The LSU Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the appointment of F. King Alexander as President of the LSU System and Chancellor of LSU A&M, with the understanding that these two positions will be combined under the title of President of LSU upon compliance with accreditation standards. Alexander, currently president of California State University Long Beach, had been recommended by the LSU Presidential Search Committee as the committee's consensus candidate during the March 18 Board meeting.
"This is indeed a wonderful honor, and I'd like to thank our board members; I'd like to thank the faculty and staff of this great university and the people of the state of Louisiana because ultimately the true beneficiaries of a great LSU will be the people and citizens of the state of Louisiana," Alexander said. "I am pleased and humbled by your faith in me and your confidence in me, and I look forward to working with you closely to build these bonds, to build these bridges and to build LSU to its best capability possible but also to benefit every single citizens that's in this state, every person that lives within the state of Louisiana."
Alexander has served as president of Cal State Long Beach since late 2005.
"My tenure as president of Cal State Long Beach has prepared me to assume the role as the head of the Louisiana State University system," Alexander said. "The challenges facing LSU are similar to those in California and elsewhere. Universities throughout the nation are struggling to serve more students while managing declining state revenues. At the same time, leaders in the field of higher education know the burden is on us to demonstrate that the public's money is well spent.
"We also know," he added, "it's time to begin the process of modernizing our institutions so we may accommodate the next generation of tech savvy students who are in the elementary and secondary pipeline and soon will be seeking college degrees."
Alexander visited LSU on March 21 and 22 to interact with students, faculty and staff and to meet with key groups. During the visit, Alexander held three public forums with LSU faculty, staff and students. For more on the forums, see http://www.lsu.edu/departments/gold/2013/03/alexander_forums.shtml.
"The feedback that we have received from those meetings has been very, very positive, and there's much excitement about our candidate," said Blake Chatelain, chair of the Presidential Search Committee. "The committee feels that Dr. Alexander has a deep understanding of higher education. He appreciates its history but he also has a firm grasp of the future, and we believe that he stands ready to lead LSU into that future."
Alexander plans to begin at LSU in July. He is replacing William Jenkins, who came out of retirement to serve as interim LSU System President and interim LSU Chancellor.
"I am very pleased with the selection; I think he's going to be a wonderful president for LSU," Jenkins said. "Alexander's a rising star in higher education in the U.S., and we're very fortunate to get him now."
Alexander said that he sees the LSU President position as a long-term opportunity and plans to be at LSU as long as the Board of Supervisors would like for him to be.
Prior to becoming president at CSU Long Beach in 2006, Alexander was the president of Murray State University from 2001 to 2006. He received his Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis in 1996 from the University of Wisconsin, his Master of Science in educational studies/comparative educational policy in 1991 from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor of Arts in 1987 in political science from St. Lawrence University.
Under his leadership, CSU Long Beach improved graduation rates to their highest levels in school history; enhanced the number of graduates to their highest levels, totaling approximately 9,000 degrees per year; and obtained capital funding and constructed a new $110 million Hall of Science, a $70 million Student Recreation and Wellness Center and a new School of Nursing facility during an economic recession.
Alexander significantly increased CSU Long Beach's research and external funding capacity and support. He oversaw a reorganization of CSU Long Beach's institutional advancement and public relations office, and the university's private philanthropic giving has set institutional records and currently is in the midst of a first "Capital Campaign," where more than $200 million has already been raised, resulting in a doubling of the university's endowment.
During this same time, he maintained and modified budgeting processes to accommodate an $85 million reduction in state appropriation during the economic recession. Alexander was twice voted "President of the Year" by the California State University Student Association, representing 23 student governments and 435,000 students throughout California.
In addition to serving as president at CSU Long Beach and Murray State, Alexander has held positions at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana; University of Wisconsin, Madison; and University of North Carolina at Greensboro.