Vit­ter step­ping down as Univer­sity of Mis­sis­sippi chan­cel­lor

Texarkana Gazette - - ACROSS SOUTH -

OX­FORD, Miss.—Jef­frey Vit­ter will step down in Jan­uary af­ter serv­ing three years as chan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of Mis­sis­sippi, state higher ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials said in a news re­lease Fri­day.

Af­ter leav­ing the chan­cel­lor's post Jan. 3, Vit­ter will re­main on fac­ulty as a tenured "distin­guished pro­fes­sor" in the School of En­gi­neer­ing, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease from the Board of Trustees for Mis­sis­sippi In­sti­tu­tions of Higher Learn­ing.

A com­puter sci­en­tist, Vit­ter was provost at the Univer­sity of Kansas when he was cho­sen for the Ole Miss post in Oc­to­ber 2015. Be­fore Vit­ter be­gan work as chan­cel­lor in Jan­uary 2016, higher ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials said he agreed to a four-year con­tract at $600,000 an­nu­ally.

No rea­son was given for his leav­ing the post a year early. Board pres­i­dent Shane Hooper, reached by tele­phone, de­clined to elab­o­rate on state­ments in the news re­lease in which he cred­ited Vit­ter with sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tions. "His lead­er­ship has moved the univer­sity for­ward in nu­mer­ous ways and we are grate­ful for his ser­vice," Hooper's state­ment said.

In the same re­lease, Vit­ter said he was hon­ored to serve as chan­cel­lor, and that he and his wife would "re­main strong cit­i­zens of Rebel Na­tion."

He said the univer­sity grew stronger aca­dem­i­cally and in fund­ing and pri­vate do­na­tions dur­ing his time as chan­cel­lor. "In ad­di­tion, we are a more di­verse com­mu­nity with a more vis­i­ble ded­i­ca­tion to in­clu­sion and ci­vil­ity."

The board's news re­lease says

Vit­ter brought the univer­sity a "greater level of stature and promi­nence." It says his ac­com­plish­ments in­cluded fundrais­ing ex­pan­sion, ini­tia­tives to re­cruit more in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, and over­sight of $709 mil­lion in con­struc­tion projects.

Vit­ter also over­saw tu­mult at the univer­sity. There was the 2017 res­ig­na­tion of foot­ball coach Hugh Freeze amid mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions and NCAA sanc­tions. Ear­lier this year, a prom­i­nent donor's name was re­moved from the jour­nal­ism school fol­low­ing a Face­book post­ing widely viewed as racist.

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