A message from Interim President Leslie B. McLemore


Dear JSU Administrators, Faculty, Staff and Students:

On July 1, 2010, I will officially become Interim President of this great institution, serving until the Board of Trustees, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, confirms a permanent leader. While we are not sure how long this process will take, I am more than happy to serve as long as needed.

To be very candid with you, I am looking forward to working with all of you. We can collectively move a great University to new heights. We have this unique opportunity to bring about positive change in the lives of so many people.

Having spent nearly 40 years at Jackson State, I have a deep appreciation and respect for the University, its people and its mission. During my time here, and having worked in a variety of capacities, I have developed an intimate understanding of the University’s inner workings, goals and needs. With your help, I hope to move Jackson State forward, building on the great legacies of the previous leaders of the University.

I am open to hear your concerns and ideas to better Jackson State University. My door will remain open to you.

With best wishes,

Leslie Burl McLemore, Ph.D
Interim President

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27 thoughts on “A message from Interim President Leslie B. McLemore

  1. Best wishes Mr President,
    Your recommended list is real food for thought. As I have read and assigned these to my students over the years I wish I had lived the accumulated wisdom of these writers.

    D’Linell Finley, Ph.D
    Retired
    Auburn Montgomery Department of Political Science
    and Public Administration

    Pastor, Southlawn Baptist Church
    Montgomery, Alabama

    e-mail addresses
    dfinley@aum.edu
    dlfinley@charter.net
    southlawnpastor@knology.net

  2. Dear Dr. McLemore: Thank you for your letter to all at JSU. As you may know, JSU’s splendid marching band is represented with many videos on YouTube. So are many marching bands from all over the world. Jackson State’s marching band is wonderfully original in everything it does, presenting the skills, talents, and artistry of African-Americans quite beautifully. The marching band is so much better than the governmental bands from each country, including the USA’s Old Guard Band. The Old Guard marching band presents colonial uniforms and instruments with its routines.

    I suggest that your office see to it that PROFESSIONAL filming and presentation of the marching band be prepared for YouTube and all the other social networking websites. In this way, your marching band’s wonderful originality can be appreciated in every country, from the USA to Moscow and Beijing.

  3. Dr. McLemore,

    I was so very excited to hear of your recent appointment as Interim President of Jackson State University. I know of no one more deserving than you. Over the years, you have sown tremendously into the life of the university and its students. Congratulations and Best Wishes!

  4. Dr. McLemore,

    Jackson State, Mississippi, and the nation are fortunate to have you as President of a unicversity to which you have devoted an entire academic life, when many other more presigious and finacially lucrative oppotunities were available.

    Your committment to excellence has the capacity to be contagious such as that of Benjamin E. Mays, Charles Johnson, Charles Wesley, Samuel DuBois Cook, Mordecai Johnson, and Johnetta Coles among others.

    Excellence without excuse has always been your motto, and may the university follow your lead in that regard. You can, should, will, and are expected to lead JSU with your generous share of skills, experience, compassion, and vision.

    Every HBCU deserves at least one great President each generation. JSU now has one.

    Al-Tony Gilmore
    Archivist of the National Education Association
    and
    Visiting Scholar of History, George Washington University

  5. Wow! You have not changed a bit! (I am talking about in age) I attended JSU back in 1978 to 1981 and had the opportunity to know you then as a professor at the university. Your sister and I attended at the same time and were best friends.

    It is good to know that you will be the interim president and will do exceedingly great things for the university. You have a heart and passion for the things that are politically correct and right, and especially for Jackson State University. My prayers are with all presidents and leaders of any people.

  6. Interim President Leslie Burl McLemore, Ph.D.

    Congratulations on your appointment. At the end of the day, the #1 issue facing JSU today is the 12 million dollars or so budget short fall JSU is currently facing? What do you intend to do about it?

  7. It is all about transition from good to great. Good to see new leadership at my beloved college. Looking fwd t see great things in near future. Hopefully one day i will be back to teach there.

    Dan
    Class of ’98

  8. Welcome home Dr. Leslie Burl McLemore. I look forward to following and supporting your leadership.

  9. Dr. Leslie McLemore:
    I would like to extend my congratulations on your position as Interim President of Jackson State University. I was very pleased and excited to hear about your appointment. I do know that when you are in the picture progress is made. I know you will serve well because you represented my ward in the past and I want to thank you in advance because I know you are a big plus for JSU. May God continue to bless you!

  10. Greetings and Congratulations.

    I graduated in 2007 with an Industrial Technology degree and decided to pursue a graduate degree. Because of my good grades, I earned a tuition waiver. At the time I began taking graduate level courses, the Chair of Technology Department was Dr James Ejiwale. A year later he was asked to step down. Shortly after, when I went to apply for a tuition waiver for the second year, I spoke to the current chair,.Dr. John S. Colonias he personally told me there was no more money to give tuition waivers or scholarships. I began speaking to fellow students who were in the same program. To my surprise, I discovered that all of the students I asked received waivers even though I was told no one would receive waivers because of a lack of funds. Several of these students had much lower GPAs.

    Because of this situation, I was unable to continue my education. I believe that waiver funds that I had earned through hard work were unfairly taken away and given to students that were less qualified. I would like to see JSU award student waivers and scholarships based on academic merit.
    And i think Dr James Ejiwale was the right person for that position

  11. Hello Dr. McLemore:

    Being the great man that you are, and with you assisting this great university, I know you will Bless this Office. This is your time!

    God Speed

  12. Greetings, Dr. McLemore,

    And welcome back to Jackson State! I am a 1972 grad who remembers your profound presence on campus in the life of the College and in the culture of Jackson State when you were one of our shining stars on the faculty. We had many stars, including Ms. Blackburn, Dr. Warren, Dr. Uzadima, Dr. Jefferson, Mr. Anthony, you, Dr. Alexander… there was a critical mass of excellence in my time on campus.

    I will be renewing my membership in the JSU National Alumni Association today, the first day of the new Jackson State University, after a time of darkness when it seems, to lovers of Jackson Fair, that we were under the influence of something alien, to be totally honest and clear.

    During the past 10 years, we saw the leadership of the legacy of Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander and the leadership of the JSU legacy of the venerable Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer placed in the hands of persons we knew nothing about, persons who have no apparent connection to the sincerity and boldness that we associate with Dr. Alexander and Mrs. Hamer. We did not understand what was being done with the legacy that we love. We also saw during this period, in a blatant display of rank disrespect, the demolition of Dansby Hall, a revered site of memory to countless Jacksonians, without any fitting solemn assembly or ritual commensurate with the legacy that Dr. Dansby left for us and what Jackson State means. Dansby Hall was torn down, for crying out loud, without fanfare. These actions were troublesome and of concern.

    While I celebrate your return, I would be remiss and less than totally honest if I did not note the fact that there are unsubstantiated reports that you, in your role in Jackson and your position of authority within the annals of the glory pf Jackson State, were part of the behind-the-scene dynamics that led to these troubling developments. We feel that Jackson State lost its soul during the past 10 years and are told that you have been duplicitous in these developments.

    Mr. President, one of the greatest strengths of Jackson State, namely, academic, athletic, and artistic excellence coexisting together in one potent mix, was abandoned during the past 10 years.

    It is alledged that our leadership during the past 10 years stated that for Jackson State to NOT be known of football is NOT a bad thing and that, because athletics and the band “do not bring in any revenue,” that these two functions are not worthy of the value associated with them by JSU alums. We, as an instituion, lost so much market value during this time. Again, the reports state that you were duplicitous in some of these most egregious actions (Alexander and Hamer) and that you supported the “new” attitude of JSU that was so much celebrated by the IHL and the congressional leadership of the State (quick take, etc.). I don’t know for sure because I am out of state, but I have it on good authority that you were supportive of the “new” regime that brought the malaise that descended on our Jackson Fair.

    My point: Say that what is said about you ain’t so, Mr. President ,if it is not. But even if it is so, and trust me, we understand the pressures, say that you get it now and that you are part of the season of the future of Jackson State and that you are with us in this time of renewal. That’s all that we seek — the restoration of Jackson State to a place of honor among the people who support the legacy of excellence built by the Dr. Dansby, Dr. Peoples, and others whose names we do not know or have forgotten.

    Best of luck to you during your tenure. It will not be easy, but together we can become great again on our own terms.

    Peace and blessings!

  13. Dear Dr. McLemore:

    Congratulations on your appointment on behalf of the Department of Communicative Disorders.

  14. Congrats Dr. McLemore! Looking forward to great things! I am in agreement about bringing back Dr. Mary Coleman 🙂

  15. Greetings and Congrat Dr. McLemore,

    I feel that Jackson State the University in which I Love and respect as been entrusted in great hands.

    Dr. McLemore, I do have a concern however about employment and practices. I have submitted applications for employment to the university and have chatted via email about my qualifications for various positions and always asked to follow the human resource steps for employment but to no avil. My information never seem to reach the necessary departments for review and consideration. ie most recent example (I submitted and application for 208754-Professor of Service Learning, position back in January/February by way of Fedex as requested with signature request and the necessary Department is yet to receive documents).

    My question, what can be done about this type of situation? Especially since I desire to return to Jackson State University and give of myself to its continued growth, and advancement.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Ora L. Smith JSU ’94

  16. What are some things that you will work on during your tenure at JSU? I look forward to a positive response.

  17. Dr. McLemore,

    I was very happy to learn that you will be serving the university in this important leadership capacity. I can remember years ago when I worked in the Public Administration department as a work-study graduate student. I am aware of the awesome work ethic you have and the expectations that you have for the university. You will bring lots of innovative ideas and raise the bar for the students and the community.

    I wish you well in those endeavors.

    Dr. Deborah Lowe Hill

  18. Welcome aboard, Dr. McLemore,

    On behalf of the Academic Department Chairs Council (ADCC), I would like to extend to you a most heartfelt welcome. We share your optimism about how we can collectively move the university to new heights. As a body, we hope to help facilitate the realization of the goals and mission of the university and its colleges. The council looks forward to learning about your agenda and we hope that, as a former department chair, you still appreciate the potential energy there is at your disposal through our association.

    Best regards,

    Maury Granger,
    ADCC President Pro Tem

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