STARKVILLE, Miss.– Philadelphia native Sidney L. “Sid” Salter is being named Mississippi State University’s new director of the Office of University Relations.
Salter brings more than 37 years of experience in journalism and media management to the task in addition to significant experience in marketing, public affairs and corporate governance. After serving as MSU’s journalist-in-residence at the MSU Libraries since March 2011, Salter begins his new duties Oct. 16.
During his time at MSU under the direction of Dean of Libraries Frances Coleman, Salter wrote a successful biography honoring longtime MSU radio broadcaster Jack Cristil, taught courses in the Political Science and Communication departments, and has represented MSU on the board of directors of the University Press of Mississippi.
As director of the Office of University Relations, Salter will serve as the university’s chief spokesman and marketing officer. The office also oversees university marketing, branding, news gathering and production, publications, photography, electronic communications and new media strategies. He will also direct the campus radio station WMSV.
“Sid is held in high regard across Mississippi, and he will bring a new level of visibility to the university in this role,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “He understands and values our university’s historic land grant mission. Sid’s deep love of this university is obvious and he backs up that passion with creativity and hard work.”
Salter will continue the journalist-in-residence projects he’s undertaken for the MSU Libraries and continue to be active in the expansion and development of the Special Collections division under Dean Coleman’s guidance.
Salter’s career in journalism began in 1973 at the age of 14 at Philadelphia radio station WHOC-AM. He worked his way through high school and college as an announcer at the 1,000-watt station. During his college years, he was an opinion writer for the MSU Reflector student newspaper and later was a sportswriter for the Starkville Daily News.
Salter was a John C. Stennis Scholar in Political Science at MSU. At age 24, he became publisher and editor of the Scott County Times in Forest. He continued in that role for many years before leaving to become the “Perspective” section editor at the Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson in 2001. He was honored in 2004 as MSU’s National Alumnus of the Year.
Since 1983, Salter’s syndicated columns on Mississippi politics has been a staple of Mississippi daily and weekly newspaper and earned him praise from the Washington Post as “one of the nation’s best state political reporters.”
Over his distinguished career, Salter also held the Kelly Gene Cook Chair in Journalism at the University of Mississippi during the 1996-97 year, served as a statewide radio talk show host, and was a two-time winner of the J. Oliver Emmerich Award, the premier honor given annually by the Mississippi Press Association. He is a member of the MPA Hall of Fame.
Salter served as a capitol commentator for WTOK-TV in Meridian for a decade and has been a guest commentator for gubernatorial inaugurals and “State of the State” addresses for Mississippi Public Broadcasting TV and radio broadcasts for more than 25 years. He has appeared on every major national television and cable news network, including the recent ESPN “30 for 30” series documentary that focused on Mississippi native athlete Marcus Dupree.
Since 1998, Salter has served on the board of directors of Community Bancshares of Mississippi, a multi-bank holding company doing business in Ala., Fla., Miss., and Tenn. as Community Bank. During the early 1990s, he served as a marketing consultant for the banking group.
A past president of the MPA, the Forest Area Chamber of Commerce and the Forest Rotary Club, Salter has served on the boards of directors of the MSU Alumni Association, the Miss. Economic Council, the Miss. Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Forest Community Arts and the Andrew Jackson Council BSA. He currently serves on the advisory board of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at MSU.
Salter and his wife, Leilani, are the parents of four grown children and have four grandchildren. They are members of First United Methodist Church in Starkville and the Oktoc Community Club.