Dr. William B. Bynum Jr.,a higher education professional with more than 27 years of experience, was unanimously selected to be the 11th president of Jackson State University by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board on May 31, 2017. Before joining the Jackson State University family, Bynum served four years as president of Mississippi Valley State University.
A native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Bynum earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Davidson College while on a student-athlete scholarship. While at Davidson, he also minored in education and passed the National Teachers Examination. He was subsequently licensed and certified to teach social studies and math in North Carolina and Georgia. Bynum went on to earn his master’s and Ph.D. in sociology from Duke University while serving as a Duke Endowment Fellow. Bynum was also a member of the inaugural class of the National Association For Equal Opportunity-Kellogg Leadership Fellows Program, a year-long program specifically designed to train the next generation of presidents and chancellors for minority-serving institutions, which was led by then President Dr. Frederick Humphries, Chairman Dr. Joe Johnson, and Executive Director Dr. Arthur Thomas. As part of the program, Bynum “shadowed” Dr. Harold Martin, then Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University and now Chancellor of North Carolina A&T State University.
Prior to his appointment at MVSU, Bynum served as the vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Services at Morehouse College (2009-2013), where he was mentored by Morehouse’s 10th president Dr. Robert Michael Franklin. While serving at Morehouse, Bynum significantly enhanced student-administration relations and improved the efficiency and effectiveness of student services. He also started, envisioned and led the initiative which established the Parents Council and implemented the nationally acclaimed Morehouse “Appropriate Attire Policy.”
Before joining the administrative leadership team at Morehouse, Bynum served as the vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management (2000-2009) at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. During his nine years of service, he was successful in nearly doubling Lincoln’s enrollment and recruited the four largest new student classes (900+) in the University’s 150-year history. Bynum also led the board approved Student Enhancement Initiative, which entailed elevating Lincoln from NCAA Division III to NCAA Division II athletics, reactivated Lincoln’s membership in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference, returned football to the campus after a 40-year absence and started the University’s first marching band program, “The Orange Crush.” At Lincoln, Bynum was mentored by Dr. Ivory Nelson, the University’s 12th president, who garnered over $200 million in capital construction to transform the campus’ physical plant.
Before LU, Bynum served as the associate vice president and dean of students at Clark Atlanta University (1993-2000), and he was the second person in the division that recruited the four largest classes (1500+) in the then 125-year history of CAU. While at CAU, Bynum was mentored by and developed strong strategic planning and assessment skills from Dr. Doris Walker Weathers. During his CAU days, Bynum was nicknamed “Bye Bye Bynum” for his no-nonsense approach to judicial affairs and enhancing the campus culture and environment.
In addition to his enrollment management and student affairs work, Bynum has lectured and/or taught as well. He served as the Covington Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Davidson, and at Morehouse he was an adjunct professor in the leadership studies program and Department of Sociology. Bynum’s other professional experience includes research and teaching positions at Georgia Institute of Technology, Duke University and Durham and Edgecombe Community Colleges. He started his educational career as a teacher, football and wrestling coach in the Rocky Mount City School System (1984-87) and the DeKalb County Georgia School System (1987-88). Bynum has represented his institutions in numerous external programs and at professional conferences, while serving as a presenter or moderator. He has authored refereed articles in professional journals and presented papers with academic and social themes. Trained as a quantitative sociologist, Bynum remains active in research and teaching. His research and teaching interests center on: (1) Black Church Studies, (2) Race, Gender and Ethnicity and (3) Organizations, Markets and Work.
His publications include a co-authored article with Duke University colleagues in the sociology journal “Social Forces” entitled “Race and Formal Volunteering.” A chapter entitled “The Black Church in America: Demography and Current Trends” in the book “Exploring the African American Experience” (3rd edition). And a short story entitled “For the Love of J-Ski” in the NASPA produced book “Stories of Inspiration: Lessons and Laughter in Student Affairs.” Bynum is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Chi Alpha Epsilon, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and is a Mason.
A God-loving, God-fearing man, he is married to Deborah Elaine Bynum, a manager and 38-year employee with AT&T. They are the proud parents of six children – Tyrone (a student at Columbia University); Tyler (a student-athlete graduate of Truett-McConnell College); Chelsea (a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and an Army reservist); Zack (a graduate of Morehouse College and master’s graduate of Georgia Tech); Jordan and Jazz (a junior at Georgia State University).
Bynum’s personal and professional motto is: “Look back and thank God. Look forward and trust God. Look around and serve God. Look within and find God.”