“Over the past 23 months in which he has served as interim vice president, I have received many expressions of support for Dr. Watson as the permanent vice president,” says J. Charles Lee, president of Mississippi State University. “Given the breadth of support for Dr. Watson, his unquestioned qualifications and commitment, and the challenges associated with recruiting outside the state at this time, I felt that in this particular situation a formal search would not be necessary, and the Board of Trustees concurred.

“As all of you know so well, this position is of great importance and strong interest to a wide range of groups and individuals throughout the state.”

During more than 35 years at Mississippi State, Lee says Watson has served in positions of increasing responsibility.

As interim vice president, Lee says, “Dr. Watson has generously embraced a new vision for the Division, reallocated significant levels of resources to higher priorities through the Retirement Incentive Program, and provided outstanding leadership in implementing performance-based planning, budgeting, and goal setting.

“He has also fully consolidated the roles of Vice President, Director, and Dean, which has contributed to more efficient and more collegial operations within the Division.”

Lee says he is confident that Watson will provide outstanding leadership for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine and that he is fully committed to Mississippi State University and the State of Mississippi.

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning named Watson to the position Nov. 20.

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com