Rust College looks for replacement with looming departure of long-time president

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HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. — WREG has confirmed a search committee has been formed to find a new president for Rust College.

Current president Dr. David Beckley will be leaving sometime this year.

Beckley has served as Rust’s president for 26 years, and now members of the school’s alumni association said it’s time for a change.

Dr. Leslie-Burl McLemore is a proud alumnus of Rust College. But McLemore said he and other alumni association members said it’s past time for Beckley to step aside.

“He has been president of the college for 26 years, and it’s our thinking that it’s now time for a changing of the guard,” McLemore said.

WREG confirmed Beckley will leave his position some time this year, although a specific date has not yet been given.

A search committee has been established and is accepting applications through March 15.

McLemore said he has known Beckley for a number of years, and while he believes he’s made many positive changes at the college, there are some areas that have been neglected.

McLemore pointed to what he calls deferred maintenance when it comes to the college’s infrastructure.

In January, WREG listened to students’ concerns over mold and insect problems in one of the dorms.

McLemore said there’s no excuse.

“There are infrastructure problems at the college that should be addressed that have not been addressed satisfactorily, we think,” McLemore said.

McLemore said he believes the search committee is doing a good job and casting a wide net in their nationwide effort to find a president that is student- and faculty-oriented with exceptional fundraising skills.

“Rust College has been around for a long time, and we expect it to be around for another 152 years,” he said.

The head of the search and advisory committee, Barkese Dalton, said plans are to have a new president in place by this summer with Beckley staying on for a year as a consultant.

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