College Board cites experience in picks for ASU, JSU spots

Published 12:07 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2010

JACKSON — The preferred candidates to lead two of Mississippi’s historically black universities have executive experience at HBUs in other states and are prepared to lead schools with distinct academic missions, state College Board members said.

The board announced Monday that it had chosen Carolyn W. Meyers, a past president of Norfolk State University in Virginia, as the preferred candidate to become president of Jackson State University. If formally approved, Meyers would be the first woman in the top job at JSU, an urban campus in the capital city.

The College Board also announced its choice of Christopher Brown, the current executive vice president and provost at Fisk University in Tennessee, as the preferred candidate for president of Alcorn State, a land-grant university 50 miles south of Vicksburg in Lorman.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“We believe the preferred candidates … are the best possible individuals to lead these two great institutions,” College Board member C.D. Smith said during a news conference Monday at the board office in Jackson.

Neither Meyers nor Brown attended the announcement, which followed a several months search process.

Brown will attend a series of meetings Nov. 30 at ASU’s main campus in Lorman, and Meyers will attend meetings Dec. 1 at JSU.

The College Board, which oversees all eight public universities, is expected to approve them as presidents before Jan. 1. Final approval is usually a formality after an extensive screening process that included two rounds of private interviews.

The ASU president’s salary is $192,937. The JSU president is paid $220,500, plus a $50,000 supplement from a private foundation.

ASU has been without a permanent leader since George Ross stepped down in February to become president of Central Michigan University. Norris Edney, a longtime ASU faculty member, has been interim president.

Ronald Mason left the JSU presidency at the end of June to lead the Southern University System, based in Baton Rouge. JSU’s interim president has been longtime political science professor Leslie McLemore.

About 50 people applied for each of the jobs, the College Board said. Smith, who led the ASU search for the board, said about 10 people applied for both jobs.

Meyers resigned as Norfolk State president on June 30, after serving four years of a five-year contract. In November 2009, she was named a finalist for the presidency of Morgan State University in Baltimore but wasn’t selected for the job. This past April, Meyers was one of five semifinalists for the Southern University System in Louisiana — the job for which Mason was chosen.

Meyers was previously provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Brown has been executive vice president and provost of Fisk since July 2009. Before then, he was dean of the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield, who served on the Alcorn search advisory committee, said Brown was “a natural fit” for the job. Winfield said Brown, like the other finalists, discussed the importance of distance learning. ASU started offering classes in 2002 in Vicksburg.

“As mayor of the city of Vicksburg, my ultimate goal is to encourage the growth of the university in our community, the Vicksburg-Warren County community,” Winfield said Monday.