On April 9, President Jim Borsig called a faculty convocation and announced that he would be declining the position of state commissioner of higher learning in order to remain president of the W.
Borsig, who was slated to take office as commissioner on April 15, cited many factors in his decision.
In the short speech he made after his announcement, he said that his decision had been made after much thought, reflection and prayer. He mentioned that many faculty and students had approached him about his decision to leave the W, and emphasized the importance of the students’ concerns to him. Also, he clearly stated that his declining of the position was not made due to differences with the Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning.
The news was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation from almost all the faculty in the room.
“Over a period of weeks it became clearer to me that this [the W] was where I was called to be,” said Borsig.
Enthusiasm for his decision was shared by both faculty and students.
“I love that he’s staying,” said Summer Ward, a sophomore art major. “I was going to be sad if he left.”
“He does a really nice job of supporting as many on campus events as he is able to, and that is not the case at all universities,” said Lee Crouse, assistant professor of theatre.
“He’s a big supporter of the Theatre Department,” Crouse added. “He’s come to just about every show since he’s been here, and that includes improv and senior exit projects.”
Borsig said he did some soul searching about what is important to him before making his decision to stay.
“Every day here, I’m around students, and I watch lives get changed, and at this point in my career it became clear that being a part of that was the most important thing to me,” said Borsig, expounding on his decision to stay.
Borsig had offered to act as interim commissioner until a replacement could be found, but Glenn Boyce, deputy commissioner of higher learning, was appointed as commissioner on April 17.
“I’ve worked with him for the past five years, both while he was the president of Holmes Community College and at Institutions of Higher Learning, and I know him to be a dedicated educator who wants the best for Mississippi,” said Borsig.
He also mentioned that, as president, he planned on continuing his original plans for the university.
“I expect we will continue to forge ahead with the initiatives that are underway,” Borsig said. “On a college campus, all the good work is done by the faculty and staff, and I think we have a shared vision and a bright future.”