LSU hopes it has found a leader for the future in Alexander

LSU hopes it has found a leader for the future in Alexander

F. King Alexander, president of California State University Long Beach—and potentially the next president of LSU—respects the traditions of higher education while understanding the need to evolve, says LSU Board of Supervisors member Blake Chatelain, who chaired the search committee.

"King believes, and I think we believe, the next five years in higher education are going to impact the next 50 years," he says.

Alexander—who was named as the lone finalist to lead LSU by the university's board of supervisors on Monday—has a successful fundraising track record, supporters say, and helped nearly double his school's endowment. If hired, he's expected to demonstrate a collaborative leadership style, Chatelain says.

Said Hilal, CEO of Applied Medical Resources, about 40 minutes south of the Long Beach campus, says Alexander is responsive to the business community and has a passion for graduating students who are well-rounded and able to adapt to their work environment. Jeff Selingo, editor at large with The Chronicle of Higher Education, says Alexander is a nationwide leader on the importance of access to higher education, including groups such as first-generation students.

"He's very focused on how to retain students and how to graduate them," Selingo says. "He knows the needs of the economy, and how to position his institution to make sure it's meeting the needs of the local, state and regional economy."

Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, says the next leader of LSU needs to be someone who can articulate a clear vision for the system's future and show how he's meeting those goals.

In a report by the CSULB student newspaper Monday, Terri Carbaugh, associate vice president for external and legislative affairs at CSULB, says there's "community consensus that Alexander has been a tremendous leader in the community, [CSULB] and the nation." Carbaugh adds: "Any university would be fortunate to have him as a leader."

California State Student Association President David Allison says in the Daily 49er article that he has worked with Alexander quite a bit and that "the CSU would be sad to see him go."

"Alexander is a phenomenal education leader," Allison says. "LSU would be lucky to have him."

The Long Beach Post also recently wrote that Alexander “not only resides as President of Long Beach State, he meets often with that other President—the one that runs our nation—and the higher-ups in Sacramento. Sometimes he does this in the same week.”

Chatelain says Alexander's compensation package likely would be comparable to that of John Lombardi, who made about $550,000 annually, plus benefits.

You can see Alexander's résumé here.

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