(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University has named a seasoned athletics director and college administrator as its new athletics director.
Vivian Fuller, 56, will take the helm of Jackson State’s athletics program later this summer, just in time for the start of JSU’s celebration of 100 years of football. “I’m excited to be a Tiger,” Fuller said. “Jackson State has such a long and proud tradition; I look forward to honoring that tradition and helping our student athletes be the best they can be.”
JSU President Carolyn Meyers announced Fuller’s appointment on July 20 before a large crowd of JSU fans inside the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center’s Sports Hall of Fame.
“Vivian Fuller’s leadership skills, along with her experience as an athlete, academician, and director of athletics at three institutions, make her the best choice for Jackson State University at this time.” Meyers said. “I’m very confident that she will be able to lead our athletics programs to prominence, ensuring that JSU student-athletes succeed on the field or court as well as in the classroom.” Fuller comes to Jackson State University from Sojourner-Douglass College, where she serves as dean of the college’s Cambridge, Maryland campus. Before joining Sojourner-Douglass in 2003, Fuller spent more than a decade directing the athletics programs at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Tennessee State University and Northeastern Illinois University.
When named AD at Tennessee State in 1997, Fuller became the first African-American woman to lead a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Athletics program with a football team. That team finished its first season under her leadership with a 9-3 record and won the Ohio Valley Conference championship.
Jackson’s State’s new AD is a nationally known expert on academic support programs for student-athletes, academic advising, women in sports and management and gender equity. She has testified before the U.S. Senate in congressional hearings on gender equity and minority participation in sports and has been involved in numerous NCAA committees including the Management Council, the Peer Review Committee, the Initial Eligibility Standards Committee, the Gender Equity Task Force and the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP), for which she served as chairperson.
Fuller began her career in higher education at Bennett College in 1978 as the director of intramurals and instructor of physical education. From 1984-87 she served as assistant director for advisement programs for student-athletes at North Carolina A&T, earning a promotion to assistant director of athletics. In 1987, she became associate director of intercollegiate athletics at Indiana University in Pennsylvania, where she was responsible for internal operations of the program and developing the academic component for student-athletes.
Fuller earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from Fayetteville State University in 1977, a Master’s of Education from the University of Idaho in 1978, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Iowa State University in 1985.