David L. Beckley, the longest tenured senior college President in Mississippi, was appointed president of Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi on January 16, 1993 and assumed the position on July 1, 1993. Before assuming the position as 11th president of Rust College, he served as 12th president of Wiley College in Marshall, TX (1987-1993).
Under his leadership at Wiley College, the College improved its management, retired outstanding building bonds and federal loans, and renovated campus facilities. In addition, the endowment fund increased, accumulated fund deficits of $1.5 million were retired, and the percentage of terminal faculty degrees increased from 42 percent in 1987 to more than 50 percent in 1992.
Since returning to Mississippi, he has been elected Chair of the Mississippi Association of Independent Colleges, President of the Mississippi Association of Colleges, member of NCAA Division III Presidents Council, President of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church (NASCUMC), Chair of the Member Presidents of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) 2000-02, Board of Directors of the Methodist Health Systems, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee, and the University Senate of the United Methodist Church where he chaired the Black College Council, SERVE Board, Yocona Area Council Boy Scouts of America, Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare Foundation (1999-2000), Black Methodists for Church Renewal, United Methodist Senior Services of Mississippi, Inc. (1999-2008), the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (2002-2008), the CREATE Board, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, Mississippi Access for Justice Commission, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Commission, and Batesville Job Corp Board of Directors. He is a member of Asbury United Methodist Church, Phi Delta Kappa Educational Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi Professional Men’s Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi National Fraternity, Inc., and a 33° Mason.
A 1967 graduate of Rust College, Dr. Beckley became the third alumnus to serve his alma mater as president. In addition to the Rust College Bachelor’s Degree, Beckley holds both the M.Ed. and Ph.D. degrees in Higher Education Administration from the University of Mississippi.
Since accepting the presidency of Rust College, the College’s endowment fund has grown from $13 million to $23 million, reaffirmation of regional accreditation with Specialty Accreditation received from the Department of Social Work by the Council on Social Work Education. The College celebrated the 43rd consecutive year of a balanced budget with the close of the 2010-2011 fiscal year in June of 2011.
Among his recent awards are the Silver Beaver Award, Boy Scouts of America; Outstanding Education Alumni Award, University of Mississippi; Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education; Citizen of the Year, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; Service Award, NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association); 2010 Man of Excellence Award presented by the Tri-State Defender Newspaper of Memphis, TN, and President of the Year, National Association of African American Honors Programs.
He and his wife, the former Gemma Doulgas, have two daughters, Jacqueline B. Abdulah, a public school teacher in Birmingham, Alabama, and Lisa B. Roberts, an associate professor at Tallahassee Community College and operator of a music school specializing in Harp; one granddaughter, Christian Samone Lampley; and a grandson, David A. Roberts.