ITTA BENA — Ernest A. Boykins Jr., who lead Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) as its president for 10 years, has died. He was 78.
Boykins died Sunday at his home after a lengthy illness, the university announced on its web site. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
Boykins was MVSU president from 1971-81. During his tenure, Valley was designated a university in 1974 and offered its first master’s program in 1976.
Boykins oversaw campus improvements that included construction of the football stadium and several resident halls.
The Vicksburg native earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Xavier University in 1953, a master’s degree at Texas Southern University and a doctorate from Michigan State University.
Before going to MVSU, Boykins headed the division of Arts and Sciences at Alcorn State University. He joined the faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi after leaving MVSU.
Survivors includes his wife, Beverly Malveaux, a son and three daughters.