Sunday, November 18, 2018

Bill Crawford: Who Will Be Ole Miss Chancellor?

The resignation of Ole Miss Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey S. Vitter was no surprise to insiders. A terrific academician with a stellar resume, Dr. Vitter simply was not the right fit for Ole Miss at this time. No doubt he will land another university presidency in the near future.

So, what sort of leader would fit?

While most Rebels simply want a fellow alum who can rally the troops and win in football, it takes much more than that to be a successful university president.

Two examples who could rally and win and do much more are former Chancellor Dr. Robert Khayat and current Mississippi State University President Dr. Mark Keenum. Frankly, neither were chosen for outstanding scholarship. Instead they had these more essential attributes of effective university presidents:

1. A commitment to excellence in higher education, particularly at their alma maters, and the capacity to understand and manage complex institutions.

2. The ability and personality to connect with donors and raise millions of dollars for both academics and athletics.

3. The ability and gravitas needed to attract and retain talent – the outstanding faculty and staff required to manage complex university activities, achieve academic standing among peer universities, recruit growing numbers of students, and, of course, win in football.

4. The ability and connections to navigate the swamp in Washington to get a decent share of the billions of dollars the federal government distributes to universities yearly.

5. The ability and connections to navigate the lagoon in Jackson to hold on to as much state government support as possible and minimize political interference.

6. The ability, personality, and stamina needed to keep fractious alumni and faculty content, if not happy.

7. The ability and savvy to work cooperatively with the IHL Board and Commissioner while still achieving the university's priorities.

In the case of Ole Miss, it also takes the ability, personality, and courage to abandon divisive vestiges of segregation and, yet, sustain the university's cultural uniqueness and alumni allegiance.

The traditional, insular university pathway to the presidency doesn't well prepare academicians for all these duties. That's why many universities now turn to leaders who have been successful in other fields, particularly government executives, to serve as presidents. Examples include former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, now president at Purdue University, and former Arizona governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, now president at the University of California.

And Mark Keenum at Mississippi State.

Among the early names floating around to become the next Ole Miss Chancellor is former Gov. Haley Barbour. Whether Haley is interested or has the gas in the tank to take this on, I don't know, but he fits all the criteria.

Another name mentioned is former IHL Commissioner and current University of Nebraska system president Hank Bounds. Hank checks most of the criteria boxes but has limited fundraising experience (UN Foundation gifts have declined during his tenure). For the record he has an Ole Miss Ph.D. and USM undergraduate and master degrees.

Other names will soon surface. Perhaps retiring Supreme Court Chief Justice William Waller or Delta State University President Bill LaForge will emerge. Both check most boxes and have Ole Miss law degrees (but are MSU and DSU alumni, respectively).

Finding a Chancellor with the right fit for Ole Miss will test the IHL Board.

Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.


Anonymous said...

God bless the Network in their search for our next Chancellor.

Anonymous said...

Before making Haley "Chancellor", why not bestow an honorary bachelor's degree to him since he did not attain one.

Anonymous said...

First qualification: man or woman of color.

Anonymous said...

@10:59am Won't matter. As long as whatever present leadership chooses to hold on to those "vestiges of segregation" to appease the alumni who hold those white supremacist ideas so dear, the the school will continue to founder.

Did anyone notice during the UM and Vandy game that they interviewed the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Wesley McGriff instead of Matt Luke? WHEN does that even happen during games? Never. Either Luke's on his way out or it's because they want a black coach to project an image of "diversity" or for the school. Either way, as long as they keep their moniker and mascot names which are known racist and white supremacist references, their enrollment and public image will continue to spiral down the toilet.

Anonymous said...

10:57, that was done over a decade ago, except it wasn't "honorary".

Anonymous said...

A person in this position who is a "terrific academician with a stellar resume" is totally worthless. The primary role of these positions, for at least the last thirty years, is raising money and contributing to an atmosphere that encourages alumni allegiance and contributions in the form of checks and appearances and recruiting students.

The only possible (yet doubtful) value of academics and resume would be at the semi-annual conclaves when these pointy-heads meet at Destin and Denver and San Francisco and Boston to polish each other's boots.

For The Musgrove Fans.. said...

This link says Barbour attained Juris Doctorate, U of Miss, 1973. But I'm sure the chirper, above, has inside information to refute that.

Anonymous said...

Second qualification: Rabid leftist.

Anonymous said...

I want one that can tackle-

Anonymous said...

Hank Bounds is a joke, right?

Anonymous said...

I don't know who Hank Bounds is, but Bo Bounds is a silly joke.

Anonymous said...

We do not need another middle age white male good old boy. IHL should try to move the state forward with their choice.

Anonymous said...

5:51 - There's no way in hell you can portray any of the last three chancellors at Ole Miss as 'good ole boys'. What a wacky comment. Every Chancellor put in place at any university in this state over the past fifteen years has been an ultra-liberal.

If you think not, name one who was not.

Anonymous said...

“We do not need another middle age white male good old boy. IHL should try to move the state forward with their choice.”

What does that mean? Choice should be based on skin color? Political leanings?

Anonymous said...

The IHL board members are not anything to brag about, so don't expect much from them as a quality appointment.

Anonymous said...

646, of you consoder Keenum and LaForge as ultra liberals, God help you brother. I don't know what kind of leadership you are looking for but the rest of us are thankful that you are in such a minority that your views can stay buried with you in your cave

Anonymous said...

Haley Barbour is far from middle-aged. He will be chosen and will be an excellent choice.

Anonymous said...

Condoleezza Rice, now that she has turned down the Cleveland Browns, would be a great choice.

Anonymous said...

8:57 - I don't think Kennum is an 'ultra liberal', so your correction is applauded. However, it's quite liberal for a college dictator to remove the state flag from campus, which he did.

And you might not recall that LaForge was the first to remove the flag (not exactly a conservative pronouncement) and he also created 'safe spaces' on the DSU campus for the weenies and assorted other socialists who felt offended, violated or victimized for one reason or another. If you don't consider that liberal, God help YOU.

Anonymous said...

LaForge has turned Delta State into Basket Case U.

Anonymous said...

If striving to create an atmosphere of inclusion for all students on campus makes one an ultra liberal, then Ole Miss needs another one as the next Chancellor.

Anonymous said...

8:27 - Please cite any evidence you have that shows the OM campus to not be one of inclusion. And while you're at it, do the same for MSU and Southern Miss. In fact if you visit the USM or DSU campus on game day you'll think you're visiting Jackson State or Valley State. All of the athletic teams (except for baseball) on all of those campi are suffering from lack of inclusion though, inclusion of whites. There are exclusive and exclusionary black fraternities and other groups that exist and gather regularly. So, what the hell are you insinuating? But, back to your list...

Anonymous said...

Boss Hog running the Mississippi Landhsarks is the most perfect match ever.

Anonymous said...

@8:27, you were so anxious to insult and lecture me, you did not read my post. I did not say the Ole Miss campus is not inclusive. Quite to the contrary, it is more inclusive than ever thanks to Robert Khayat, Dan Jones, and Jeff Vitter. I hope the next Chancellor continues the efforts of those men and ignores people like you.

Anonymous said...

The man must also be a pragmatic juggler. He must know how to battle the national image of Ole Miss as the epicenter of old south racism while at the same time satisfying the old south racists who still form the backbone of the alumni money in Mississippi. Sometimes it looks very clumsy, even laughable, but the important thing is to project the progressive image in the "academic community" Seriously.

Anonymous said...

If Haley Barbour becomes Ole Miss chancellor, does that mean he will give up his Florida residency and again become a citizen of Mississippi?

Anonymous said...

4:02...I thought Haley had a place on Wolf Lake with a 14 foot jon boat and 9.9 Mariner.

Anonymous said...

"...a person of color."

What does that mean? What color?

Anonymous said...

LaForge is horrible at DSU. If he goes to Oxford, I wonder if his wife will fly in from South Carolina to the Chamber of Commerce meetings?

Anonymous said...

4:02, you are thinking about Trent Lott with the FL residence, not Barbour.

And no, he wouldn't have to give it up to take over the Rebels - might have to start his apology tour for his Strom Thurmond comments, and denounce his Bro-in-law's funding. Wait, upon further review, no need to renounce Dickie, since his name is still on those buildings funded with judgments bought from judges.

Other than being too old, does look like Trent might be the perfect choice for the 'flagless university'.

Anonymous said...

Trent is not actually the brother in law of Scruggs.

Anonymous said...

Trent is married to Diane Scruggs’ sister.

Anonymous said...

In the south, where kinships are stretched, that's still call bro-in-law.

But technicalities aside, the Senator was a close enough kin to shephard the national. settlement through, with the MS exclusion, to enable the Ol Miss benefactor a billionaire - along with increasing his ego enough to believe he owned all judges not just some of them. Thus, a felon as well. A rich felon, but still a felon.

Close enough kin to provide that mortgage ain Madison County with terms similar to those of Tony Yarber's?

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