By STEVEN NALLEY
MSU announced Thursday that the Association of Public Land Grant Universities has elected Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum to a term on its board of directors.
A Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy organization, the APLU brings together 217 member institutions of higher learning, including land-grant institutions, public research universities and state university systems in all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Keenum said in a press release that he is honored to join the board of directors who govern the APLU in conjunction with its chair.
"I'm delighted to be able to serve on the policy-making board of this vital organization," Keenum said in the press release. "Now more than ever, the importance of land-grant institutions like Mississippi State in providing research, service and education simply cannot be overstated. The APLU works hard to make that message resonate nationally and to provide information to our congressional leadership."
Keenum was also recently elected to a term on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges' Executive Council, which interprets the commission's policy and procedure. MSU University Relations Director Sid Salter said these dual appointments are significant honors for him and for the university.
"As a land grant institution, MSU's involvement with other research universities is of paramount importance," Salter said. "Of course, SACS goes beyond MSU; that appointment will impact higher education across the region."
Paul Hassen, a media representative with APLU, said the land-grant universities and public universities that constitute APLU face many of the same issues in terms of funding, access and degree completion. He said Keenum is well qualified to assist other APLU universities with these issues, and his SACS appointment speaks to that as well.
"I think his appointment comes at a critical time for public universities. We think his experience and perspective will be critical as the APLU deals with the impending federal budget cliff, the increased use of online learning and our efforts to boost degree completion," Hassen said. "He's got a lot of experience dealing with the budget situation ... at MSU. He's a distinguished administrator. We think he's going to be a wonderful addition to the board."