Mississippi university to inaugurate next president
Published 10:14 pm Saturday, February 3, 2024
Delta State University will inaugurate Dr. Daniel J. Ennis as the institution’s 9th president on Saturday, February 24. The ceremony will be the culmination of a week of events that celebrate Ennis and Delta State University. Dr. Michael T. Benson, President of Coastal Carolina University, will deliver the inaugural address.
The theme for the inauguration is “Lighting the Way.” In his first State of the University address in August, Ennis offered his assessment of the university after just over two months in his new position. He said, “The state of the university is lit. ‘Lit’ is the past participle of the verb ‘to light.’ This university is lit, it is a place set alight, it is illuminated, it is shined upon, and it is shining.”
Claire Cole, co-chair of the Inaugural Steering Committee and Coordinator of Executive Services, Office of the President said, “The Inaugural Steering Committee is dedicated to providing a memorable experience for Dr. Ennis and his family, as well as the Delta State University community. I am encouraged by the offers of assistance from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the University to aid in the development of the inaugural activities, and I am excited to celebrate another momentous occasion for Delta State leading up to our Centennial Celebration in 2025.”
In 1999, Ennis was appointed Assistant Professor of English at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. During his 24-year career at that institution, Ennis served as Co-Director of the University Honors Program, Department Chair, Dean, and Vice President for Academic Outreach. His final appointment at Coastal was as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, overseeing the operations of seven academic colleges, enrollment services, and the curriculum development for over 10,000 students. Ennis was appointed as Delta State’s president on April 6, 2023, by the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, and he assumed his new duties on June 1.
The inaugural ceremony is an important institutional event that formally marks a new era of leadership. The event includes many academic traditions and protocols, including an academic procession with delegates from other colleges and universities, as well as faculty of the host institution. The ceremony typically features musical selections, greetings from university and community groups, introduction of the president, an address, the official transfer of institutional leadership, and the singing of the Alma Mater.