New JSU Acting President, MSU Ragtime and Jazz Festival and MSU/UM Dual Degree Program – Jackson Free Press

Thomas Hudson oversaw the implementation of EEO and Title IX guidelines at JSU and established partnerships with the University Veterans Center and Office of Disability Services to assist underrepresented employees from those groups. Photo courtesy JSU

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning named Thomas Hudson, who currently serves as special assistant to the president and chief diversity officer at Jackson State University, as the university’s acting president after former president William Bynum Jr. resigned Monday after being arrested in a prostitution sting in Clinton.

Hudson received his bachelor’s degree in political science from JSU and a law degree from the University of Mississippi. Before joining the JSU staff in 2012, he founded his own law practice and served as an equal employment opportunity specialist for the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA in Clinton.

As chief diversity officer, Hudson oversaw the implementation of EEO and Title IX guidelines at the university and established partnerships with the University Veterans Center and Office of Disability Services to assist underrepresented employees from those groups. He also served as the president’s liaison for the Division of Athletics and was chairman of the Director of Disability Services search committee in 2016.

MSU Ragtime and Jazz Festival

Mississippi State University will host the 14th annual Charles H. Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival at the Mitchell Memorial Library from Thursday, Feb. 27, to Saturday, Feb. 29.

The university will open the festivities on Thursday with the seventh annual Gatsby Gala at 6 p.m. in the library’s main lobby. The event includes a fashion show with 1920s apparel that MSU School of Human Sciences fashion design and merchandising students designed, and that MSU Fashion Board members will model.

Jeff Barnhart, a pianist from Mystic, Conn., who has served as artistic director of the festival for seven years, will perform at the gala. The event is free to attend, and the university encourages guests to dress in 1920s-inspired outfits.

The theme of this year’s festival is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The event will feature daytime museum tours, talks, silent films, educational seminars and “meet the artists” segments in the Charles H. Templeton Sr. Music Museum at Mitchell Memorial Library on Friday and Saturday.

Musicians will also perform ragtime, jazz, blues, folk and country music at 7:30 p.m. in the main-stage theater at McComas Hall on both days. The 2020 festival performers include Bill Edwards, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi.

During the Friday concert, MSU Libraries will also present MSU junior music education major Daniel A. Rorabaugh of Long Beach, Miss., with the Keyone Docher Student Achievement Award. The award is named for a former MSU junior music education and piano major who died of cancer in 2014.

General admission tickets good for all festival events are $65 each. Visitors can also purchase a Friday-only ticket for $35, which is good for all Friday events including the evening concert. There are also Saturday-only tickets for Saturday’s events and concert. Tickets for the Friday and Saturday concerts only are also available for $15 each. Admission to all festival events is free for MSU students with a student ID, and discounts are available for senior citizens and retired MSU faculty and staff members.

For information or to register for the festival online, visit MSU’s website, call 662-325-6634 or email [email protected].

Millsaps College/UM Dual Degree Program

Millsaps College recently signed a partnership agreement with the University of Mississippi to establish a new 10-semester dual degree academic program. The program allows students to earn bachelor’s degrees from both universities after completing six semesters at Millsaps and four at UM.

The dual-degree options include a bachelor’s degree in geophysics from Millsaps and a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering from UM; a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Millsaps and a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from UM; and a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Millsaps and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UM.

Under the agreement, students will pay tuition at the respective universities as they attend them. Both institutions provide scholarship opportunities.

For more information, visit or