Mississippi State names former Alabama president as provost

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State University has named former University of Alabama President Judy Bonner as its provost and executive vice president.

Bonner will serve as the school’s chief academic officer.

MSU President Mark Keenum said Bonner’s broad experience set her apart during a national search. She was selected over three other finalists for the job: former Washington & Lee University Provost Daniel Wubah, Florida Atlantic University Dean Heather Coltman and Ohio State University Vice Provost Michael Boehm.

“It is truly an honor to be named provost and executive vice president at Mississippi State,” Bonner said in a statement. She said Keenum’s “dynamic and innovative leadership … is resulting in increased national recognition for Mississippi State both as a research powerhouse and a major contributor to the economic development of the state and region.”

Bonner is on the tail end of a paid sabbatical leave from the University of Alabama.

According to UA financial records, she was paid $575,833 between July 2015 and April 2016. She received monthly payments of $47,083.34 and one payment of $105,000 in August 2015, an annual performance incentive stipulated in her original letter of hire.

After working as a professor, dean and provost at the University of Alabama, Bonner was named Alabama president in November 2012. She was the sole candidate for the position following the sudden resignation of then-president Guy Bailey, who had served less than a semester.

She announced plans to step down from the presidency in December 2014, saying she wanted to return to the classroom. Following the hiring of Stuart Bell from Louisiana State University, Bonner left office in June 2015.

UA officials said Bonner would be given a year of paid sabbatical leave before returning to teach, despite Board of Trustees rules that state retreating presidents must serve at least five years to be eligible for sabbatical benefits.

MSU officials said Tuesday that Bonner’s salary and other contract details would not be finalized until the state College Board officially approves the appointment in June. Bonner is expected to begin work on July 1.


Brown reported from Montgomery, Alabama.

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