JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Dr. Hank Bounds, who rose from superintendent of the Pascagoula School District to the state's Commissioner of Higher Education, is leaving Mississippi.
Dr. Bounds has been named President of the University of Nebraska by the Nebraska Board of Regents, following visits to the campus last month.
"I have had many wonderful opportunities to serve in my home state and, as a lifelong Mississippian, it certainly will not be easy to leave our extended family and friends," said Dr. Bounds. "The University of Nebraska is a great public university with even greater potential. I look forward to having the opportunity to make a difference and help fulfill that potential."
"We will certainly miss Dr. Hank Bounds and his leadership at our Mississippi universities," Gov. Phil Bryant said. "However, I am proud to see one of America's great universities choose a Mississippian to be their president. Deborah and I extend our best wishes to Hank and his family as they begin this new journey together."
Dr. Bounds served as State Superintendent of Education from 2005 to 2009. Prior to that appointment, Dr. Bounds served as superintendent of the Pascagoula School District. He holds both a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. He earned a doctorate from the University of Mississippi.
Dr. Bounds will continue to serve as Commissioner of Higher Education through April 12, 2015 and begin serving as President of the University of Nebraska on April 13, 2015.
The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning will announce a timeline for the search for the next Commissioner of Higher Education soon.
Read what other Mississippi education and business leaders had to say about Dr. Bounds:
"Dr. Bounds has made a tremendous difference in higher education in Mississippi and, in fact, on all levels of education in our state," said Aubrey Patterson, president of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. "He has supported each institution in fulfilling its unique mission, while understanding the critical role that the university system plays in the economy and quality of life of our citizens. He has united the eight public universities in an unprecedented manner. His visionary leadership has fostered a strong connection between the business community and the university system that will continue to fuel economic growth for years to come. While we certainly hate to lose his talents in our state, we understand why the Nebraska Board of Regents has selected him to lead the university. He will bring to them the same kind of dynamic, strategic and innovative leadership that he has provided here."
"Dr. Hank Bounds is a committed leader who demonstrated a great vision for advancing higher education in Mississippi," said Dr. Mark Keenum, President of Mississippi State University. "His departure marks a big loss for the Mississippi higher education system and a major gain for the future of the University of Nebraska. I wish Dr. Bounds and his wonderful family every possible success in this new chapter of their lives."
"Dr. Bounds has been a great advocate for higher education in the state of Mississippi," said Dr. Carolyn Meyers, President of Jackson State University. "He is a joy to work with. His leadership, professionalism, brilliance, and passion will be missed. Mississippi's loss is Nebraska's gain. And his selection reflects well on the talent in our state. The entire JSU family joins me in congratulating him and wishing him continued success."
"Getting more done with limited resources is a hallmark of how Dr. Hank Bounds approached public administration – in K-12 and at the university level," said Blake Wilson, President and CEO, Mississippi Economic Council. "Despite the challenges of recovering from a major natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina, and a tough international recession, Dr. Bounds has continued to move public education in Mississippi forward with focus and tenacity.
Dr. Bounds raised the bar in accountability and raised the curtain in transparency so that Mississippians could definitely learn how their individual schools performed academically as easily as they could assess their athletic capabilities. At the University level, he created a collaborative approach among eight presidents, to promote the concept of working together for a better allocation of state resources and for a cooperative approach in undertaking research and other programs to benefit Mississippians. This spirit of collaboration has enabled our universities to move forward individually and collectively, while bringing a sense of stability and mutual respect to the university system."