Louisiana State University chose its new leader Thursday, naming William Tate as the university system’s first Black president, reports the Associated Press.
Tate, provost at the University of South Carolina, was the unanimous pick of the LSU Board of Supervisors after public in-person interviews with three finalists and 90 minutes of closed-door debate among board members. He’ll start the job as LSU president — overseeing multiple campuses and serving as chancellor of the flagship campus in Baton Rouge — in July.
“We set about to find a great leader, and we found one,” said Robert Dampf, chairman of the LSU board.
In addition to becoming LSU’s first Black president, Tate will be the first African American university president in the Southeastern Conference, Gov. John Bel Edwards said. The Democratic governor, whose appointees fill the LSU board, issued a statement congratulating Tate and saying he’s confident Tate “is the right person to lead LSU.”
“He has expressed a desire to ensure that more students have the opportunity for higher education at the schools in LSU’s system, including more minority students, those from rural areas, and those who face financial challenges. He will also be charged with attracting first-class researchers and research funding to our state as we seek to continue and expand LSU’s role as a national leader in innovation and discovery,” Edwards said.
Tate, 56, will take charge of a system in the midst of several controversies, including an independent report that found widespread mishandling of sexual misconduct claims at LSU’s main campus in Baton Rouge and separate allegations of sexual harassment against the leader of LSU’s medical school in Shreveport.