Aubrey Keith Lucas (1975-1996)
On July 1, 1975, Dr. Aubrey Keith Lucas became the sixth president of Southern Miss.
Dr. Lucas had a long history at Southern Miss, having served as instructor, director of admissions, registrar and dean of the Graduate School, in addition to holding both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the school.
Among the accomplishments that punctuated the Lucas years were the formation of the Teaching and Learning Resource Center; creation of the Faculty Senate; establishment of the Center for International Education; replacement of the quarter system with the semester system; creation of the Polymer Science Institute; reorganization of the University’s 10 schools into six colleges; formation of the Institute for Learning in Retirement; and affiliation with the new athletic conference, Conference USA.
After 21 years, Dr. Lucas stepped down from the presidency Dec. 31, 1996, saying it was time for someone new.
He subsequently served as interim president between July 2001 and April 2002, bridging the gap between Dr. Horace Weldon Fleming Jr. and Dr. Shelby Freland Thames; and again from July 2012 to March 2013 following Dr. Martha Dunagin Saunders and preceding Dr. Rodney D. Bennett.