/New chancellor’s challenge ‘Just imagine what we will do’

New chancellor’s challenge ‘Just imagine what we will do’

On Thursday, Dr. Jeffrey S. Vitter presented his vision for the University of Mississippi. He stated, “Learning from the past, we will create an exciting future.” We will change lives, communities, and the entire world. Imagine what we can do. Vitter was officially installed as the university’s 17th chancellor at an investiture ceremony held at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Ole Miss campus. The guests were greeted by jazz music, a nod towards Vitter’s New Orleans birthplace. However, there was also plenty of pomp and circumstance. Representatives of the student body and alumni presented insignia of their office to the chancellor. From the podium, a contingent of elected officials extended their best wishes and greetings. U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, a grad of the university, described Thursday’s ceremony in historic terms and highlighted the importance of maintaining the school’s legacy. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn joined Vitter. Glenn F. Boyce, Commissioner for Higher Education, acknowledged the challenges facing the country and asked Vitter if the university will accept his unique responsibility. Vitter replied with Hotty Toddy’s opening lines: “Hell yeah. Damn right. Being a chancellor can be a difficult job everywhere, but Ole Miss is unique in that regard, according to Austin Powell, Associated Student Body President. He spoke out about the campus’ history of racial tension and praised Vitter for his willingness to listen to students’ concerns. Powell said, “It has been a privilege to work with Chancellor Vitter.” Vitter expressed great emotion when he acknowledged the support of his family and his parents who had died. Vitter said, “Ole Miss a family.” After the ceremony, the university sponsored a reception in the Circle for the new chancellor. It was held in front of campus’ Lyceum. Vitter, 60 years old, succeeds Dan Jones as Chancellor. Vitter was unanimously appointed by the Board of Trustees of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Oct. 29, 2015. He took office January 1, 2016. Vitter was previously the provost and executive chancellor of the University of Kansas before he arrived at Ole Miss. Before assuming that position in 2010, Vitter was the provost of Texas A&M University, College Station. Vitter received his mathematics degree from the University of Notre Dame back in 1977. He then earned his doctorate in computer science from Stanford University in 1980. Vitter also holds an MBA degree from Duke University. The university sponsored and organized a number of events in the months leading up to Thursday’s celebration.