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Alcorn president makes first visit to Vicksburg

Published 12:50 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Improving the ties between Vicksburg and Warren County and Alcorn State University will be a major priority of the university’s new president.

Alfred Rankins Jr., who was selected in March to replace former leader M. Christopher Brown II, told the Vicksburg Warren Chapter of the Alcorn State University National Alumni Association that Warren County and Alcorn’s relationship is vital to the success of both.

“This county and this city are important to Alcorn because we’re part of the same community in southwest Mississippi,” he said. “It is important we work together to move this region and this state forward.”

Speaking to about 70 members of the local alumni group and local municipal and county leaders at the university’s satellite campus at the Vicksburg Mall, Rankins said Alcorn and the Vicksburg Warren School District can work closely together.

“Alcorn wants to be at the table to work with you,” he said. “It’s important we work together to move this region, this state forward.”

In March, the state College Board —  which runs Alcorn and Mississippi’s seven other public universities — voted unanimously for Rankins, who was previously the commissioner of academic affairs, to take the helm of the 4,000-student university.

It is not the first time Rankins has run one of the state’s historically black universities. In 2012, Rankins served as acting president for Mississippi Valley State University.

Rankins, a native of Greenville, is a graduate of Alcorn and Mississippi State University. Before taking the position of commissioner of academic affairs, Rankins was a professor at MSU where he was tenure-tracked and later assistant vice president intern for academic affairs.

He joined the Institutions of Higher Learning academic affairs board in 2008 where he was deputy commissioner, serving as the system’s chief academic officer.

Most recently, he also served on the board of directors for the Mississippi Authority for Educational Television and University Press of Mississipi.

Rankins and his wife, Juandalyn Rankins, have two children, Aftyn and Alfred.

Brown resigned in December amid an investigation into purchasing practices. The resignation came amid the College Board’s move to suspend him over the problems.

Records released to the Associated Press showed that Alcorn spent nearly $89,000 at the president’s house without seeking bids and an auditor said the school spent more than $67,000.