September 14, 2013 8:28:13 PM
Mississippi State University Provost Jerry Gilbert was named one of three finalists Friday for the University of Southern Alabama's top leadership position.
Gilbert, along with Illinois State University Provost Sheri Noren Everts and University of West Virginia School of Medicine Dean Arthur Ross III, was amongst 130 national nominees and applicants from across the country vying for the school's vacant presidential position.
Former USA President Gordon Moulton retired July 1 after serving as the school's head for 15 years. He was succeeded by acting President John W. Smith.
Two-day campus visits are scheduled for each candidate. They will convene with various university constituents and engage in public forums. Gilbert's public forum is scheduled for Thursday, while listening sessions for the other candidates will continue into October.
The USA Board of Trustees is expected to name a president by late October, and the school's new leader should begin his or her duties by early 2014.
Gilbert studied biological engineering at MSU (bachelor's degree) and Duke University (doctorate).
He joined MSU in 1988 as an adjunct appointment in the College of Veterinary Medicine, working his way through the ranks and later becoming associate provost and associate vice president for academic affairs in 2004. Gilbert was named provost and executive vice president in 2010.
USA employs in excess of 5,500 people, has an annual operating budget nearing $750 million and is tied to three hospitals. Its educational colleges include health-related studies - allied health and colleges of medicine and nursing - and business, education, engineering, information technology and arts and sciences.
"The board of trustees is gratified that the search committee representing the entire university family - faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community - has identified a slate of candidates with stellar credentials, and we are optimistic that we will be able to select a capable and qualified leader to continue the university's positive momentum," said Steve Furr, USA Board of Trustees chairman, in a release.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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