Board names Keenum MSU's 19th president


November 12, 2008

In a unanimous decision, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) announced in a press conference today that Dr. Mark Keenum, current Under Secretary of Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, will serve as the 19th President of Mississippi State University, to begin in early January 2009. The announcement was made following day-long interviews with various campus and community constituency groups at Mississippi State University, during which those participants had the opportunity to evaluate Dr. Keenum.

"Dr. Keenum is an excellent choice to lead Mississippi State University to the next level," said Board Search Committee Chair Trustee Scott Ross. "We are looking forward to him coming home to Mississippi State."

Dr. Mark Keenum was sworn-in as Under Secretary on December 20, 2006. In this role, Dr. Keenum provides leadership and oversight for the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency, and the Foreign Agricultural Service. In 1989, Dr. Keenum joined the Washington, D.C. staff of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran as Legislative Assistant for Agriculture and Natural Resources. From 1996 through 2006, he served as Chief of Staff for Senator Cochran. Dr. Keenum received his Bachelor's, Master's, and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University, where he joined the faculty in 1984. During his professional tenure at MSU, Dr. Keenum's primary research and extension work focused on the marketing and economics of aquaculture, specialty crops, and forestry. A biographical sketch and photo of preferred candidate Dr. Mark Keenum may be found at http://www.mississippi.edu/ieo/downloads/mark_keenum_bio_081104.pdf.

Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, IHL governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.