It’s considered unusual to apply entrepreneurial principals to an academic environment, yet that’s what sets University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert C. Khayat apart from his peers. At the helm of a university system spread over four campuses that collectively contain 15 colleges and 17,000 students, Khayat has focused on raising funds to ensure the long-term success of the institution.
With annual decreases in state funding, Khayat created a capital campaign raising $529.9 million in private support. He also increased the student population and tuition, and increased annual research funding from $17 million to $100 million.
A crowning achievement of his tenure came when university secured a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious honor society. Chapters are awarded based on a large number of meticulous requirements both academic and financial.
Under his leadership, the Sally McDonnell-Barksdale Honors College, Croft Institute for International Studies, Lott Leadership Institute, Galtney Center for Academic Computing, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, and the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation have been created. The university was also awarded the Grand Award for the Best Maintained College Campus in the Country by a national landscaping society.
Khayat began his relationship with Ole Miss in 1956 as an undergraduate and star athlete in two sports: baseball and football. In 1960 Khayat graduated and became a pro football player for the Washington Redskins. In 1961 he played in the NFL Pro Bowl, enrolled at Ole Miss Law School and remained with the Redskins until his graduation in 1963.
After several years in private practice he joined the law school faculty at Ole Miss, taking a leave of absence in 1980-81 to earn a Master’s of Law at Yale University. Returning to the law school faculty, Khayat was offered a registrar’s position, then associate dean of the law school and, in 1984, vice chancellor of the university. In 1989 Khayat was named the first president of the NCAA Foundation. In 1992 he returned to Ole Miss as a law professor.
On July 1, 1995, Khayat was named the university’s 15th chancellor. The average tenure for a university president is five years. Chancellor Robert Khayat will celebrate 12 years in June 2007.
Flagship University of the State of Mississippi
“‘“Entrepreneurs I have known are creative, courageous, visionary and focused. During our history it has been the entrepreneurs who have taken the bold steps needed to move us forward. They have been willing to take great risks and have had the courage to pick themselves up when they have failed. Most, if not all, have been willing to share their success with organizations, institutions, and individuals who depend upon philanthropy. Entrepreneurs are the people who lead the way in our world.””
For More Information: http://www.olemiss.edu
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