Dr. Andrew Mullins, chief of staff to the chancellor, is set to retire at the end of June. Mullins has worked at the university for the last 19 years after serving under two Mississippi governors.
Dr. Andrew Mullins has been involved with K-12, community colleges and The University of Mississippi for 43 years. After a long career working in Mississippi education, Mullins will be retiring on June 30.
“His knowledge and history of education, especially as they pertain to Mississippi, are things that everyone respects,” said Dr. Donald Cole, assistant provost and assistant to the chancellor concerning minority affairs.
“We always want to hear his voice before any decisions are made in that area.”
A native of Macon, Mullins graduated from Noxubee County High School before attending Millsaps College. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history, he went to work as a history teacher at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Jackson. He also earned his Master of Education in history from Mississippi College and later his doctorate from Ole Miss.
At St. Andrew’s, Mullins started the football team with a goal in mind.
“I wanted public and private schools to play in the same conference,” he said.
“That way they could be exposed to a wider array of people from across the state.”
His wish was granted in 1971, when St. Andrew’s and other private schools entered the ranks of public schools.
Mullins was the 1977 Mississippi Tennis Coach of the Year, for which he still keeps a plaque in his office.
The tennis court also provided an important connection for him: William Winter. The two became friends, due in part to the fact that Mullins coached Winter’s daughter. After Winter became governor in 1980, he hired Mullins as an adviser on all education-related issues. During this time, he helped implement public kindergarten in the state of Mississippi.
After working under Winter from 1980-84, Mullins was a special assistant to Gov. Bill Allain and a campaign aide to Winter, the Democratic senatorial candidate in 1984.
He returned to education after his career in politics. In 1990, he joined Amy Gutman, an undergraduate student at Harvard, on a project that has changed Mississippi education. Together they started the Mississippi Teachers Corps.
An alternate route to teaching, the Mississippi Teachers Corps has placed more than 500 teachers since its inception.
Chancellor Dan Jones has been friends with Mullins for over 20 years and said that one thing stands out in Mullins’ career.
“His legacy will be all across education, in leadership and in selfless service to the state of Mississippi,” Jones said.
“He is the example of selflessness in a leadership role.”
Lee Tyner, current university attorney, will take office as the chief of staff to the chancellor July 1. Tyner will continue to serve as the university’s chief legal officer.
Mullins has a list of achievements and accolades that range from sports and government to education and chairing the committee that brought the 2008 presidential debate to Oxford. A humble man, he credits the leaders with whom he has worked.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Mississippi’s transformational leaders in Winter and Khayat,” Mullins said.
“Dr. Dan Jones has done a lot of great things to build onto that as well.”