Following its regular monthly meeting today, Dr. L. Stacy Davidson, Jr., President of the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), announced that the Board unanimously named Dr. Vance H. Watson as the Interim President at Mississippi State University, following the resignation of Dr. Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong. "Dr. Watson is the perfect choice as Mississippi State's interim leader," said President Davidson. Dr. Watson will begin working in transition, with a specific start date and salary to be determined. In addition, the Board also announced the initiation of the institutional executive officer search processes at both Mississippi State University and Mississippi Valley State University. Although exact timeframes have yet to be announced, both searches will start shortly.
Watson is MSU's vice president for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Last year, he also was named director of MSU Extension and Outreach.
"I'm honored by the confidence the Board has shown in my abilities to lead the institution I've served for more than four decades," said Dr. Watson. "I look forward to working closely with faculty, students, staff, alumni, and others in our state to keep Mississippi State moving forward."
A Missouri native, Dr. Watson began his tenure at the land-grant institution in 1966 as an assistant professor of agronomy. During his 42-year career, he has held successively responsible positions, including a variety of leadership roles in the areas he now heads.
Watson is the author of more than 300 publications, including six textbook chapters. Among his many service activities is a five-year appointment as executive vice president of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies, an international organization for genetic standards and certification of 3,500 varieties of crops produced in nine countries.
He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. His MSU honors include recognition by the MSU Alumni Association for excellence in research and selection by two student groups as professor of the year. Watson holds a bachelor's degree from Southeast Missouri State University, a master's from the University of Missouri and a doctorate from Mississippi State.
The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning 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.