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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mal Williams name interim Pres. of Alcorn

LORMAN — The man named late Sunday to take charge of Alcorn State University in the wake of its president's unexpected death said he'll continue the work of Clinton Bristow Jr.

"I see my role as coming in here and making sure his projects are carried out," said Malvin Williams, a longtime administrator at Alcorn who retired last year.

Williams, 64, was named interim president of Alcorn at an emergency state College Board meeting Sunday night. He is expected to be on the job for several months while the board looks for Bristow's permanent replacement.

Bristow, 57, died while jogging on campus Saturday night. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete. A memorial service is tentatively set for Friday.

Bristow had been president of the southwest Mississippi school of 3,500 students since 1995.

Flags were at half-staff on campus Sunday while students milled around preparing for the first day of school, which is today.

Williams, who still lives just off campus, said he expects his appointment to last six to eight months.

Higher Education Commissioner Thomas Meredith did not say when the search for a permanent president would begin. He said he considered several people for the interim job before settling on Williams. The board backed Meredith's recommendation unanimously.

"I thought we needed to get someone on board as soon as possible," said Meredith, who visited the campus on Sunday.

Sophia Shafal, a clerk at the busy Alcorn Service Station commonly called "Jack's," said she could tell Bristow's death was affecting people, though there weren't a lot of customers talking about it.

"You can tell people are sad and moody. Who knows what tomorrow will bring," she said of the first day of school.

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