Dr. Elayne Hayes-Anthony has officially stepped into the position of Jackson State University’s temporary acting president after former President Thomas Hudson was suddenly placed on administrative leave.
On Thursday, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning announced that Hayes-Anthony would be the new acting president following a vote of no confidence in Hudson from the university’s faculty Senate in January.
“I am committed to upholding the Jackson State University mission to serve our student body. The first people on my list to service will be the students.That’s why I am here,” Hayes-Anthony said. “Together with the faculty and staff, we will continue to execute the JSU Elevate Strategic Plan, which is focused on student success, academic excellence, increased research excellence, and enhancing the JSU brand.”
During a press conference on Monday, Hayes-Anthony said she is committed to ensuring the university does not miss a step during the leadership transition.
“As a communicator, one of the most significant elements of communication is listening,” noted Hayes-Anthony. “I want to hear from students. I want to know what students need because a part of my mission is increasing enrollment, and you cannot do that unless you listen to students. Together, we will maintain JSU’s stability and progress.”
The JSU alumna earned both her Bachelor of Science and master’s degrees at the university, later obtaining her Ph.D. in organizational communication broadcast law at Southern Illinois University.
Since then, Hayes-Anthony has served as chair and professor at JSU’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies for eight years, previously working as a professor of communications and chair of the Department of Communications at Belhaven University from 1998 until 2015.
A native of Jackson, she made a name for herself as the first African-American female news anchor on WJTV Channel 12. Hayes-Anthony was also appointed assistant superintendent of public information for the Jackson Public School District and spokesperson for the Jackson School Board before accepting the position at Belhaven.
Additionally, Hayes-Anthony has received a number of accolades for her work and civic involvement, including being named the 2014 recipient of the Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher Award.