ITTA BENA, Miss.--Dr. Alfred Rankins, Jr. of Greenville, has been appointed acting president of Miss. Valley State University. He serves as the chief academic officer for the school, overseeing Academic Affairs, America Reads Mississippi, College Knowledge, Gear Up Mississippi, Nursing Education, P-20 Initiatives, Strategic Data Management and Student Affairs.
Rankins temporarily replaces Donna Oliver, let go by the IHL Board last month. She had been criticized by some for personnel decisions.
“The Board of Trustees is committed to the success of Mississippi Valley State University,” said Ed Blakeslee of Gulfport, President of the Board of Trustees of the IHL Board, which oversees public colleges and universities. “We are pleased that Dr. Rankins has agreed to step into this important role to work with the faculty, staff, students, alumni and community as they continue to move the university forward.”
There had been speculation by some in recent years that the IHL Board wanted to undermine Valley's stability and cause its closure. One of those speculating was MVSU foundation board Chairman Dr. Walter Roberts, who supported extending Oliver's contract.
It was unclear whether Rankins would seek the job full time.
“I am happy to serve the university in this capacity at this important time in its history,” said Rankins in a news release. “While change is never easy, I am excited to work with the university community and make this a seamless transition for students and staff as we continue to fulfill the university’s mission to prepare students to be the leaders of tomorrow.”