An Open Letter from the Chancellor to the Ole Miss Family


Dear Ole Miss Family,

It is with a very heavy heart that I received the news from our governing board, the Mississippi Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning (the College Board), that they will not renew my contract as Chancellor of the University of Mississippi.  The Board has the responsibility of selecting and overseeing leaders of the eight public universities in our state. I am grateful to the College Board for initially selecting me as chancellor in 2009 and giving me the opportunity to lead this great university.

But I am very saddened by the decision that I will not continue as chancellor. Lydia and I have loved serving the university in this role the last six years. I very much wanted to continue to serve for another four-year term, and I am disappointed that will not happen.

The College Board’s decision is not related to my health.  Many of you have expressed concern for me and my family as I have battled cancer in recent months. Thankfully, my health is good.  I’ve been blessed with a remarkable response to the chemotherapy. I’m grateful for all the expressions of concern and support during that time. And I’ll look better when I have hair, eyebrows, and color.   But I’m working mostly full days and not constrained from fulfilling my responsibilities.

In meeting with board representatives, I was informed a key concern for the board was my relationship to board members and the Commissioner and my unwillingness to adjust to the board’s desired governance structure. Over the last couple of years, I have expressed concern and disagreement with the board in some areas, including the funding allocation plan that distributes state funds to various public universities, business issues at the medical center, and responsibility for managing the selection process for the position of vice chancellor to lead the medical center.

I am a person with strong passions about our university and medical center. Although the Board may view our conflict differently, for me, every disagreement we experienced was rooted in trying to do what was best and fair for our university.

In closing, Lydia and I thank every alumnus, student, staff member, and faculty member for your kindness to us. We intend to serve these last days until the end of my contract on September 14, 2015, with joy and gratitude.  The university is in a great position for continued progress on most every measure of success:

  •  There is no finer leadership team in higher education than ours, and they will continue the great work that has been instrumental in our growth and progress.
  •  We have an outstanding and productive faculty dedicated to the success of our students.
  • We have an incredibly talented student body that is growing in quality and quantity with amazing student leadership.
  • We have a world-class medical center making a difference every day through their programs of clinical care, research, and education.
  • We have a very strong program in athletics with superior leadership.
  • And we have alumni and donors supporting us in unprecedented ways.

Ole Miss is in a great position and will continue to do well.

And so will Lydia and I. As we finish our work here, we will begin exploring what God has next in store for us. So far in our lives, He has provided some pretty unusual and amazing opportunities. We look forward to the next chapter. Wherever we land, we will always be proud Ole Miss Rebels.

Dan Jones



  1. Sounds like a power conflict! I am very sorry you have to stop serving as our chancellor. Your letter is very diplomatic, and I applaud you for that, but sometimes there is very little satisfaction to be gained in diplomacy. Shouldn’t the student body and alumni have a say in who is our leader?

  2. Chancellor Jones:

    Thank you for your great contributions and continuing service to The University. You will be sorely missed and you leave a great legacy that continues to evolve this great institution of higher learning.

    We wish you great success in all your future endeavors.

    Best, Aye

    Ned Buxton
    Ole Miss ’66

  3. Chancellor Jones
    As a parent of a forensic chem sophomore, I am a step behind the activity on campus. However, it is apparent to all that Ole Miss is a special place. Academics, history, camaraderie, athletics, arts, social, all thrive and buzz in a quaint little town in northern Mississippi. And circle the world with a reputation that stands second to no one. We picked Ole Miss, but it picked us too. You have been an exceptional part of that. Thank you for your leadership. It can be lonely at the top, but you have served well. I am continually amazed at the folks who make up Rebel Nation. Staff, faculty, students, alum and community are all synched together. We lead the nation in ways no other institution can. Excellence is job one in every way. Thank you for your contribution to that, and for your confidence that God has another page waiting for you. All the best in the future.

    Fins up!

    Bob Ruzicka

    Sugar Land, Texas

  4. Dr. Jones,

    I have read your letter announcing what has happened, as well as the comments above and I want to add my voice to the many who want to commend you for the outstanding service you have shown to the University of Mississippi these past six years. Though I have not lived in Oxford in many years I still follow the news in the media concerning my alma mater, and must say that you are without a doubt one of the few visionaries the school has ever been blessed with and that they are losing the finest of gentleman when your contract ends in September. I do hope severely that you can be satisfied with the knowledge of a job well done once you leave those hallowed halls of learning, but that you will always be a part of this larger family no matter where your next chapter begins. May God bless you Dr. Jones, for your honesty, courage and compassion when it would have been easier to do otherwise.

    Sincerely Yours,
    J. Andrew Moreau
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Class of 1997

  5. thank you for what you have been able to do for OleMiss. We are proud of our school and sorry that politecs interfear with howit is run. We are sure that your life is sataaisfied that you havedone all you could do for Ole Miss. Thank you again…Mary Ann Primos, Class of 19948.

  6. Thank you for what you have been able to do for Ole Miss. We are proud of our school and sorry that politics interfere with how it is run. We are sure that you are sataisfied that you have done all you could do for Ole Miss. Thank you again…Mary Ann Primos, Class of 1948.

  7. I am retired from Mississippi Stae University where I spent 32 years. During that time I have witnessed a very positive transformation in Ole Miss and Oxford. You should be very proud of your contributions and leadership to a great institution! I wish you the best in your future and may God bless your health and recovery! Dr. Neil Amos , Starkville

  8. Chancellor Jones, I want to thank you for your service to Ole Miss. I know there are many others of us who are sad to see you leave. There’s something fishy about this. Thank’s again, and may God bless you and your family.

  9. Chancellor Jones, I want to thank you for your service to Ole Miss. I know there are many others of us who are sad to see you leave. There’s something fishy about this. Thank’s again, and may God bless you and your family.

  10. Chancellor Jones, Thanks for your service to the University of Mississippi. Every one is thankful for your health and recovery, and wish you continued success. Ole Miss is a better place for you having been here.

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