Rust College’s new president prepares for upcoming school term amid pandemic

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HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. — The new president of Rust College understands she has her hands full with the adversities the coronavirus is presenting, but says she is up to the challenge.

Dr. Ivy Taylor, who became president in June, is leading the college during an ongoing pandemic.

“I’ve had several people comment, ‘That it’s really a bad time, Ivy, to be taking a job as a college president,’” Taylor said. “But I’d say, it’s really a little better than my last job, which was mayor.”

Taylor is the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas. While leading one of the Lone Star State’s largest cities, she has faced several challenges. Now, she must navigate Rust College during the unknowns that surround COVID-19.

She says all of the procedures are in place to ensure a safe environment for both students and the faculty.

Taylor says Rust College has been proactive by implementing social distancing policies, encouraging people to wear face coverings, and moving smaller classes into bigger rooms. Additionally, she says, the school is offering a hybrid learning option and providing full-time students the chance to have their own laptop.

“For our juniors and seniors, one hundred percent of their coursework is online,” Taylor said. “Freshmen and sophomores have kind of a mix. Some of their courses meet in person on certain days and then meet virtually or online on other days.”

In addition to making sure students are safe amid the pandemic, Taylor is addressing issues with the campus as a whole, mainly the dormitories. She says before getting the job as president, the student body told her they wanted more modern facilities.

Taylor says the pandemic has slowed down projects that she feels are imperative for the future of Rust College. Nevertheless, she says that safety was the top priority.

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