The First Black Commissioner of Higher Education in the State of Mississippi

The board of trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning in Mississippi has named Alfred Rankins Jr. as a Commissioner of Higher Education. When he takes office on July 1, he will be the first African American to serve as a commissioner.

Dr. Rankins currently serves as president of Alcorn State University in Mississippi. He was named to that post in 2014. Previously, he was deputy commissioner for academic and student affairs for the State Institutions of Higher Learning. In 2012-13, Dr. Rankins served as acting president of Mississippi Valley State University. Earlier in his career he was an associate professor of plant and soil science at Mississippi State University.

Dr. Rankins is a native of Greenville, Mississippi. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Alcorn State. Dr. Rankins earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in weed science from Mississippi State University.

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