Commissioner of Higher Education to visit MVSU Aug. 24

August 17, 2018

ITTA BENA, Miss.—Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Al Rankins Jr. is spending 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.

The tour will include a stop at Mississippi Valley State University Friday, Aug. 24. During the visit, Rankins will have intimate conversations with various MVSU focus groups, including administration, faculty, staff and students. The visit will conclude with an open reception for MVSU alumni 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 Rankins, in a prepared statement. "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."

Rankins’ visit to MVSU will kick-off Friday morning with sessions with MVSU President Dr. Jerryl Briggs and administration. 

An Open Forum will be hosted from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. in the Cliff E. Williams Auditorium of MVSU’s Business Education Building.

Following the forum, Rankins will meet with MVSU student leaders, faculty and staff members.

The visit will conclude with an Alumni and Community Leaders Reception from 4:35 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Business Education Building Foyer.

Rankins’ prior campus visits included the University of Mississippi, Jackson State University and Delta State University.

His tour will continue with visits to the University of Southern Mississippi Aug. 30-31; Mississippi University for Women Sept. 26; Mississippi State University Sept. 27-28; and Alcorn State University Oct. 10-11.

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.

More information, including a survey on various aspects of the university system, is available online at the following link: