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1/17/2014 - Jackson, Miss.

During his term as President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, Bob Owens has witnessed a number of important advancements in higher education in Mississippi. He led the way in approving a performance-based allocation model that distributes funds equitably and rewards universities for operating efficiently and achieving attainment outcomes, implementing the Mississippi Public University Minority Economic Opportunity Initiative to give both universities and minority businesses the tools they need to ensure that more minority businesses will have opportunities to be included in the bidding process and appointing a new president of Delta State University.

Trustee Owens passed the gavel to incoming President Aubrey Patterson at the board meeting held yesterday in Jackson. Trustee Patterson will officially take office on February 1.

“I look forward to continuing to work toward our goal of increasing educational attainment in Mississippi with my fellow Board members, university leaders, elected officials and the business community,” said Patterson. “I appreciate the leadership Trustee Owens provided to the Board.”

Patterson served as Vice President of the Board during Trustee Owens’ term. Trustee Alan Perry will serve as Vice President during Patterson’s term.

“I have enjoyed leading the Board and feel proud of the strides we have made within the last year,” said Owens. “Trustee Patterson is a proven leader and I am certain the leadership he provides to the Board will have a tremendous impact on higher education in Mississippi.”

Mr. Patterson was appointed to the IHL Board of Trustees by Governor Haley Barbour in 2004. His term will expire in May 2015.

Mr. Patterson recently retired as chairman and chief executive officer of BancorpSouth, Inc., an $11.8 billion-asset bank holding company whose subsidiary bank operates 270 banking locations in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. Mr. Patterson served as president and chief operation officer from 1983 to 1991, and as chairman and chief executive officer from 1991 to the present. BancorpSouth is now the 47th largest bank holding company in the U.S. Mr. Patterson is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and holds a Master’s degree from Michigan State University. He has completed the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin and is a member of several professional organizations, including Beta Gamma Sigma and Beta Alpha Psi honoraries.

Mr. Patterson is active in local, state and national organizations. He serves on the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He has served as Chairman of both the Mississippi Bankers Association, which was established in 1889 and represents banks and savings institutions in the State of Mississippi, and the American Bankers Association, ? the voice of America's $13 trillion banking industry, representing banks of all sizes and charters, from the smallest community bank to the largest bank holding companies.

He has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Community Development Foundation, Chairman of the Board of North Mississippi Health Services and as Chairman of the Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi’s largest business organization. He has been a member of the Executive Board of Mississippi’s Public Education Forum and the Executive Committee of Mississippi’s Partnership for Economic Development.

Mr. Patterson is a past Chairman of the University of Mississippi Foundation and CREATE, Inc., Northeast Mississippi’s Community Foundation. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of its subsidiary, the Journal Publishing Company. He was also a charter member of the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi.

He has been president of the Tupelo Kiwanis Club and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army. For many years, he has been active in the Yocona Area Council of the Boy Scouts, serving as a member of the Executive Board in various leadership roles.

In 1997, he was honored by election to the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was also elected to the Alumni Hall of Fame of The University of Mississippi. He and his wife, Ruby Kathryn, are active members of the First Presbyterian Church in Tupelo, where Mr. Patterson is a Ruling Elder. He has served two terms as a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees of the National Foundation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

“Mississippi is fortunate to have dedicated and thoughtful citizens such as Trustees Owens and Patterson serving on the Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education. “I am certain that Trustee Patterson, like Trustee Owens before him, will provide excellent leadership to the Board and the university system.”

Appointed by Governor Barbour in 2004, Trustee Owens’ term will expire in May 2015. He is a partner in the law firm Owens Moss, PLLC, in Jackson. His primary area of practice is general and personal injury litigation. The firm is listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, which is limited to only the most distinguished law practices and specifically those that have achieved the AV rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. The “A” signifies the highest level of legal ability, while the “V” denotes “very high” adherence to the professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability and diligence.

Owens holds a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University and earned his law degree from Florida State University College of Law. He is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association, the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, the American Association for Justice, and the Charles Clark Chapter of the American Inn of Court. In addition, he is past president of the Magnolia Bar Association and is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Hinds County Bar Association.

Trustee Owens is married to Chancellor Denise Sweet Owens. They have four children, Selika, Bobby, Brittany and Jason.

Aubrey Patterson and Bob Owens
Jackson resident Bob Owens, (right) outgoing President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, passes the gavel to incoming President Aubrey Patterson of Tupelo.


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.

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