Lucas "confident," says search will take around nine months - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Lucas "confident," says search will take around nine months

Tuesday morning Dr. Aubrey Lucas announced that after some coercing from the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning board he is stepping in as interim President at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Lucas said, "I have agreed to serve our University again, because it is an honor to do so, because the Board of Trustees was unrelenting in its insistence and because President Martha Saunders has served us well and leaves Southern Miss a better University."

Lucas will work closely with outgoing President Martha Saunders throughout her final days to "gradually learn and assist as he can." Once he finishes his classes, determining grades, the Presidents duties will become a priority.

Lucas said, "he is confident all of the issues at hand can be resolved with patience."

Once the Spring semester officially wraps up, Lucas said, "I will have more time and energy to devote to the President's duties." Such as, new leadership within the University's Athletic's Department.

Lucas said he will be involved in that decision and he will use former Athletic Director Richard Giannini and Interim Athletic Director Jeff Hammond as resources in the decision-making process.

The IHL said it will initiate the search for new leadership immediately and Lucas said he expects it to take eight to  nine months.

The IHL announced Tuesday it had selected Lucas to serve as the interim president for USM.

Lucas is President Emeritus and Professor of Higher Education at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he served for 22 years as President. He had previously served as President of Delta State University for four years. He also served as Interim Commissioner of Higher Education from October 2008 until July 2009.

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