FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2011
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Commissioner of higher education to address MUW graduates on May 7
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Dr. Hank M. Bounds, commissioner of higher education, will address Mississippi University for Women graduates on Saturday, May 7 in Rent Auditorium, Whitfield Hall.
Approximately 450-500 degree candidates are expected to participate in the ceremony, which includes December 2010 and May and August 2011 graduates.
One of MUW’s most treasured traditions, the Magnolia Chain ceremony will be held at 8 a.m. on Shattuck Lawn. Conferring of degrees for the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Sciences will start at 10 a.m. The ceremony for the College of Nursing and Speech-Language Pathology and the School of Professional Studies will be at 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Bounds was appointed by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning as Mississippi's sixth commissioner of higher education in July 2009.
As commissioner, he oversees the state's public four-year university system, which includes the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), four research institutions and four regional institutions. Mississippi's public universities enroll more than 73,700 students and award more than 15,000 degrees each year.
In his first year as commissioner, Dr. Bounds and the Board of Trustees have tackled several major issues including approving a system-wide textbooks policy aimed at expanding the used book market and reducing costs to students. He has also overseen the development and implementation of universal articulation agreements to ease the transfer process for community college students and decrease time-to-degree.
Two years ago, Dr. Bounds served on the Graduation Rate Task Force, comprised of 19 business, education and state leaders from across Mississippi. The Task Force was established by the state Legislature to study and report on graduation rates at Mississippi's public postsecondary institutions.
As a result of the Task Force's final recommendations, Dr. Bounds and the Board of Trustees are working now to improve the state's understanding of "college readiness" and create a truly seamless education system, early education through higher degrees.
Dr. Bounds, a lifelong educator, previously served four years as state superintendent of education. As the chief executive officer of Mississippi's public K-12 school system, he launched several groundbreaking initiatives including On the Bus, a statewide dropout prevention campaign that garnered national attention.
Dr. Bounds also spearheaded an effort to design a more rigorous state curriculum and assessment system to meet national standards, and implemented High School Redesign, a plan to rework Mississippi high schools to effectively prepare students to compete in the 21st Century world.
During his tenure as state superintendent, he secured a $17 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to establish the Mississippi Center for Education Innovation, whose mission is to transform education in Mississippi through community and family engagement, early childhood education, teacher quality and leadership development.
In 2009, Dr. Bounds worked with state leaders in both legislative chambers to pass the Children First Act, legislation crucial to the turnaround of Mississippi's underperforming schools.
Before becoming the state superintendent in August 2005, Dr. Bounds served as superintendent of the Pascagoula School District. He was principal of two high schools and one K-12 school. He holds both a bachelor of science in sports administration and secondary education and a master of education in educational administration from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a doctor of philosophy in educational leadership from the University of Mississippi.
He and his wife, Susie, are the parents of a son, Will, and a daughter, Caroline.