Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum has been elected to a two-year term as president of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) by his fellow presidents/chancellors at the SEC’s summer meeting in Destin, Florida.
Born in Starkville, Keenum grew up in Corinth and graduated from Corinth High School.
Keenum succeeds Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos.
“I am honored to be chosen to lead and to help direct policy in the most prestigious athletic conference in the nation,” said Keenum. “I appreciate the support of my colleagues in the conference during this exciting time in the history of the SEC. Because of my deep respect for the late Dr. Donald Zacharias, it is very meaningful to me to be the first MSU president to lead the SEC since his exemplary service in that same post more than 25 years ago.”
As SEC president, Keenum will head the seven-member executive committee. The panel is empowered under conference by-laws to hear and decide appeals of disciplinary/enforcement matters, fill conference vacancies, and approve or ratify conference contracts or agreements. The committee also approves the conference’s operating budget and has oversight of fiscal affairs.
In 2015, Keenum served a one-year term as the league’s vice president, succeeding the now retired former University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart. As vice president, Keenum served as liaison to SEC-U, the conference’s academic arm, where he worked to promote the academic achievements of students, faculty and staff members throughout the 14-member conference. He also will continue to serve on the SEC Network Content Committee.
In 2015, Keenum was appointed as the SEC’s representative to the College Football Playoff’s (CFP) Board of Managers. The CFP Board of Managers is the governing board of CFP Administration, LLC, and the company that manages the administrative operations of the College Football Playoff. Members of the company are the 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences (American Athletic, Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Pac-12, Southeastern and Sun Belt) and the University of Notre Dame.
Keenum has served as president of Mississippi State University since 2009.