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10/1/2014 - Jackson, Miss.

The Board of Directors for the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education (MAPE) presented Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education, with the 2014 Winter-Reed Partnership Award at a dinner held last night in Jackson. Launched by MAPE in 2007, the award is named for Gov. William Winter and Tupelo businessman Jack Reed Sr. in honor of their lifelong contributions to public education and is presented each year to provide ongoing recognition for Mississippi's outstanding education leaders.

The award presentation was made by Governor William Winter and MAPE President Dr. Suzanne Bean, president of MAPE. In addition, Master of Ceremonies Blake Wilson, President and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council, presided over a program that included Pascagoula Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich and members of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions, including Robin Robinson of Laurel, C.D. Smith of Meridian, Aubrey Patterson of Tupelo and Ed Blakeslee of Gulfport.

Ed Blakeslee and Bob Owens

A lifelong educator, Bounds has served as Commissioner of Higher Education since 2009. In this role, he provides leadership for the state's university system, which includes four research institutions, four regional institutions, one academic health science center and the executive office. During his tenure, both the number of students enrolled and the number of degrees awarded have increased significantly. His progressive direction has enabled students to enter college prepared, both academically and financially, and helped them to reach the goal of earning a diploma.

Previous recipients include Dr. Aubrey Lucas, president emeritus and professor of higher education at the University of Southern Mississippi; Jim Barksdale and Claiborne Barksdale, Mississippi businessmen whose visionary leadership and philanthropy have strengthened early childhood literacy and public education; State Rep. Robert Clark, Dr. Andy Mullins, Dick Molpus, David Crews and John Henegan for helping engineer the historic Education Reform Act of 1982; and Dr. Cathy Grace, founding director of Mississippi State University's Early Childhood Institute. In 2008, MAPE posthumously honored Sen. Grey Ferris, considered the architect of the Mississippi Adequate Education Act.

"I am honored to be selected for the Winter-Reed Partnership Award," said Dr. Bounds. "Both Gov. Winter and Mr. Reed have inspired me by living lives that demonstrate a stalwart commitment to education and the state, a dedication to service above self and integrity in all endeavors. Each day, they serve as amazing examples of what true leadership is and what making a difference means. Being recognized by MAPE, the organization that brings communities together to make a difference for children across Mississippi, is truly an honor I will cherish always."

As Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Bounds manages the human, financial and physical resources of the university system, which includes more than 80,000 students, 26,000 faculty and staff, 1,600 buildings with 33 million square feet of space, $600 million in research and development and $200 million in private giving. The university system includes two land-grant universities, three historically black institutions, a law center, a school of veterinary medicine and 200 institutes and centers.

In 2011, Dr. Bounds was tapped by the business community to chair its effort to build a statewide plan for Mississippi's future. Blueprint Mississippi 2011, a major statewide initiative to create an action strategy for putting Mississippi in the place of greatest opportunity, was supported by research conducted by Mississippi's research universities and focused on four broad foundational areas, including Education Achievement, Resource Management, Economic Competitiveness and Technology Commercialization.

Prior to being named Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Bounds served as State Superintendent of Education from 2005 to 2009. Prior to that, he served as superintendent of the Pascagoula School District. He has also served as a teacher and principal. He holds both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and earned his doctorate from the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Bounds and his wife, Susie, have a son, Will, and a daughter, Caroline. They reside in Madison.

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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.

This year marks MAPE's 30th anniversary as a statewide network of educators and community partners. MAPE was designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1994 and is committed solely to providing training and resources to help build local support for the success of all students.

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