Alcorn State’s M. Christopher Brown II Addresses Resignation

Alcorn State University President M. Christopher Brown II resigned today, amid continuing inquiries into the university’s purchasing practices by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. In a statement to the HBCU Digest, Brown credited the work of the campus community in fulfilling an ambitious plan for progress.

When I accepted the presidency of Alcorn State University, I did so with a vision to: (1) reinvigorate the Alcorn family around common goals; (2) define and expand the Alcorn brand and market share; (3) deploy scarce resources to identified priorities through selective investment; (4) systematize fundraising, capital development, and alumni operations; (5) improve operational discipline within and across functions; (6) build on existing efforts to promote commerce in Southwest Mississippi; and (7) work collaboratively to strengthen the enrollment “pipeline.”

We, as a campus community, have successfully accomplished these goals.  While there remains more work to be done augmenting the above, the emergent management focus on internal operations confirms that now is an ideal time to transition.

Leading Alcorn State University has been among the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my career.  I appreciate the cooperative spirit that the IHL Board has shown my administration over the last several years.  Alcorn is a special institution that will continue to excel in academics, agriculture, access, and athletics for years to come.

IHL Commissioner Hank Bounds neglected to provide details, but identified procedural and ethical issues stemming from ASU’s purchasing system. At an afternoon press conference, he referenced the inevitability of change in announcing the resignation.

“While change is not always easy, we all understand that it is part of life. Alcorn State University is a strong institution that has weathered many changes during its history and has always held firm to its mission of teaching, research and service. The close of this semester brings change to the university, but I have no doubts that the university will continue serving its students and community with the commitment and dedication that is such a part of the fabric of Alcorn State University.”

Brown, who was appointed as the university’s 18th president in 2010, was unanimously extended for four years by IHL trustees in October 2012. Under his tenure, the university gained national attention for its diversity efforts, growth in its academic profile and international outreach.

In 2012, Alcorn State hired Jay Hopson, the first white head football coach in the history of the university, and of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. In two seasons, Hopson has compiled a 13-10 record, including a 9-3 finish in 2013.

Earlier that year, Alcorn State announced the appointment of activist and iconic civil rights figure Myrlie Evers-Williams as a scholar-in-residence. Evers-Williams, who met and married activist Medgar Evers as a student at Alcorn, left Mississippi after the assassination of her husband, but today serves as lecturer, archivist and mentor to the student body.

Alcorn was named HBCU of the Year by the Center for HBCU Media Advocacy Inc. in 2012.

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