New hire brings 23 years of administrative, faculty experience
Rick R. Gregory, former president and dean of the International College of Lijiang College of Guangxi Normal University in Guilin, China, is the new executive director of the University of Mississippi at DeSoto in Southaven.
Gregory’s appointment has been approved by the Board of Trustees of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, and he assumes his duties July 1.
“It is my privilege to have the opportunity to join the excellent staff and faculty serving at the University of Mississippi-DeSoto,” Gregory said. “During the interview process, I was most impressed with the commitment of Ole Miss toward the regional centers. I was also impressed by the communities these regional centers serve. I am looking forward to being part of these communities as we partner together in moving Mississippi and the Mid-South forward.”
Before joining UM, Gregory served in several leadership roles of a university, both in the academic and nonacademic arenas. He taught at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels, creating programs at each. Founding dean of the Cook Graduate School of Leadership at Dallas Baptist University, Gregory has been vice president in student affairs, executive vice president and a vice president responsible for global initiatives and partnerships.
“We are excited to have Dr. Rick Gregory coming to the university,” said Lynne Murchison, director of credit programs for UM’s Division of Outreach and Continuing Education. “He brings to us a varied experience at all levels and talents that we believe will help us to continue growth at the DeSoto campus.
“We were impressed with his professionalism, insights and warm personality and believe he will continue the heritage of excellent leadership we have had at UM-DeSoto and can take us to the next level of growth and development.”
As executive director, Gregory is responsible for oversight of all operations, including recruiting, admissions, financial aid, advising, class schedules and discipline. He will supervise a staff of nearly 20 employees and assist 45 to 50 faculty members who teach there. Gregory also is the financial officer for the center.
With many years of administrative and faculty experience in higher education in the U.S., Gregory also has expanded his leadership skills around the globe.
“I began to work with universities and colleges in South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, China, Thailand and Brazil,” he said. “Most of my work was in East Asia, although I did supervise staff that worked in other parts of Asia and South America.”
While Gregory found living and working in China a rewarding experience, he sought to return to the U.S. after his family expressed their desire for him and his wife to do so.
“Our oldest son has a company in Jackson and our daughter-in-law is an attorney there,” Gregory said. “Our daughter works at the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus, and our youngest son is a sophomore there. So we started searching for opportunities in Mississippi with the goal of being closer to our family.”
Gregory graduated from Howard Payne University, Sam Houston State University and the University of Houston. He previously worked at DBU as vice president, dean and professor of leadership in DBU’s Gary Cook Graduate School of Leadership and vice president for executive and student affairs. Gregory also served as president of HPU.
He and his wife, the former Judy Barnes, have three children: Josh, Tiffany and Zach, and one daughter-in-law, Rebekah. — Edwin Smith, Ole Miss News Desk