Howell W. Todd
Howell Todd’s seven-year presidency was marked by notable building improvements, academic advances and the New Dawn Campaign. A native of Huntington, Tennessee, Dr. Todd served as executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents through 1994 before returning South to take the leadership reins at MC. At his inauguration on April 28, 1995, Todd called for a new commitment to building the university’s heritage and character as Mississippi College approached the 21st Century. One of the first steps during his seven-year administration was the development of MC technology, including a state-of-the art computer system. But many more changes were just ahead on the Clinton landscape, including construction of a first-class 72,000-square feet fitness facility (the Baptist Healthplex) in 1997. Shared by Mississippi College and Baptist Hospital in Jackson, the facility was heavily utilized by the entire MC family as well as the community in metro Jackson. New residence halls, with the latest connections for telephones, TVs and computers, were some of the features along with a stylish dome on top. Under the Howell Todd presidency, a new academic building connected to the Hederman Science Building and Self Hall was completed in 1999. The facility provided more space for the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science as well as organic chemistry. Meanwhile, one of MC’s landmarks as the administration building since 1948, Nelson Hall received extensive renovations - from its signature clock tower to the basement. The Mississippi College building renaissance was really just getting started during the Howell Todd Era. There were major renovations to the B.C. Rogers Student Center, including a much-improved food court. Modern tennis courts and a women’s softball field were built, too. And Alumni Hall that was home of a basketball gym and indoor swimming pool when it opened in 1926 received a facelift. The work included space for a bookstore and campus post office. With the opening of the New Women’s dorm, there were 1,550 students living in MC campus residence halls. Generating many of the campus improvements was the New Dawn Campaign, with Dr. Todd announcing the ambitious plan in 1997 to raise $80 million in five years. It helped pay for significant upgrades of MC facilities. In the arena of athletics, changes were happening as well. Mississippi College exited NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference in 1996. The Christian university switched to NCAA Division III and joined the Texas-based American Southwest Conference in 1997. After grappling with MC budget challenges, Dr. Todd announced his retirement in February 2001 to devote more time to church and family. College trustees thanked the tall Tennessean for his service and the “unmatched progress” that Mississippi College made during his seven-year tenure. An MC business professor and vice president for business affairs, Lloyd Roberts succeeded Todd as interim president in July 2001. One of the lasting signs of Dr. Todd’s presidency remains the large spinning globe and fountain outside Jennings Hall. It’s always a popular spot for visitors to the Clinton campus to take photographs. Todd dedicated the “kugel” in memory of his parents.