The Marshall University Board of Governors today named Mississippi State University Provost Jerome A. “Jerry” Gilbert the 37th president of Marshall University. Gilbert will assume the presidency in January.
Earlier this month, the Presidential Search Committee announced Gilbert as one of three finalists for the position following a national search. All three candidates participated in open forums last week with students, faculty, staff and members of the community, and the decision to hire Gilbert was made yesterday by the Board of Governors in executive session. Gilbert’s appointment and contract will require final approval from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
“What an honor it is to be asked to lead Marshall University,” said Gilbert. “I’ve been so impressed by everything I’ve learned and seen. This is such a wonderful opportunity. All the pieces are in place—fantastic facilities and great academic programs. We are in a position to be able to take Marshall University to another level of excellence and really advance as a major university.
“It is difficult to express the overwhelming excitement that Leigh and I have in looking forward to being at Marshall and becoming part of the Huntington community. I also want to express my sincere appreciation to the Board of Governors for the opportunity to serve Marshall.”
Michael G. Sellards, chairman of the Board of Governors, said, “This is an exciting new chapter for Marshall University and the board is thrilled to welcome Jerry and Leigh to our community and our university. We have a world of opportunity ahead of us and our new president has the vision and experience to lead us there. Today is a great day in the history of Marshall University.”
President Mark E. Keenum of Mississippi State University said, “Marshall University has made an extremely wise choice in selecting Dr. Jerry Gilbert as their next president. Dr. Gilbert has been an extraordinarily effective executive vice president and provost at Mississippi State and I know he will take that same thoughtful, deliberate and courageous leadership style to Marshall.”
A Mississippi native with a background in biomedical engineering, Gilbert has served since 2010 as provost and executive vice president of Mississippi State. Prior to that, he was the university’s associate provost and associate vice president for academic affairs for six years. Previous roles include head of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and coordinator for the biomedical engineering graduate program in the Bagley College of Engineering.
Gilbert attained the rank of professor in 1993 after joining the Mississippi State faculty in 1988 as associate professor. From 1989-2005, he also served as adjunct clinical assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery (research) for the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Since 2005, he has been a research affiliate with the Institute of Neurocognitive Science and Technology at Mississippi State. He was among the first class of Mississippi State’s honors faculty in the Shackouls Honors College.
He held previous academic appointments at Duke University, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) School of Medicine.
In 2014, Gilbert was elected to the inaugural board of directors of the Association of Chief Academic Officers. A member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, he also was inducted in the inaugural class of Fellows of the Institute of Biological Engineering, an organization which he served as president in 2005.
He has a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering from Mississippi State and a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Duke.
Gilbert and his wife Leigh are the parents of three grown children. They have one granddaughter.
An event to introduce the Gilberts to the Marshall University community is in the planning stages. More information will be released as details are finalized.