Longtime Southwest Mississippi educator Edney dies

Published 12:34 am Monday, August 28, 2017

NATCHEZ — Southwest Mississippi lost one of its most prolific educational leaders Saturday.

Norris Allen Edney Sr. died Saturday at his Natchez residence.

In addition to decades of service to Alcorn State Unvirsity in a myriad of capacities — twice leading the university in an interim president role —  Edney served for nearly a decade on the Natchez-Adams School Board, including a stint as its president.

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Edney served as interim Alcorn president from February 2010 to January 2011 and acting president from December 2013 to March 2014, guiding the university through two presidential transitions. In 2010, Edney helped steer the university through re-accreditation in 2010.

“We are shocked and saddened to hear the news about one of the most respected and long-serving educators in Alcorn’s 146-year history,” Alcorn State President Alfred Rankins Jr. said.  “Alcorn has lost a treasured former longtime professor, university leader and dear mentor and friend. We ask the university family to please keep Dr. Edney’s wife, Lillian, their children and families in your thoughts and prayers.”

He started his career at Alcorn State as a biology instructor in 1963.  He worked his way up to various leadership positions including chairman of the Department of Biology, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, dean of Graduate Studies, and interim dean of the School of Nursing.

He also served as president of the Southwestern Athletic Conference from 1979-1984.

Edney was appointed to the Natchez-Adams School Board in 2000, months after he retired from Alcorn as dean. He served on the board, including a stint as its president, until early 2010 when he was asked to be interim president at Alcorn.

Edney was a 1955 graduate of Natchez Junior College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tougaloo College, a master’s degree in biology from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Colo., and a doctorate degree in conservation from Michigan State University.

Edney and his wife of more than 50 years, Lillian, had four children.