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IHL hires from within, announces Dr. Marcus Thompson as new Jackson State president

Photo courtesy of IHL

The Institutions for Higher Learning didn’t have to look too far for a new president of Jackson State University.

After months of conversations and closed-door meetings, the IHL Board of Trustees voted on Thursday in favor of Dr. Marcus L. Thompson as the university’s new president. Thompson currently serves as deputy commissioner and chief administrative officer of the IHL.

“The Board selected a leader who knows the unique historic importance of the university who will articulate a bold vision for the future and will be indefatigable in the pursuit of excellence for Jackson State University,” Dr. Steve Cunningham, who chaired the search committee, said.

For over a decade, Thompson has been responsible for overseeing IHL staff and day-to-day operations at the agency, including IHL Board relations, communications, legislation, technology, data management, and facilities.

Before joining the IHL, the Mississippi College and Jackson State graduate worked as an educator and administrator at both private schools and public schools in the Jackson Public School District and Copiah County School District. After 15 years in the classroom, he left to join the Mississippi Department of Education as chief of staff and assistant to the state superintendent of education.

“I’m very honored to be named president of Jackson State University because I believe in its mission, purpose, and most of all, the outstanding faculty, staff, alumni, and students who embody our school’s motto of challenging minds, changing lives,” Thompson said. “I look forward to working closely with all of them to develop a consensus about strategic goals and objectives we can achieve by working together.”

Thompson will take over for interim Jackson State president Dr. Elayne Hayes-Anthony on Monday, Nov. 27. Hayes-Anthony, who was the subject of a petition by current students wanting to see her get the permanent position, has been serving on a temporary basis since the resignation of Dr. Thomas Hudson in March.

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