Longtime academician Dr. Ivory V. Nelson, a three-time university president and one-time community college chancellor, has assumed the role of interim provost at Jackson State University.

The native of Shreveport, Louisiana, had retired to his Houston home in December 2011. He returned to the college scene at the behest of his protégé, new JSU President William B. Bynum Jr., who took the helm of the HBCU on July 1.

In 2000, Nelson, then the 12th president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania (1999-2011), hired Bynum as his vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. “He worked for me for nine years. We’ve had a great relationship over time,” said Nelson, 83.“He’s the only one who could get me out of retirement to do this,” said Nelson, speaking admirably of Bynum. “I’m here to help with the current transition and assist in the search for a permanent provost. I will support the president in this academic endeavor wherever I can use my expertise and knowledge.”

He describes JSU as a phenomenal institution in terms of academic programs and prowess. He said he’s had two previous relationships with the nation’s current fourth-largest HBCU. Nelson was part of a review team for JSU’s re-accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in the 1970s and was among finalists for the presidency when Dr. James Hefner was ultimately selected in 1984.

At Lincoln, he displayed an extraordinary ability to turn the nation’s first degree-granting HBCU into a powerhouse institution after once being on the brink of collapse. During his tenure, he developed a five-year strategic plan for financing and phased construction that resulted in the elimination of operating deficits and repayment of outstanding loans and debts.