Elayne Hayes-Anthony, Ph.D. chosen as temporary acting president of Jackson State University


By Jackie Hampton,


The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) named Elayne Hayes-Anthony, Ph.D. as temporary acting president of JSU, March 3, 2023, after placing current president, Thomas Hudson, Ph.D., on paid administrative leave.

The board that governs Mississippi’s eight universities did not disclose why Hudson, who has served as president of the university since November 2020, was placed on leave. 

Tom Duff, president of the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, said in a statement Thursday that the board is grateful Hayes-Anthony agreed to be acting president. “As alumnus and long-time administrator and faculty member at the university, she understands the campus, its students, its challenges and opportunities,’’ Duff said.

Anthony, is a native of Jackson, Mississippi graduate of Jackson State University. She received the Ph.D. degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She was the first African-American female anchor, producer and reporter for WJTV-TV12. 

After receiving her doctorate, she returned to JSU and served as Head of the Department of Mass Communication. 

After ten years at the university she was appointed assistant superintendent of Public Information, pupil placement, staff development and spokesperson for the Board of Trustees for the Jackson Public School District.

She served as professor of communications and chair of the Department of Communications at Belhaven College for 17 years prior to returning to JSU as chair of the Journalism and Media Studies Department. While in this current capacity, Hayes-Anthony received a call asking if she would serve as temporary president of JSU.

In an interview with The Mississippi Link, Anthony stated she was at the Medgar Evers Wiley Airport returning from Washington, DC Wednesday, when she received the call asking her to serve as temporary acting president of JSU. She stated she was surprised that she was asked to serve in this capacity and that after accepting it has been a whirlwind of an experience. 

She stated she has had several meetings with staff and advisors and so far things are moving along. 

Wednesday was JSU Day at the capitol and it was at this event that Hayes-Anthony said she reunited with so many people that she knew from so many walks of life. She said, “Students, alumni, staff, faculty, athletes, and members of the community offered me their support and their prayers and I appreciate that so much.” 

When asked about her immediate goal while serving as temporary president she said, “I want to insure that the students have the necessary resources they need in the classroom.” She stated getting the needed resources will help with that goal.

She stated her challenge and her desire in addition to getting needed resources is that they allpursue excellence in all the things that they do.

“There is no job that is more important than another job. We must all contribute to the university in pursuit of excellence,” said Hayes-Anthony.

She hopes that the students understand their main priority is to get a quality education and that everyone associated with the university will assist in any way they can by standing by the students as they move toward their goals. She said this includes, faculty and staff and alumni. 

She ended the interview by saying, “I’m looking at Jackson State and hoping that it’s a new day.” 

Her plans include having town hall meetings with alumni all across the nation and listening to what they have to say.

In inclusion she said, “I don’t claim to know everything or have all the answers. You can learn a lot from listening to others.”

Though she was asked to serve in a temporary capacity as president of JSU, Hayes-Anthony is very appreciative of IHL for trusting her to lead one of the best HBCUs in the world.

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