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Blake Thompson
President, Mississippi College

Dr. Blake Thompson has brought a new sense of excitement to historic Mississippi College with his limitless energy and deep commitment to putting students first. It is common to find him engaging with students across the institution’s two campuses or recruiting prospective students in their schools.

Thompson just completed his sixth year as president of Mississippi College during which time the private institution has experienced renewed enrollment growth, announced an academic scholarship program unmatched in the state, introduced innovative programs of study and enhanced the historic campus.

Mississippi College, in early 2024, unveiled a partnership with city and business leaders for a new, mixed-use development adjoining the main campus in Clinton that will serve as an economic driver for the entire region and transform the physical and economic landscape near the campus. In May of this year, the institution initiated a comprehensive renovation plan for the Mississippi College School of Law in downtown Jackson — the first major renovation to the facility in more than 20 years.

Thompson and Mississippi College started the Speed Scholarship in 2022 to honor longtime benefactor Leland Speed – which provides full tuition for admitted high school or transfer students who are residents of Mississippi. That led to a record class of over 1,000 new students in fall 2023. Applications are up 60 percent from two years ago, which goes against the national trend of decreasing enrollment.

Under Thompson’s leadership, the Gore Arts Complex was opened in 2023, supporting one of the only arts education programs in Mississippi and housing the newly created Institute for Southern Storytelling. Renovations to the historic Alumni Hall - including adding a visitor's center, Chick-fil-A, and Einstein Bros. Bagels restaurants - were completed in 2020. In 2019, he established the University’s Honors College and expanded international programs by launching the Edward McMillan Center for Education Abroad.

Planning is now underway for the University’s 2026 Bicentennial Celebration, which will be the first 200th anniversary of an institution of higher learning in Mississippi.

Nationally, Thompson was appointed to serve a seven-year term on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Presidents Council, the division’s highest governing body. He has also served as President of the Mississippi Association of Independent Colleges and Universities for the past four years and is beginning a one-year term as President of the Mississippi Association of Colleges (MAC) - the annual meeting of all of the state’s two- and four-year higher education institutions, which he convenes in July of 2024.

Thompson recently served as a member of the President’s Advisory Council for the University of Health Sciences & Pharmacy in St. Louis. He has played a significant role in the American Heart Association’s Metro Jackson chapter, serving on its Heart Ball Executive Leadership Team at the 43rd annual event to promote healthier lives. The Mississippi Business Journal recognized him as one of Mississippi’s Top CEOs, and he is a member of the Mississippi chapter of YPO.

Before joining MC, Thompson served as vice president and secretary to The Ohio State University (OSU) Board of Trustees. He held several leadership positions encompassing government affairs, economic and workforce development, and university governance at the 66,000-student OSU, one of the largest universities in the country. During that time, he was instrumental in supporting the creation of The Ohio State University Medical Center Board, for which Ohio State was recognized by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB). In addition, Thompson held a joint vice presidential appointment with Battelle, the world’s leading nonprofit research and development organization, where he led the creation of the Battelle Center for Science and Technology Policy in partnership with the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. He has also served as a senior staffer to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and the late Sen. Thad Cochran in Washington, D.C.

Blake and his wife, Jana, were raised in the small community of Rienzi, Mississippi. Both are graduates of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, where he was recognized as 2021 Alumnus of the Year and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council. Thompson is a three-time graduate of Ole Miss, where he earned his doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences. He also holds an executive master’s degree from the Georgetown University School of Business. The Thompsons have three children: Grey, Sarah Blake, and Cate.