College Board names Ole Miss provost as interim leader



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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The College Board has named University of Mississippi Provost Morris Stocks to lead the university on an interim basis beginning June 15.

After the board refused to renew his contract, Chancellor Dan Jones wasn't scheduled to step down until Sept. 15. But Jones says he will take leave beginning June 15, and Stocks will assume his authority then.

The announcement was made Thursday after the board's monthly meeting, which Jones did not attend. The board decided to cut ties with Jones, citing concerns over contract management at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. The decision was broadly protested, but Jones and trustees couldn't reach an agreement in talks for Jones to remain.

"It's with a mixture of sadness and joy that I make this transition," Jones said in a statement. "I'm certainly sad to not continue my role as chancellor but joyful both by the appointment of Provost Morris Stocks as our next leader and joyful for my 30-year association with the university and my 12 years of leadership: six at the medical center and six as chancellor."

Stocks, who took on added responsibilities while Jones was being treated for lymphoma last year, will become interim chancellor on Sept. 15, remaining until a new leader is chosen. Under College Board policy, Stocks can't be a candidate for the permanent position if he serves in the interim.

Earlier this month, the board sought nominations to a campus committee to advise the search for a new chancellor. Nominations to that panel are due Wednesday.

The College Board's president has yet to name the trustees who will serve on the board's own search committee. The board says it expects work to begin over the summer and candidates for chancellor to be interviewed during the fall.

The board plans to hire a search firm to help recruit candidates. Spokeswoman Caron Blanton said the board is reviewing proposals received from the firms and that Higher Education Commissioner Glenn Boyce is likely to choose a search firm in coming weeks.

Stocks has been an Ole Miss accounting professor since 1991, becoming dean of the Patterson School of Accounting and then senior vice chancellor for planning and operations.

"I consider it a high privilege to serve the University of Mississippi in a new and exciting capacity over the next several months," Stocks said in the statement. "In recent years, our university has experienced tremendous progress and wonderful success in providing outstanding educational and research opportunities. I look forward to helping the university maintain that momentum."

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Online: University of Mississippi chancellor's search: http://www.mississippi.edu/ieo/

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The Associated Press

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