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Miss. College’s Bettye Coward to lead Blue Mountain College

BLUE MOUNTAIN, Miss. (BP)–Bettye Rogers Coward, academic vice president at Mississippi College in Clinton, has been selected as the seventh president of Blue Mountain (Miss.) College.

“I understand and embrace the role of Christian colleges in preparing graduates whose lives will reflect a faith-based educational experience,” Coward, 57, said in a news release from the college. “Joining with the constituents of this fine institution to continue the rich tradition of preparing community and denominational leaders is an opportunity I eagerly anticipate.”

Coward replaces E. Harold Fisher, who is retiring after 35 years at the helm of the 400-student, Baptist-affiliated school now in its 128th year. Fisher said he is “certain Dr. Coward will build on the solid foundation and will lead the college to new and greater heights.”

At Mississippi College, Coward also has served as professor, chair and acting chair of the department of family and consumer sciences and health education.

Coward, who was born in Hattiesburg and grew up in Collins, Miss., is a graduate of Jones County Junior College in Laurel (A.A. ’63); Mississippi University for Women in Columbus (B.S. ’65); and the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg (M.S. ’66, Ed.D. ’76). She received her doctorate in higher education administration.

Coward was selected by MC faculty and students as the school’s Distinguished Professor in 1990 and was recognized by the 1991 Mississippi Legislature as the outstanding faculty member at MC.

Blue Mountain College, located in north Mississippi, is a four-year liberal arts undergraduate college for women supported by the Mississippi Baptist Convention. The school offers a Christian education for women with a coordinate academic program for men preparing for church-related vocations.

Heywood Washburn of Tupelo, chair of the school’s trustees who unanimously selected Coward Feb. 23, said, “We are certainly delighted that Dr. Bettye Coward has agreed to serve as Blue Mountain College’s seventh president and are especially excited about the gifts she brings to the job which are reflected in her wonderful teaching and administration at Mississippi College.”

Linda Gholston of Grenada, Miss., who chaired the search committee that recommended Coward, told trustees the search committee was impressed with Coward’s passion for Christian higher education and her commitment to excellence.

Coward and her husband Tom are members of Morrison Heights Baptist Church, Clinton, and the parents of one adult daughter.

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  • William H. Perkins Jr.