CONTACT: Office of the Governor
Pete Smith (601) 359-3150 or (601) 720-8733
Kathryn Stewart (601) 359-3150

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


(Jackson, Miss.) – Governor Haley Barbour today announced his four appointees to the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, the constitutional governing body of Mississippi’s universities. The four new additions to the 12-member board are Ms. Robin Robinson, Mr. Bob Owens, Mr. Ed Blakeslee, and Mr. Aubrey Patterson. They will all serve an 11-year term and are chosen geographically from the state’s three Supreme Court Districts.

“I am very proud of these four appointments,” said Governor Barbour. “All of them are of high caliber and integrity; they all bring valuable experience to the table.”

Ms. Robin Robinson, of Laurel, is the Director of Organization Development and Corporate Communication at Sanderson Farms, Inc. Ms. Robinson is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and is from the Southern Supreme Court District. She serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Alumni Association International, and in 2002 she was inducted into The University of Southern Mississippi’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

Mr. Bob Owens, of Jackson, owns the Law Firm of Bob Owens, PLLC and is past president of the Magnolia Bar Association. In 1993, he received the NAACP of Mississippi’s Lawyer of the Year Award. Mr. Owens attended Jackson State University and is Governor Barbour’s pick from the Central Supreme Court District.

Mr. Ed Blakeslee, of Gulfport, is former Vice President of Mississippi Power Company, and achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army. Mr. Blakeslee attended Mississippi State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. He is also from the Southern Supreme Court District.

Mr. Aubrey Patterson, of Tupelo, is Chairman and CEO of BancorpSouth, Inc. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and is from the Northern Supreme Court District. Mr. Patterson is a member of the Executive Board of Mississippi’s Public Education Forum and past Chairman of the University of Mississippi’s Foundation as well as a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He is past president of the Mississippi Bankers Association and immediate past chairman of the American Bankers Association.

“During my campaign, I promised that I would appoint people with ties to our four comprehensive universities. We did that, but we also appointed people who are great representatives of Mississippi,” said Governor Barbour.

According to a constitutional amendment approved by voters last year, appointments by the Governor after January 1, 2004, are made from each of the three Mississippi Supreme Court Districts. The district with the smallest number of board members receives multiple appointments until the entire membership includes four members who are residents of each of these three districts. This year, the Southern District was due to receive two appointments. The resolution also provides that all members will eventually have nine-year terms. Appointments are made every 4 years.


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741