The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) named Dr. Marcus L. Thompson, president of Jackson State University, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. He began his tenure at Mississippi’s R2-designated HBCU on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023.
Thompson has over 20 years of leadership experience in early childhood, K-12, and higher education. Thompson served as the Deputy Commissioner and Chief Administrative Officer of the Mississippi IHL, Mississippi’s public university system, where he oversaw IHL staff for over a decade. In this role, all senior-level leaders reported to him, and he managed all facets of the agency’s day-to-day operations, including IHL Board relations, communications, legislation, technology, data management, and facilities.
Thompson was a liaison between the IHL Commissioner’s Office, the IHL Board of Trustees, and Mississippi’s eight public universities – Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Over the past 15 years in higher education, Marcus has advised the IHL Board of Trustees, the IHL Commissioner, and Mississippi’s public university senior leadership and institutional executive officers.
As Deputy Commissioner and Chief Administrative Officer, Thompson led the formation of the IHL ADA/Accessibility Services Task Force, which was launched to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities to thrive within the university system. The task force includes representatives from the eight public universities, the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, and the IHL System Office.
Thompson also led the IHL Board of Trustees’ efforts to encourage diverse campus environments and ensured that all aspects of institutional practice affirmed the IHL Board’s commitment to access and success, particularly to heightening the participation and achievement of underrepresented individuals.
Thompson is a former educator and administrator, serving private schools and public schools in the Jackson Public School District and the Copiah County School District, where he enjoyed and excelled at the one-on-one student interactions the classroom provided. He has held endorsements to teach elementary education and licenses to teach English, history, mathematics, and Spanish. He ultimately left the classroom and joined the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) to have a broader impact on students statewide. At MDE, he became Chief of Staff and Assistant to the State Superintendent of Education.
Thompson earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and Spanish and a Master of Education from Mississippi College. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in urban higher education from Jackson State University. Thompson is married to LaToya Redd Thompson, a practicing attorney. They are the proud parents of Kaelyn, Jessica, and Marcus, Jr.
JSU is one of the leading HBCUs in the country for overall academics, and our STEM program is ranked #5 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). With our interdisciplinary curriculum model, students have access to train in a variety of fields, which further prepares them for the next career move.
JSU is centrally located in Jackson, close to various cultural offerings like the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Jackson Zoo. Plus, our beautiful campus boasts learning centers equipped with modern amenities and plenty of spots to hang out with friends.