Mississippi’s College Board is looking for a new boss to oversee the state’s eight public universities.

Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds, commissioner in his native Mississippi since 2009, was announced Monday as the new president of the University of Nebraska.

Board President Aubrey Patterson of Tupelo declined immediate comment.

Bounds is scheduled to start work in Nebraska in April. It’s unclear whether the Mississippi board will name an interim commissioner. Board members are scheduled to meet Jan. 22 and could discuss the subject then.

College Board trustee Ed Blakeslee of Gulfport said becoming president of a university and not just the head of a system was a natural step.

“I think five or six years is about a lifetime for this job,” Blakeslee said. “It’s a tough job and I think the next step in his career was to be president of a university. He’s been a tremendous commissioner and we’re going to really miss him.”

Blakeslee said the board didn’t counter Nebraska’s offer, including a $480,000-a-year salary. Mississippi’s board gave Bounds a 5 percent raise starting Oct. 1, increasing his salary above $358,300 a year.

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