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Listening session this week in search for Ole Miss leader

Two listening sessions are set for the search for a new University of Mississippi leader, with the first coming Thursday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and the second on Sept. 5 on the Oxford campus.

A 39-member search advisory committee of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members met Friday in Oxford, The Oxford Eagle reported . The group, co-chaired by Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education Charles Hussey, will help screen resumes and provide feedback in the chancellor’s search.

“I think we need someone who can tell the story, who understands Mississippi and is passionate about our story and about this place and about our people,” Tannehill said.

Many of the committee members expressed similar interests in what they are seeking in the next chancellor — someone who understands the university’s past but also its future. Fundraising was also a key concern. Former Ole Miss football player Todd Wade noted that university donations have decreased in recent years.

“I think we should be looking for someone who appreciates the balance between who we’ve been and who we need to become in order to thrive going forward,” said Markeeva Morgan, a University of Mississippi Foundation board member.

Some members will also take part in interviews with trustees.

Search firm Buffkin-Baker will help recruit candidates, while College Board trustee Ford Dye of Oxford leads the search. Nominations will be accepted beginning in July with a list of around eight finalists being formed following the September listening session in Oxford. Interviews with candidates on the final list are expected to take place in October. Trustee President Hal Parker has said the board wants to hire a new leader by year’s end.

Jeffrey Vitter resigned the chancellor’s post following less than three years in the top job.


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