Dr. Rod Paige returns as JSU interim president - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

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Dr. Rod Paige returns as JSU interim president

Source: WLBT archives Source: WLBT archives
Source: IHL Source: IHL
Source: Jackson State University Source: Jackson State University
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A well known Mississippian and a face familiar to the JSU family is returning to his alma mater.

The IHL Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting Tuesday, officially naming its new interim president.

Dr. Rod Paige, a Jackson State alumni, has been chosen to serve his alma mater.

"Dr. Paige brings a wealth of experience, wealth of wisdom," said Board Commissioner Dr. Glenn Boyce. He's also worked in the University sector. He was U.S. Secretary of Education. He's a Jackson State alumnus. Of course he obviously has a great passion and love for JSU."

Paige, slated to start in his new role next week, joined the meeting by phone, giving this message to the press.

"I'm a Jacksonian, I'm interested in Jackson being the greatest University it can be and think it has unlimited potential and I appreciate the opportunity to play a part in that growth." said Dr. Paige.

Several University alumni present at the meeting appeared pleased with the choice, but more concerned about the future search for a permanent President, which could take 5 to 7 months.

"I think it's the right choice," said JSU Provost Dr. Evelyn Leggette. "Dr. Paige has a wealth of experience in education ."

"He brings a lot of experience to the table," said Representative Hillman Frazier, a JSU alumnus. "Also he's going to have to play a major role in raising finances for the University, with connections he can do that."

“We are so pleased that Dr. Paige is going to serve as Interim president,” said Dr. Doug Rouse, President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. “An alumnus of the university, we know he will lead with a servant’s heart and guide the university well through this transitional phase. He has a wealth of experience on all levels of education and we are very fortunate that he is going to share his time and considerable talents with us.”

Dr. Paige, a Monticello native, began school in segregated Mississippi and is now a national leader in education. He said that Jackson State University played an important role in his story and now has the opportunity to serve the institution that opened the door to many opportunities for him.

“I am deeply honored and profoundly grateful to the trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and the Jackson State University family for providing me the opportunity to serve this great institution in this important capacity,” said Dr. Paige. “My life has been immensely enriched by Jackson State University, and I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to join the efforts of Jackson State’s many admirers in enhancing the possibility of others receiving the benefits of a great post-secondary education.”

Dr. Paige served on the Thomas B. Fordham's Institute Board of Trustees since 2005. He was inducted into the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Hall of Fame earlier this year. 

With co-author Dr. Elaine Witty, Dr. Paige published “The Black-White Achievement Gap: Why Closing It Is the Greatest Civil Rights Issue of Our Time” in 2010.

Not only did Dr. Paige graduate from the University, but he also was the head coach for a time. He coached the Tigers on a historic day. October 21, 1967 Coach Paige and the Jackson State Tigers, in a matchup against Coach Eddie Robinson and the Grambling Tigers, broke the color barrier at Veterans Memorial Stadium, becoming the first historically black universities to play a game in the stadium, which is now the home stadium for Jackson State University.

This naming of an interim president comes a week after JSU's President, Carolyn Meyers, submitted a letter of resignation. In the letter, Dr. Meyers said she would step down from her position, effective November 1. 

READ MORE: IHL Board of Trustees accepts JSU President Carolyn Meyers' resignation

IHL rules prohibit anyone serving as interim president, to apply for the permanent position.

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