The College Board’s decision to not renew the contract of Dr. Dan Jones–a resident of Hazlehurst–who has served as Chancellor of the University of Mississippi since 2009, has left a sour taste in the collective mouth of all Mississippians. I mean, who knew? All things Ole Miss seemed to be going great.
Scores of groups are coming together to rally around Dr. Jones and Ole Miss, pressuring the board members to cancel their decision. Unfortunately, after a brief meeting of the IHL trustees on Monday, he’s officially out.
But why? Ole Miss has thrived since Jones arrived. Enrollment and donations to the university have jumped. The university’s athletic teams have excelled, and Rebel haughtiness is at an all-time high. Jones’ tenacity has been the linchpin in much of it.
I’ve seen him work the front lines of student recruitment when he visited a couple of schools in the county on a tour back in 2012. His passion about the university was sharply evident. He solidly held the attention of a large group of juniors, all of whom presumably have smart phones plugged in to social media, for about 20 minutes. He is a heck of a salesman, to say the least.
Jones, and his wife Lydia, are valuable assets to Ole Miss. Perhaps the final word hasn’t been said in the matter. Let’s continue to support them.