Commissioner announces plans to retire
State higher education commissioner Glenn F. Boyce spoke to Mississippi State graduates during spring commencement exercises in 2016. He announced his retirement from Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning last week. PHOTO: Russ Houston | Public Affairs
Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Glenn Boyce announced Wednesday [Feb. 21] his intention to retire at the end of the current fiscal year. Named Commissioner on April 17, 2015, he has enjoyed an expansive career in secondary and post-secondary education.
"It has been a blessing to spend my life as an educator, and looking back on it, I would not have traded my chosen field for any other," said Dr. Boyce. "The experience of working with and beside wonderful people to help students fulfill their dreams through education has given me an extremely rewarding career. After 37 years, it is finally time to pursue the dreams my wife and I put on hold while building careers and raising a family."
As Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. Boyce provides leadership for the state's university system, which includes four research and four regional universities, one academic health science center and the executive office. Offering 891 degree programs, the universities include two land-grant universities, three historically black institutions, a School of Law, a College of Veterinary Medicine, and 320 institutes and centers.
"I have had the pleasure of serving with an amazing group of IHL Trustees," said Dr. Boyce. "I will always cherish the relationships we shared. They serve the state with such a selfless attitude and give of their time endlessly to help students succeed. They are all in on their commitment to moving the state forward and I appreciate their steadfast support for me and their unwavering dedication to the system."
The university system serves more than 95,000 students, with almost 28,000 faculty and staff, 1,666 buildings with 36.7 million square feet, and a $4.5 billion operating budget. The system received $420.7 million in external research funding, supporting 2,407 projects, in the last fiscal year.
"Dr. Boyce has provided tremendous leadership for the university system," said Trustee C.D. Smith, President of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. "He understands the needs of our students and our state and has worked tirelessly to ensure that the university system addresses both in our rapidly-changing world."
Under his leadership, the university system has set record enrollments, has seen record numbers of degrees awarded, launched a statewide program to increase the number of degree holders in the state exponentially, worked to be more responsive to the needs of business and industry, and has streamlined operations to increase efficiencies.
"Dr. Glenn Boyce has been a transformational leader in his role as Mississippi's Higher Education Commissioner," said Dr. Mark E. Keenum, President of Mississippi State University. "During my tenure at Mississippi State University, I have come to deeply respect Dr. Boyce and appreciate his passion and commitment to the cause of advancing higher education in Mississippi. I wish him every success and happiness as he enters the next phase of his life and work."
In Academic Year 2017, there were 95,857 total students enrolled in the university system. The universities awarded 17,760 degrees in 2017, representing an 8.9 percent increase in the past five years. The number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates has increased by 37.9 percent in that timeframe. In 2017, there were 3,727 STEM graduates and 2,849 healthcare graduates, including nurses.
A collaborative effort between the university and community college systems, Complete 2 Compete (C2C) is a statewide program focused on encouraging Mississippi adults who have completed some college, but no degree, to return to college and complete the requirements necessary to earn their degrees. Since launching the C2C website in August, there have been almost 24,000 visits to the website and almost 7,000 applications submitted. There have been 261 associates and bachelor's degrees awarded through the program.
The Mississippi Business Engagement Network (MBEN), a partnership effort between the university system, the Mississippi Research Consortium, the Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi Development Authority, and the Mississippi Economic Development Council, was designed to connect business leaders and economic developers with the resources, experts and research capabilities housed within Mississippi's four research institutions. As part of the effort, a website was launched as a portal to access these resources quickly and easily.
Prior to being named Commissioner, Dr. Boyce served as Associate Commissioner of Academic Affairs for the Institutions of Higher Learning. He joined IHL after serving as President of Holmes Community College for more than nine years.
Dr. Boyce served for several years as Co-Chair of the Education Achievement Council, working collaboratively with all levels of education, state leaders and the business community to increase educational attainment in the state. Dr. Boyce served as a trustee for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation.
Dr. Boyce holds a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Mississippi, a master's degree in education administration from Mississippi College and a doctorate in education leadership from the University of Mississippi.
Dr. Boyce will continue to serve as Commissioner of Higher Education through June 30, 2018. The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning will discuss the next steps for the search for the next Commissioner of Higher Education soon.
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.
Learn more at www.mississippi.edu.