and ability to discuss matters with us and not at us is setting a new standard at Alcorn.”

In addition to bringing the football game with traditional rival Jackson State University back to the Lorman Campus for the 2012 match-up, Brown recently embarked upon a national alumni listening and speaking tour, which took him to Greenville, Atlanta, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Memphis. During the tour, he discussed how diversity and inclusivity matter just as much as ensuring that Alcorn remains connected to its communities while expanding beyond its borders.

Alcorn State University National Alumni President James Stubbs ’73 strongly supports the efforts of the 18th president, “President Brown understands that Alcorn cannot fulfill its educational goals without the loyal support and financial involvement of its alumni and friends. I have enjoyed my travels with Dr. Brown on the national alumni listening and speaking tour. He (Dr. Brown) has increased fundraising and active participation of alumni and friends to serve Alcorn through close association with the president and University community.”

“As Alcornites, we take pride in our rich history, traditions and legacy of giving back,” says Chairman of the ASU National Alumni Foundation Dr. John Walls ’68. “President Brown’s visionary leadership has engaged the Alcorn family in new innovative ways. Now, thinking outside the box is normal for us.”

“I am indeed proud of President Brown. I was proud the day we hired him and I am still proud,” says President of the ASU Foundation Robert Gage. “President Brown even in difficult financial times has fostered a strong sense of community involvement and support for Alcorn State University. The University is more efficient and metrics-driven, and he has also worked to strengthen the foundation's leadership team.”

Since coming to Alcorn, Brown has led the university to focus its efforts on academic excellence, energizing the alumni and donor bases, and revitalizing Alcorn’s institutional brand within the national higher education landscape. Brown hosted the university’s first Presidential Encampment in August 2011 and continued the tradition in 2012. The Encampment provided a forum to bring together the university family and community members to discuss where the university is and where they would like for it to go.

“I am honored for the vote of confidence the Board has placed in me, my leadership team and the Alcorn community,” says President M. Christopher Brown II. “Together, we will continue to raise the stature of the institution where knowledge and character matter, remaining true to our mission of academics, agriculture, athletics, and access while transforming Alcorn into a great university.”

Brown received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from South Carolina State University and a master’s degree in educational policy and evaluation from the University of Kentucky. He holds a doctorate in higher education from The Pennsylvania State University with a cognate in public administration and political science.

Prior to coming to Alcorn, Dr. Brown served as vice president and provost at the historic Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., where he held the rank of university professor. He has also served as dean of the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and as vice president for Programs and Administration at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Dr. Brown has earned a national reputation for his research and scholarly writing on education policy, governance/administration, and institutional contexts. He is the author/editor of 15 books and monographs. A former member of the South Carolina State University Board of Trustees, Dr. Brown has received numerous awards for his achievements, service, research and writing.

“Dr. Brown is a dedicated and visionary leader,” said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education. “He is committed to excellence in teaching, research and public engagement and ensuring that Alcorn continues to serve as both an academic center and an economic driver in southwestern Mississippi.”

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.