LSU names search committee to fill top leadership post, or posts

    Nearly 11 months after F. King Alexander announced he was stepping down as president of LSU, the university’s board of supervisors is finally moving forward with a replacement search.

    In an announcement today, LSU named a 20-member search committee that reflects different “ethnicities, genders, academic disciplines, occupations, geographical regions and constituencies,” board chairman Robert Dampf says in a prepared statement.

    Among those on the committee are five current members of the board: James Williams, who will chair the committee; Glenn Armentor, Valencia Jones, Rémy Starns and Mary Werner. Several administrators from the Baton Rouge campus will also serve on the committee as will well-known local consultant Christel Slaughter of SSA Consultants.

    According to the statement, Dampf has asked the search committee to prepare a description of the presidency position for the board to discuss at its Oct. 23 meeting.

    The statement goes on to say, “the committee will also have the latitude to recommend any structural or organizational changes that might facilitate identifying the best leader for the future of LSU.”

    That’s significant because the board has been divided all year on whether to retain the university’s existing leadership structure or split the top position into two roles—a president of the LSU System and a chancellor of the LSU A&M campus, which is how it was structured until Alexander’s hiring in 2013.

    Complicating matters is that Gov. John Bel Edwards, who appoints the board, has said he favors splitting the positions.

    In late September, Dampf told Daily Report the board would determine the future of the leadership structure first and then seek to hire someone for the position, which has been filled on an interim basis by LSU Law Center Chancellor Tom Galligan.

    “We are all trying to figure out what we think would work best for LSU,” Dampf said at the time.

    He did not return calls today seeking additional comment.

    In his prepared statement, however, he said the search committee will determine the method of identifying interested parties and the means for reviewing their qualifications, which would seem to suggest the committee will decide whether to retain a firm to conduct a national search or make recommendations from among local administrators.

    Several names were floated about early this year to fill the president or president and chancellor positions before the pandemic derailed the search process.

    Though there is no established timeline for the search, the committee is being asked to move “deliberately in completing the search process,” Dampf’s statement says.