July 18, 2018  

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Commissioner of Higher Education to launch Listening Tour of campuses

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Dr. Al Rankins Jr.

Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Al Rankins Jr. will spend his first hundred days in office touring the campuses to gain insights and perspectives on the university system from students, faculty, staff, elected officials and community leaders.

“My objective is to listen and glean insight and information that will inform my work as Commissioner and ensure that we are facilitating progress on each campus,” said Dr. Al Rankins, Commissioner of Higher Education. “On each visit, I hope to meet with small groups of students, faculty, and staff to have productive roundtable discussions, along with open forums and time to meet with alumni, community leaders and elected officials.”

The scheduled dates of the tour include:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018, The University of Mississippi,  Oxford

Wednesday, July 18, 2018, The University of Mississippi, Tupelo

Thursday, July 26, 2018, The University of Mississippi Medical Center,  Jackson

Wednesday, August 1, 2018, Jackson State University, Jackson

Thursday, August 23, 2018, Delta State University, Cleveland

Friday, August 24, 2018, Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena

Thursday, August 30, 2018, University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast

Friday, August 31, 2018, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg

Wednesday, September 26, 2018, Mississippi University for Women, Columbus

Thursday, September 27, 2018, Mississippi State University, Starkville

Friday, September 28, 2018, Mississippi State University, Meridian

Wednesday, October 10, 2018, Alcorn State University, Natchez

Thursday, October 11, 2018, Alcorn State University, Lorman

Additional details on the events will be released prior to each tour stop. More information, including a survey on various aspects of the university system, is available online at the following link: http://www.mississippi.edu/tour

Named Commissioner of Higher Education on March 23, 2018, Dr. Rankins began serving in this role on July 1, 2018. As Commissioner, Dr. Rankins provides leadership to the university system, including all eight public universities in Mississippi.

Prior to being named Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Rankins served as the 19th president of Alcorn State University, the nation's oldest public land-grant HBCU.

During his four years as president of his alma mater, Dr. Rankins provided leadership that helped the university enroll its largest freshman class in its history and increased the average ACT scores of entering freshmen for three consecutive years. The university achieved its highest ever ranking by College Consensus as the #7 best HBCU and #1 best public HBCU in the nation. The university has established new academic programs and made important discoveries through its research.

He was named President of Alcorn State University on March 4, 2014. Prior to that, Dr. Rankins served as deputy commissioner for the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). While serving as deputy commissioner, Dr. Rankins also served as acting president of Mississippi Valley State University.

Prior to his appointment at IHL, Dr. Rankins served on the faculty at Mississippi State University (MSU), where he was a tenured associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and extension specialist with the MSU Extension Service.