January 10, 2014 10:28:50 AM
A former Mississippi University for Women president was killed in a head-on collision Wednesday in Florida.
James Walter Strobel, 80, died after a van he was a passenger in was struck head-on by a tractor-trailer truck, according to the Florida Times Union. He was transported to UF Health Jacksonville where he was pronounced dead, the Times Union said.
Strobel was president of MUW from 1977-1988.
According to a press release issued by MUW, Strobel was instrumental in forming the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science as well as the Mississippi Governor's School.
"During his 11-year tenure at The W, Strobel was instrumental in the founding of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, a residential program for high-achieving high school students," the release said. "His legacy also includes starting the Mississippi Governor's School, a summer residential honors program for high school juniors and seniors; establishing the university's Centennial Scholars Program for superior students; and overseeing the creation of Plymouth Bluff Environmental Center. He also oversaw the construction of Cromwell Communication Center, home to the university's theater and communication departments."
Dr. Sheila Adams, dean of The W's college of nursing and speech language pathology, spoke highly of the former president.
"Dr. Strobel provided strong leadership to the university during some of its major milestones such as the 1982 admission of men," Adams said. "He was an approachable leader who supported faculty and the academic mission of The W."
MUW President Dr. Jim Borsig said he pursed a career in education, in part, because of Strobel's influence.
"Dr. Strobel was a strong influence in encouraging me to pursue my career," he said.
Borsig said he maintained a friendship with Strobel through the years and said the former president's love of the university was evident.
"I know from these conversations how deeply he loved this university," Borsig said. "Our entire university family extends our sympathy and prayers to his family during this difficult time."
Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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