Louisiana State University has hired its first African American president.
During the May LSU Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board named William Tate IV, Education Foundation Distinguished Professor and Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of South Carolina, as the next LSU president. Tate is expected to begin his term as president in July.
“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. “We set about to find a great leader, and we found one.”
Dampf thank the work of the Presidential Search Committee, chaired by James Williams, former chair of the LSU Board of Supervisors, and vice chaired by Gabriela González, Boyd Professor in the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, who narrowed the list of 23 candidates for president to three finalists who were invited for campus interviews, held May 2-5. He also expressed his appreciation to everyone across the LSU community who participated in some way in the search process.
Tate will replace LSU President Tom Galligan, who has served as LSU president since January 2020. The Board approved dropping the “interim” from Galligan’s title and making him LSU President, until Tate takes over the role.
Tate said he is 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.”
Tate has served as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of South Carolina since July 2020. Prior to that, he served as dean of the Graduate School & Vice Provost for Graduate Education at Washington University in St. Louis from 2002 to 2020. Tate also spent time at Texas Christian University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
At South Carolina, Tate oversees the 13 schools and colleges on the University of South Carolina Columbia campus, UofSC School of Medicine Columbia, and the UofSC School of Medicine Greenville, as well as being responsible for the overall leadership of academic affairs of the university, including curriculum development, program assessment, establishment of academic standards and university accreditation.
During his time at University of South Carolina, Tate launched Carolina Online as the university’s comprehensive effort to deliver degree programs and professional credentials online; established the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program, which offers postdoctoral fellowships with the specific aim of increasing faculty diversity and research productivity on campus; and guided in collaboration with the Faculty Senate the development of a “Founding Documents” course for incoming freshmen.
Tate received his Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of Maryland, Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Texas at Dallas, Master of Psychiatric Epidemiology from Washington University School of Medicine, and Bachelor of Science in economics from Northern Illinois University.