MS university could get first black leader - - Jackson, MS

Bennett named president of USM

Rodney Bennett (Source: UGA) Rodney Bennett (Source: UGA)
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Rodney Bennett has been named the first black president of a predominantly white university in Mississippi.

The College Board voted Thursday to appoint Bennett as the 10th president of the University of Southern Mississippi.

Bennett currently serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Georgia.

The State Institutions of Higher Learning praised Bennett's efforts as a fundraiser, as an educator at a research university and for his work in athletics.

"He's had to deal with the tough kinds of issues that come with diminishing revenue opportunities. He recognizes that we live in a state where we have a lot of poverty. So, he recognizes the need to insure that we maintain affordability and accessibility," said Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Hank Bounds.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.

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