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The Morris W. H. (Bill) Collins Speaker Series

Photo of Robert H. Foglesong

September 7, 2006     Video

Robert H. Foglesong is the 18th president of Mississippi State University, a land-grant university committed to excellence in learning, research, and service. His vision is for MSU to become the most respected land-grant school in the Southeast. As president, he is responsible for planning, budgeting, and execution for the largest university in the state of Mississippi. He is also the president and executive director of the Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation, a nonprofit operating to identify our next generation of leaders in Appalachia and mentor/financially support their journey toward academic, leadership, and character excellence. He's a director of Massey Energy, one of the largest producers of coal in the nation, and a director of the Michael Baker Corp., an international energy and engineering firm. He also has been designated by President George W. Bush to co-chair the United States-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs.

Previously, he was nominated by the President, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and served as a four-star general in the United States Air Force. He had responsibility for policy recommendations and implementation of policy relative to personnel, operations, infrastructure, and intra/inter governmental affairs for an organization of 358,000 uniformed members and 158,000 civilian employees. He was responsible for planning/programming for future strategies involving an annual budget of $90 billion (equivalent to the position of chief operating officer for a company ranked No. 9 on the Fortune 500 list). His jobs required almost daily interface with members of Congress, the White House, and many governmental interagency offices.

In previous positions, Foglesong had CEO responsibilities for field units with budgets up to $3 billion per year (110th and 430th on the Fortune 500 list). These organizations included up to 87,000 personnel and dependents and were often geographically separated from corporate headquarters. Most involved mission-oriented operations and included responsibilities for housing, medical services, personnel force development, equal-opportunity programs, training, education, and other services for skilled technical and line employees.