Keenum begins term as SACS trustee

The president of Mississippi State University is a newly appointed member of the top accreditation body for regional institutions of higher learning.

Mark E. Keenum recently was elected to a three-year term on the board of trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges. He will serve through 2013 on the 77-member body representing some 800 institutional members.

Keenum is in his third year as the 19th chief executive of MSU, from which he holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics. Prior to being named president in late 2008, he was under secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As a commission trustee, he will, among other duties, help determine policy, and review and make decisions regarding the accreditation of member institutions awarding associate, baccalaureate, master's, or doctoral degrees.

Usually referred to by the acronym SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools represents schools at all levels in 11 states stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rio Grande River (and some areas of Latin America). In addition to Mississippi, it covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Keenum and other new trustees also serve on one of the organization's standing Committees on Compliance and Reports. In this role, they will evaluate a variety of reports and formulate recommendations regarding institutions and their Commission on Colleges' status.

MSU, a 133-year-old land-grant institution, is an accredited SACS member since 1926. Also in good standing are the Magnolia State's 30 or so other public and private community and senior colleges.

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