Presley Retiring After 20 Years as Community College President

CLARKSDALE, Miss.  — Dr. Vivian Mathews Presley, president of Coahoma Community College for more than two decades, and the first woman to head a community or junior college in the state of Mississippi, will retire June 30.

Johnny McGlown, chairman of the board of trustees, says a search committee has been organized to name her successor. He says the application deadline is Feb. 22.

Presley was named president of Coahoma and superintendent of Coahoma Agricultural High School in Jan. 6, 1992. She had worked as a counselor, vice president for institutional advancement and executive vice president at the school.

The HBCU was started as Coahoma County Agricultural High School in 1924 and added a junior college curriculum in 1949 along with a change of name to Coahoma Junior College and Agricultural High School. In 1950, Coahoma junior College became the first educational institution for Blacks to be included in the state’s system of public junior colleges and eligible for funds appropriated by the Mississippi Legislature.

In 1965, Coahoma Junior College opened its doors to students of all races and ethnicity. It became Coahoma Community College in 1989.  

The college has experienced a 200 percent increase in enrollment since the fall of 1992 and more than $26 million in facility renovations and new construction. The administration building is named in Presley’s honor.