Kansas’ Vitter named preferred candidate for chancellor of Ole Miss

Published 2:16 pm Monday, October 19, 2015

University of Kansas Provost Jeffrey Vitter has been named the preferred candidate for chancellor of the University of Mississippi.

The Institutions of Higher Learning met Monday at 8 a.m. for an emergency session behind closed doors in executive session. At 2 p.m. on the steps of the Lyceum on the Oxford campus, IHL representatives announced their choice.

Vitter, 59, has served as provost at UK since 2008. Prior to that he held a similar position at Texas A&M University. He served as the Frederick L. Hovde Deal of College of Science and professor of computer science at Purdue University. He held a distinguished professorship at Duke University and served at Duke as chair of the Department of Computer Science. He had earlier progressed through the faculty ranks and in leadership roles at Brown University.

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His educational degrees include a Bachelor of Science degree with highest honors in mathematics in 1977 from the University of Notre Dame; a Ph.D. in computer science under Professor Donald Knuth in 1980 from Stanford University; and a Masters of Business Administration in 2002 from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Last spring, the IHL decided not to renew former Chancellor Dan Jones’ contract. Trustees cited contract management issues at UMMC and Jones’ reluctance to correct them, as reasons for the nonrenewal. After several protests on the Ole Miss campus, a new offer was made to Jones, which he declined. When Jones’ six-year tenure was up on Sept. 14, he went to work at the University of Mississippi Medical Center as the director of clinical sciences for the Mississippi Center of Obesity Research.

Vitter is originally from New Orleans. He is married to Sharon and they have three children. His brother, David Vitter serves as a Louisiana senator. Earlier this month, Vitter was named one of three finalists to become chancellor of the University of Arkansas.