Interim President About To Be Named

The state College Board is planning to name an interim president for the University of Southern Mississippi on Wednesday. Officials said the announcement would be made during the board's annual two-day retreat, being held this year at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point. USM President Horace Fleming turned down a one-year contract extension last month when the board offered the limited agreement instead of a standard four-year contract.

Fleming agreed to stay on until an interim president is named and presided over graduation ceremonies Friday for nearly 1,000 students. Don Cabana, a criminal justice professor at USM, says it is crucial the board name an interim president this week. ``The quicker they can get an interim in there, the quicker we'll return to some normalcy,'' Cabana said. ``I've been through this acting stuff and it's kind of unsettling.''

Retired USM President Aubrey Lucas, current USM vice president for research Donald Cotten, and James Williams, USM-Gulf Coast vice president, have been mentioned as possible interim presidents. However, Lucas has said he does not want the job. The board also is also expected to discuss the search process for a permanent president.