New leader named for Mississippi institution

Published 6:50 am Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Millsaps College Board of Trustees has formally announced its selection of Dr. Keith Dunn, provost and dean of Millsaps College, as interim president. Dunn will assume his responsibilities effective June 1, 2023.

“I am grateful to our board of trustees for their faith and confidence in me, and I look forward to working with the entire community to move Millsaps forward during this time of transition,” Dunn said.

Millsaps President Dr. Rob Pearigen announced last week that he will officially step down on May 31, 2023. Pearigen has accepted the role of vice-chancellor and president of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.

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“Keith and I have worked closely together for twelve academic years, and throughout that time he has been a wise, caring and dependable influence in the administration and among the faculty,” said Pearigen. “I value Keith’s trust, forward-thinking mindset and friendship, and I’m confident he will guide the college with strength and steadiness.”

Jay Lindsey, chair of the Millsaps College Board of Trustees, echoed Pearigen’s sentiment.

“Keith’s deep understanding of Millsaps’ culture and values, and his important contributions to the mission of the college over the past twelve years, have prepared him well to accelerate the work on our immediate challenges as well as our longer-term strategic questions,” Lindsay said.

Dunn earned his B.S. from Erskine College (cum laude), where he majored in chemistry and minored in music and mathematics. He earned his Ph.D. in chemical physics at Indiana University. After 19 years at Centre College, where he served as a professor of chemistry and associate dean of the college, Dunn accepted the position of senior vice president and dean of Millsaps College in 2011. He was named provost in 2017.

In addition to his work as chief academic officer, Dunn has played key roles in strategic planning and accreditation efforts for the college. He is also an enthusiastic trumpeter in the Millsaps pep band, Major Pep, and in 2020 earned the title of intramural ping pong champion.

College trustees have selected Vice Chair Chuck Lathem, ’81, to lead a presidential search committee, which will be composed of members from across the Millsaps community.