*The Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors made history in the Southeastern Conference Thursday when it voted to hire Dr. William Tate as the university’s next president. Tate will be the first African American to hold the position at LSU and in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The vote was 15-0.
“This is a very pivotal time at our university, from economic, environmental, social challenges, but we are doing great things at this place. From our academic achievements, our enrollment, our diversity, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said LSU Board Chair Robert Dampf on Thursday, May 6. “We set about to find a great leader, and we found one.”
Dampf made the announcement after the three finalists for the position were interviewed by the board earlier in the day.
Dr. Tate is the provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at the University of South Carolina. He holds the USC Education Foundation Distinguished Professorship with appointments in Sociology and Family and Preventive Medicine. Prior to that, he served as dean and vice provost for graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis.
Before working at Washington University in St. Louis, Tate served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He completed a second post-doctoral training program in the Department of Psychiatry—Epidemiology and Prevention Group at the Washington University School of Medicine, where he earned a master’s degree in psychiatric epidemiology.
Tate will replace LSU President Tom Galligan, who has served as LSU president since January 2020. Galligan recently changed his mind about seeking the job full-time. The board approved dropping the “interim” from Galligan’s title and making him LSU president until Tate takes over the role.
Tate said he’s excited about being part of the LSU system but what drives him is students.
“What I’m really most excited about is I met students here who really are amazing, and for me, this position is all about what we can do to help students and give people access and opportunity in higher education,” Tate said. “That’s really in my DNA, how do we help people regardless of their background – we find the money, get you here and give you the opportunity to live your dream. I think there is no better place in the United States to come find your dream and to make it happen than right here at LSU.”
The university’s new president will face the tough task of rebuilding the university’s image after months of turmoil and negative headlines. LSU’s former president, F. King Alexander, was essentially forced to resign from his new position as president of Oregon State University after allegations surfaced that complaints of sexual misconduct among certain students and staff were mishandled during his time at LSU.
Tate’s first day in office will be July 2.