Gilbert elected to ACAO board of directors

Jerome A. "Jerry" Gilbert

Mississippi State University Provost and Executive Vice President Jerome A. "Jerry" Gilbert has been elected to the inaugural board of directors of the Association of Chief Academic Officers.

The ACAO is the first national organization representing chief academic officers, such as provosts and vice presidents for academic affairs, from all accredited higher education institutions. The organization provides a forum for discussing important academic affairs issues, as well as an environment where CAOs can communicate with, inform and educate one another.

Gilbert earned a bachelor's degree in biological engineering from Mississippi State and a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Duke University. He met his wife, Leigh, while both were studying at Duke.

They have three children: Peter, Sallie and Caroline, all graduates of Mississippi State. Peter is now a graduate student at Duke; Sallie is in law school at Georgetown University; and Caroline has a job in fashion merchandising with Nordstrom in Nashville.

After academic appointments at Duke, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) Medical Center and University of Mississippi Medical Center, Gilbert has been affiliated with MSU since 1988. He was appointed MSU's provost in 2010.

The American Council on Education, in its role as a convener for higher education associations, has assisted in the organization's start-up. The election of the ACE's first officers and board of directors and approval of its bylaws took place at the March 2014 ACE Annual Meeting held in San Diego.

Wendy K. Wilkins, executive vice president and provost emerita at New Mexico State University, headed the steering committee of CAOs who worked to stand up the organization, serving as ACAO's interim president. Other steering committee members were Denise A. Battles, University of North Carolina, Wilmington; Doris Helms, Clemson University; April Mason, Kansas State University; Steve O. Michael, Arcadia University; and Carolyn J. Stefanco, Agnes Scott College.

"The groundswell of support from CAOs across the country, and across institutional types, for ACAO has demonstrated the need for an organization of this character," said Wilkins. "We anticipate a rapidly growing set of institutional members now that the organization is incorporated and the inaugural board of directors has been elected."

Accepting its first members in 2013, ACAO has enrolled 75 institutions as charter members, in addition to association and individual members. The organization is actively soliciting institutional, association and individual members. Membership information is available at ACAO's website,

Sid Salter | Public Affairs

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