IHL: Mississippi university without a president
Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 22, 2023
The first Black woman to lead Alcorn State University is out as president.
Felecia Nave’s ouster was announced in a press release Thursday from the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees.
The board approved the change during executive session at its regular meeting Thursday. Ontario Wooden, the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, will serve as interim president at the state’s oldest historically Black university, effective immediately, according to Mississippi Today.
Details about the leadership change were not provided in the press release. Nave’s contract was set to end on June 30, 2023, and Tom Duff, the board president, is quoted saying “the Board wishes Dr. Nave well as she pursues new opportunities.”
According to Mississippi Today, Nave was named president in 2019 in a unanimous decision.
The campus was initially excited about her presidency, but some turned sour in 2021 leading to dozens of students protesting her leadership in the fall. A group of alumni called Alcornites for Change later produced a report alleging the campus faced widespread issues like declining enrollment, dozens of resignations and abysmal facilities.
Nave did not attend IHL’s Thursday board meeting with the other university presidents — Wooden appeared in her stead.
“I want to thank you — the board, Commissioner Rankins — for your continued support of Alcorn State University,” he said. “I bring you greetings on behalf of Dr. Nave.”
Wooden came to Alcorn State in 2020. Prior to that, he spent 12 years in administration at North Carolina Central University.