TUPELO - Former University of Mississippi Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter is among four finalists selected to interview for the presidency of the University of South Florida.

A search committee at that university - based in Tampa, Florida - named four finalists on Monday, with interviews beginning Wednesday and continuing for several days.

These finalists were selected from 33 applicants, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Vitter served as chancellor as the University of Mississippi from January 2016 until January 2019. He vacated that post by resignation and has continued since at the university as a professor of computer science.

Announced last November, Vitter’s resignation at the University of Mississippi followed months of speculation that the state’s college board would fire him or would not renew his contract when it came up for renewal.

The Institutions of Higher Learning governing board never confirmed this speculation.

Vitter’s competitors for the Florida job are Wanda Blanchett, interim provost and executive vice chancellor of academic affairs at Rutgers University-New Brunswick; Steven Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas; and Debasish “Deba” Dutta, who was the chancellor at Rutgers University-New Brunswick from 2017 to 2018.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Dutta also resigned his recent chancellor post following management disagreements.

Before his came to Oxford, Vitter was provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas.

He has also held administrative positions at the Texas A&M University and Purdue University.

The University of South Florida publicly released the resumes of all named finalists. In his resume, Vitter touts a number of accomplishments during his tenure at the University of Mississippi, including fundraising, “restructuring of athletics compliance” and strategic planning for the future.

Vitter also describes his efforts to lead “a highly-regarded process to contextualize sites and southern symbols on campus, so as to acknowledge the problems of the past, learn from them, and create a welcoming and inclusive environment.”

The University of Mississippi remains in the midst of its own search for a new chancellor. Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Larry Sparks continues to fill the post on an interim basis.

Twitter: @CalebBedillion

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