Longtime William Carey president set to retire after leaving lasting impact on Coast

Since becoming the school’s ninth president 15 years ago, Dr. Tommy King has accomplished a lot.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 6:11 PM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Dr. Tommy King is leaving a legacy at William Carey University.

“Dr. King is an educator, he is a man of God, and he is a visionary,” said academic and administrative dean Dr. Cassandra Conner.

Dr. Conner worked with King for 12 years. She had an up-close view of the impact he’s made in South Mississippi.

“In every decision that he makes, I can see that he has the needs of our students first and foremost,” she said.

Since becoming the school’s ninth president 15 years ago, King has accomplished a lot. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coast campus in 2005, he selected and established the Tradition location, opening in 2009.

“He wanted to move up north like a lot of people did after Katrina so we purchased this land,” Connor recalled. “We started off with two buildings: an administrative building and an academic building.”

The campus has grown tremendously since then. In 2018, Dr. King led the way in opening Sanderson Hall, housing the pharmacy school as well as Scianna Hall with biology and chemistry classrooms.

Now, the pharmacy school is fully accredited and, as Conner says, the only professional school on the Coast. It’s one of only two in the state.

“You have mixed emotions when you have worked with somebody as close as we have worked together,” Conner added. “The mixed emotions are that you are happy that he is retiring and will be able to enjoy his retirement, but then you’re also sad to see a leader leave.”

King leaves William Carey having achieved the all-time enrollment record for Tradition, more than 1,000 students. He also established the Ph.D. degree in nursing.

Fall registration is open through Aug. 22.

King’s final day is Aug. 15. He will be succeeded in the presidency by Dr. Ben Burnett.

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