Jennings Burton George (1933-1945)

Jennings Burton GeorgeDr. Jennings Burton George, a Mississippi Normal College alumnus, became the school’s third president on July 1, 1933, and the first to hold a doctorate.

The new chief executive inherited a huge debt, which he corrected by setting strict financial guidelines, cutting employees’ salaries and freezing departmental budgets. His efforts not only resulted in a balanced budget, but each year of his administration ended with a small surplus in the treasury.

On Feb. 13, 1940, the school’s name was changed for the second time. Its new name, Mississippi Southern College, reflected the fact that it was no longer exclusively a teachers’ college.

Looking ahead to the end of the World War II, President George established a $35,000 trust fund to provide scholarships for returning veterans. He also proposed graduate work in education, home economics and music.

But in January 1945, before any of his plans were implemented, the Board of Trustees declined to rehire Dr. George, giving no definitive reason for its action.