Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., the 19th President of Alcorn State University (ASU), has been named by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning to become the Higher Education Commissioner on July 1, 2018 when current commissioner Glenn Boyce retires. Rankin will become the first African American to hold this position. His responsibilities will require him to oversee everyday operations and lobbying lawmakers for money.
Rankins became President of Alcorn, which is the nation’s oldest public land grant Historically Black College and University (HBCU), on March 4th, 2014. Before coming to ASU, he was Deputy Commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs for the Institutions of Higher Learning. In March of 2012, he served as Acting President of Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU).
During Rankins’ tenure at Alcorn, the institution increased student enrollment, became the highest ranked HBCU in College Consensus’ Best Colleges in Mississippi 2017-2018, increased overall fundraising, initiated new academic programs and improved upon the infrastructure of the campus.
Rankins, who is a native of Greenville, Mississippi, received a Bachelor of Science degree from Alcorn in Agricultural Economics. He received a Masters and Doctorate degree in Weed Science from Mississippi State University. He is married to his wife, Juandalyn, and they two children Aftyn and Alfred.
The plans for the search of a new president for Alcorn will be announced soon by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.