Interim MSU President Will Be Announced

An interim president for Mississippi State University will be named Thursday, says higher education commissioner Tom Layzell.

Layzell said Wednesday that he would have a recommendation for the state College Board when it convenes in Jackson. Layzell would not discuss any of those under consideration.

Malcolm Portera decided Friday to leave the top post in Starkville and return to Alabama, where he'll become chancellor of the three-school University of Alabama System.

The Associated Press has learned that three people have emerged as front-runners to become Portera's temporary replacement. All are on the MSU staff. They are:

  • Charles Lee, vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
  • Roy Ruby, vice president for student affairs.
  • Robert Altenkirch, vice president for research.

The College Board is also searching for new presidents at Mississippi University for Women and the University of Southern Mississippi. Layzell said the board hopes to have all three vacancies filled no later than next fall.