Management change accepted at Delta State College

JACKSON, Miss (AP) — William LaForge, who has served because the president of Delta State…

JACKSON, Miss (AP) — William LaForge, who has served because the president of Delta State College since 2013, will depart on the finish of June. The Mississippi Establishments of Larger Studying board, which governs the state’s eight public universities, accepted the management change at a gathering final week in Jackson.

However LaForge mentioned he did not study of the change till a number of days later. In an e-mail message to all the campus Tuesday, LaForge wrote that he did not study of the transfer till Monday — simply earlier than the board revealed a information launch saying its choice.

Starting July 1, Butch Caston will start serving as interim president.

“The very primary rationalization I used to be offered was that the IHL Board thinks a management change is warranted as a result of the comparative state of the college from the time after I started my service in 2013 till now isn’t favorable — particularly with respect to enrollment metrics and monetary sustainability,” LaForge wrote.

Delta State’s pupil enrollment declined by simply over 9% between 2020 and 2021. Between fall 2019 and fall 2021, enrollment declined by 27% — probably the most drastic change of any public college within the state. In 2019, 3,761 college students enrolled. That fell to 2,727 college students in 2021.

LaForge’s wage is $265,001. Of the entire, $215,000 is supplied with state funds and $50,001 is offered by the college’s basis, in line with an IHL spokesperson.

LaForge has a lifelong connection to Delta State as a professor’s youngster. He attended Delta State and was pupil physique president.

“We want him properly as he appears ahead to new challenges and alternatives,” IHL board president Tom Duff mentioned in Monday’s information launch saying the management change.

LaForge wasn’t the one one caught some off guard by the IHL’s choice.

“I used to be shocked and stunned to see this occur,” Doug Pinkerton, a just lately retired Delta State recreation director, informed The Related Press on Tuesday. “Nobody I talked to noticed this coming.”

Caston assumes the place after serving because the college’s interim vp of pupil affairs and interim provost and vp for tutorial affairs. He holds a grasp’s diploma in steerage and counseling from Delta State and a doctorate from the College of Southern Mississippi.

Caston will likely be tasked with addressing a number of points dealing with Delta State, together with declining enrollment, fiscal challenges and infrastructure, Duff mentioned. In his e-mail message, LaForge wrote that Caston has his “full assist and confidence.”

LaForge is a local of Cleveland, Mississippi, the place Delta State is positioned. He had a 36-year profession in Washington earlier than his appointment to the Delta State presidency. On Capitol Hill, he rose to grow to be chief of workers to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi. LaForge’s authorities profession included a stint as chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. He additionally labored within the non-public sector as an legal professional and lobbyist.

LaForge and his spouse, Nancy, plan to return to their dwelling in Northern Virginia. “I’m very disenchanted within the choice, however I settle for the result and am totally ready to maneuver on,” he wrote.

Details about the seek for a everlasting president will likely be launched later, the IHL mentioned within the information launch.


Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points. Observe him on Twitter at