Mississippi Public Universities
IHL Press Release
BOARD OF TRUSTEES NAMES PREFERRED CANDIDATE FOR DELTA STATE UNIVERSITY
2/22/2013 - Jackson, Miss.


The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning announced today the selection of William N. LaForge as the preferred candidate for the presidency of Delta State University. A Delta State University alumnus, LaForge has enjoyed a career in both the public and private sectors, spanning the fields of law, government, higher education and public policy. He currently serves as principal of LaForge Government Relations in Washington, D.C.

In this role, LaForge specializes in federal government relations and represents businesses and other organizations with public policy interests before the United States Congress and federal executive branch agencies. For more than 35 years, he has been involved with the public policy arena at local, state and federal levels.

A native of Cleveland, Miss., LaForge served as senior legislative counsel to Republican and Democratic lawmakers in both houses of Congress. He was chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and culminated his government career as Chief Legislative Counsel and Chief of Staff to United States Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi. Previously, he served as Congressional Liaison for the Peace Corps and as a legislative assistant to Mississippi Congressman David Bowen. He has also advised and organized political campaigns for major office holders in both political parties.

LaForge was recommended by the Board Search Committee, chaired by Trustee Alan Perry, with input from the Campus Search Advisory Committee and the Interview Search Advisory Committee following careful review of all applications and two rounds of interviews.

“As a native of the Delta, and as a product of Delta State University, Bill LaForge understands the importance of the university to the Delta region. He has exceptional leadership skills. He understands the importance of involving the entire community in efforts to advance Delta State University,” said Alan Perry, chair of the Delta State University Board Search Committee. “I am confident that he will be able to unite all of the various constituencies in support of Delta State University as it continues to provide quality education for students.”

In addition to Chair Alan Perry, the members of the DSU Board Search Committee include Trustees Karen Cummins, Shane Hooper, Hal Parker, Doug Rouse and C.D. Smith.

“I would like to thank Trustee Alan Perry for his service as chair and for the other members of the Board Search Committee for their efforts in leading the search process,” said Ed Blakeslee, president of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

Growing up in Cleveland, LaForge attended the public schools and graduated with honors from Delta State University. He earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law, received an LL.M. in international law from Georgetown University, and studied international law at Cambridge University. He received fellowships to study government and public policy in the European Union at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He received an honorary doctorate of laws from Stetson University College of Law.

LaForge is a member of the bars of Mississippi and the District of Columbia. He is past national president of the Federal Bar Association and a member of the board of directors of the Federal Bar Building Corporation. He has been a visiting professor of law in Russia, Poland and Bulgaria. He was awarded a Fulbright Specialist teaching fellowship at Perm State University in Russia and is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Law Sciences of that university.

While a student at Delta State, LaForge was a faculty scholar, president of the student government association and charter president of Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary society. He was a co-founder of the Student Body Presidents’ Council of Mississippi. He was one of the first four students inducted into Delta State’s Student Hall of Fame.

As a DSU alumnus, he has served as national president of the Delta State University Alumni Association. He has also served as a trustee of the Delta State University and the Pi Kappa Alpha educational foundations. Selected as Delta State’s Alumnus of the Year in 1992, he was a charter member of the Delta State University Alumni Hall of Fame in 2007.

Campus listening sessions were held in September with constituency groups for the members of the Board Search Committee and the Campus Search Advisory Committee to hear what qualities and qualifications stakeholders believed the next institutional executive officer should possess. After careful review of all applicants, the Campus Search Advisory Committee submitted the names of several candidates unranked to the Board Search Committee and selected the Interview Search Advisory Committee. The Board selected the candidates to be interviewed and two rounds of interviews were held.

“I would like to thank the members of the Campus Search Advisory Committee, under the leadership of Dr. Leslie Griffin, for serving as the voice of the university and campus community,” said Trustee Perry. “I appreciate the time and effort they have devoted to the process."

The members of the Delta State University Campus Search Advisory Committee include: Leslie Griffin, chair; Reginald Barnes, George Bassi, Donald Green, Will Hooker, Ned Mitchell, Billy Nowell, Jeremy Pittman, Nan Sanders, Anne Weissinger, Vicki Bingham, Georgene Clark, Shelly Collins, Ellen Green, Rebecca Hochradel, Tanya McKinney, Paulette Meikle-Yaw, Chet Oguz, Brett Oleis, Clint Wood, Billy Moore, Greg Redlin, Reagan Dilmore, Matt Jones, Benn Walker, James Robinson, Alanna Ferguson, April Mondy, Tom Gresham, and Fay Davidson.

“The Campus Search Advisory Committee and I appreciate the input that we received from the campus community during the listening sessions,” said Dr. Leslie Griffin, chair of the Campus Search Advisory Committee. “This information helped us tremendously as we reviewed the applications. Mr. LaForge understands our history and campus culture and has a vision for moving us forward.”

LaForge will meet with campus constituency groups on a visit to campus in Cleveland on Thursday, February 28, according to the following schedule. While all sessions are open to the public, each session focuses on the needs of a specific constituency group.

Tentative Schedule: Thursday, February 28, 2013

Time

Event

Location

8:00 a.m.

Meeting: Administration and Staff

E.R. Jobe Auditorium

8:45 a.m.
Meeting: Faculty

E.R. Jobe Auditorium

9:30 a.m.
Meeting: Students

E.R. Jobe Auditorium

10:15 a.m.
Meeting: Campus and Community

E.R. Jobe Auditorium

12:30 p.m.
Board of Trustees Meeting

E.R. Jobe Hall, Room 202

1:00 p.m.

Press Conference

Kent Wyatt Hall Atrium

The Board of Trustees will meet to consider the selection of William N. LaForge as President of Delta State University on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 12:30 p.m. The Board meeting will be held in Room 202 in Jobe Hall on the Cleveland campus of Delta State University, located at 1003 West Sunflower Road in Cleveland, Miss. Members of the Board may participate in the meeting via teleconference. An executive session may be held in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.