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MY TRUTH: Let’s ACT responsibly!

Dr. Elayne Anthony Acting JSU President Photo: JSU

If I was thinking about going back to college, I would want to choose an institution like the one where Dr. Elayne Anthony is the Acting President.

You see, I need and have grown to expect to have a president who is not only smart, visionary, great at raising funds, and able to navigate through the bureaucratic posturing of legislators, and alumni; but also proficient at displaying tough and unconditional love and a firm, stern, no-nonsense demeanor when necessary.

I need a president who loves the school and makes everyone feel valuable, realizing that people give more when they feel valued. Or when their leadership style chooses competence and what is good for the school and students over what is good for their personal friendships or pockets.

I need a president who is not a model playing a role, while changing quicker than the weather and letting their ego stifle the growth of the institution— I am talking about a real role model.

I need a president who is a source of inspiration and guidance to students and who lets professors teach while also encouraging them to become involved in the growth and development of the entire institution as well as themselves; instead of being content with taking home a paycheck.


I need a president who values alumni so much that they reach out more than just to ask for money and they hire staff and administrators who truly value the school, students and the campus.

My president has to be someone who has some juice, who is impressive and has street cred. I need them to be a leader in their field; someone who can pick up the phone and make things happen for their constituents (their students and faculty).

Am I asking for too much?

Well, that brings me to my truth.

Dr. Elayne Anthony with her former JSU student, veteran journalist Jimmie Gates, president of the Jackson Association of Black Journalists. Photo: CS/tmn

I met Dr. Anthony before she became acting president of Jackson State University. She immediately impressed me because she is genuine and so dynamic. She was heading the Journalism and Media Studies Department and she was taking care of business with high expectations for her students and staff.


We talked at length as we sat in the press box in Miami, watching Jackson State hand my alma mater, Florida A&M University, the largest defeat in my lifetime.

I still keep telling myself, “it was all a dream!”

But I digress.

I enjoy the CW show, “All American: Homecoming.” The writing is honest, compelling and thought-provoking. The characters are real and so are the situations they find themselves confronting, which are similar to those at JSU.

And yes, just like at Jackson State University, the president is a Black woman!


Now this week, I understand that there are listening tours going on in Jackson, MS and soon there will be a decision about Dr. Anthony’s future.

While JSU has been challenged in their selection process in the past, a vote of confidence for Dr. Anthony would be one of the best decisions for the future of this great HBCU.

She is compassionate, righteous, temperate, courteous, dedicated, pure, honest, friendly and loyal. She is smart, loving, meticulous, focused and strategic.

It was a pleasure to see her on JSU’s campus during the National Association of Black Journalists’ Region III Conference.

Dr. Anthony’s interaction with students, faculty, alumni, and all employees and guests was interesting to witness. The level of respect was heartwarming and should be a case study for college president boot camps.


And this woman has credentials, which are important, but equally important with the degrees are her life skills and ethical standards.

The selection committee shouldn’t waste any time on this choice. They should act and then move out of the way and let her get about the business of JSU.

Now in case you’re wondering: Elayne Hayes-Anthony is an alumnus of JSU, graduating with her B.S. Degree and then later received her PhD degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Her impressive portfolio includes being the first African American female anchor, producer and reporter for WJTV-TV12, the CBS affiliate in Jackson, MS.

Here’s a snippet of her bio: She has served as Head of the Department of Mass Communication. Under her leadership the department received national accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). Because of her visionary leadership, she expanded the sequence offerings to include public relations and advertising.

She has served as Assistant Superintendent of Public Information and Staff Development for the Jackson Public School District and spokesperson for the Board of Trustees; an educational consultant and founding head of the Department of Communication for Belhaven University where she was also a tenured full Professor.

Currently a tenured full professor at Jackson State University, Dr. Anthony has served on over 15 accreditation teams for ACEJMC and has served as a consultant for the Florida and Louisiana Board of Regents on Journalism Education.

She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; the Jackson Association of Black Journalists; was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour and Governor Phil Bryant to the State Department of Health where she also serves on the Audit, CON and Communication committees; and was also on the education task force for the state of Mississippi.

A member of the advisory board for I Heart Radio; former member of the Randolph Hearst national scholarship committee and a former member of the Board of Visitors for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Anthony is the first African American to serve on the Board of the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters MAB where she serves as Vice President. She will assume the Presidency in the fall; making this wife, mother and grandmother the first African American, female and educator to hold that statewide position.

A word to the wise: Don’t ACT like you don’t know. Vote Dr. Elayne Anthony in as PRESIDENT and let the evolution begin.

And PLEASE, keep the negativity to yourself and SUPPORT!

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