Mississippi Delta Community College President Larry Nabors has rescinded his resignation and has postponed his retirement.
The MDCC Board voted unanimously during a special call meeting on Friday to accept Nabors’ offer and suspend its current search for a new president that had been ongoing since he announced retirement plans this fall.
Watch video footage of the MDCC fire here
Nabors’ decision comes after MDCC’s administration building suffered a fire apparently at the hands of an arsonist during the morning hours of Dec. 14. He is postponing retirement in order to help the college through the process that will follow, whether that will involve a renovation of the administration building or the construction of a new facility altogether.
“One of the things my parents taught me was to always leave a situation better than you found it,” Nabors said during the meeting. “I don’t think this is a good time to bring in a new president. With the fire, this will drag out for longer than six months I’m sure…I don’t want to leave the college in a bad situation.”
MDCC Board President Paula Sykes said the search will likely reopen next fall.
After the December fire that ripped through the Stauffer-Wood Administration Building, video footage that captured the event shows a single person entering the building and setting fire to multiple portions of the building.
Several thousand dollars worth of equipment also appears to be missing, MDCC Associate Vice President for College Advancement and Public Relations Reed Abraham said, and a school van was also stolen and driven a half mile down the road and set on fire.
Nabors said during Friday's meeting that the van was a total loss, but the school is still waiting on the first reports from the insurance company regarding the extent of damage done to the administration building.
Currently there is a $5,000 reward offer from the state fire marshal's office, but the board was also informed on Friday that reward could significantly increase when the fire is officially ruled to be the result of arson. That would be due to the insurance company adding a larger reward to the existing offer.
Sykes said the board is looking forward to working with Nabors as president of the college.
“The board deeply appreciates President Nabors’ willingness to extend his service to the college to address our recent destruction to the administration building,” Sykes said in a statement. “We expect to reopen our search in the fall of 2018.”
During Friday’s meeting, Sykes pointed out the sacrifice Nabors is making, in both retirement years and in taking advantage of the state retirement system.
“I think it is outstanding. It is outstanding,” she said. “For those of you who enjoy the state retirement system, you will understand what a financial sacrifice this is. It’s going to take big shoulders to carry us through what I anticipate us going through.”
During Nabors' tenure, he has led many initiatives, including the construction of the 11,600-square-foot student union building on campus.
The board approved the motion to allow Nabors to stay on with an applause.