‘His blood runs blue and red’: Noel Wilkin named provost

Posted on Oct 5 2017 - 8:01am by Maddie McGee

Provost Wilkin will serve as the chief academic officer of the university and will be responsible for both academic and budgetary affairs. Photo by Billy Schuerman

Noel Wilkin was named provost and executive vice chancellor of the university after serving as interim provost since January 2017.

As provost, Wilkin will serve as the chief academic officer of the university and will be responsible for both academic and budgetary affairs. The provost works closely with academic deans and department heads to fulfill academic priorities and missions and plays a large role in the dynamics of the university as second-in-command to the chancellor.

In a statement, Wilkin said he is excited to serve the university as provost.

“It is the creativity, commitment and dedication of our people that enables us to make a positive difference in the lives of our students and society, and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with them to do this important work,” he said in the statement.

Donald Cole, assistant provost and math professor, said Wilkin is uniquely qualified to be the provost of the university.

“No one knows more about the academic operations of our institution than Noel,” Cole said. “He has the experience, the temperament, the work ethic and the confidence.”

Wilkin’s experience at the university includes roles as interim provost, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, professor of pharmacy administration and research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Cole said Wilkin’s previous experience at the university will be a huge benefit.

“We have avoided a one- to two-year learning curve for a provost by choosing Noel, and we have maintained the quality, respect, integrity and moral leadership expected in a provost,” he said.  “No one will be more dedicated to our institution, and no one is going to outwork Noel.”

Provost Wilkin talks to Dewey Knight during a tour of the Lyceum. Photo by Billy Schuerman

Cole said that becoming provost was naturally the next step for Wilkin and the university can expect big things from him.

“His blood runs blue and red, and he brings a stabilizing confidence to this position,” Cole said. “With Noel, we can expect years of dedicated, forward-thinking, progressive leadership to guide our institution into the next decade.”

Rich Forgette, associate provost and interim director of the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, said the university is lucky to have Wilkin as provost.

“Provost Wilkin has great judgment, integrity and vision,” he said. “He brings a wealth of experience to the provost position. This experience gives him a great command of the challenges and opportunities facing higher education.”

Forgette also said Wilkin’s ability as an academic leader will be an asset to the role of provost.

“He’ll continue the progress made by Provost Stocks to grow the university and promote student success,” he said.

Wilkin’s naming concluded a nationwide search that included open forums to interview four finalists.

The process began last school year when former Provost Morris Stocks stepped down to return to the faculty of the accounting school. The committee, led by Larry Sparks, vice chancellor for administration and finance, narrowed down a long list of resumes to a smaller number of candidates who interviewed for the position. Four candidates were invited to present in a forum that was open to students, faculty and staff.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter made the official decision and said in a statement that Wilkin will be a strong and effective leader for the university.

“In his 20-plus years with Ole Miss, Noel has built a tremendous track record of success, excellence, collaboration and fostering energetic and innovative approaches,” Vitter said in the statement. “Under Noel’s leadership as provost, the university will see our momentum and academic excellence soar to new heights.”