LSU has an African American president.  His appointment was historic and significant.  He is a mold breaker.  In a conservative state in the deep south, his selection was cause for celebration nationally.  Many called the 2019 undefeated football national championship the greatest moment in LSU history.  But the appointment of William Tate as the first African American president is much more significant and impactful on the state of Louisiana and the country.

A little context is in order. In a country that still celebrates or recognizes firsts, Dr. Tate’s appointment is one of those first ever moments.  Universities have long attempted to diversify their leadership.  The college presidency is especially laggard.  In fact while less than 13% of leadership positions are filled by people of color, presidents of color are less than 10% when you remove HBCU presidents.  And for years groups formed to address this gap.  Only recently have some gains been made. 

The importance of his appointment impacts all college students.  Diversity of thought, respect for other’s perspectives and a general sense of worthiness are enmeshed in the hire of Dr. Tate.  Simultaneously, the number of African Americans entering colleges and universities has risen every year over the past 7 years.  Appointments like Dr. Tate’s inspire a whole new generation of college students.  Many of them are first in their families to enter a four-year university.

Our colleges and universities are supposed to be arenas where ideas flow freely and relatively uninhibited.  Dr. Tate is fishing with a wide net.  He wants the best and brightest our state and region has to offer. 

Progressive Board of Supervisors

LSU Board of Supervisors members James Williams and Jimmie Woods invited members of the media to a luncheon at the historic Dooky Chase restaurant.  After brief introductions, Dr. Tate enjoyed a plate of the best fried chicken in New Orleans and talked openly.

“LSU is the greatest resource in the state,” said Dr. Tate.  “We need to attract the top talent and wrap our arms around them once they get on campus.  We want everybody that steps on our campus to get the best it has to offer.  And most of all, we want them to excel and graduate.”

LSU is the flagship university in Louisiana.  More resources are poured into the school than any other.  And Louisianans love to cheer for the LSU athletic teams.  But the research and development teams on campus lead the nation.  LSU leads on researching the effects of climate change.  LSU is developing technology to protect our coast. And LSU also offers some of the best post graduate schools.  Med school, law school, nursing. Social work.  More of our people have the opportunity to create great lives.  Only a small number can ever play sports at LSU.  Even fewer will go pro.  But tens of thousands more can become professionals in other arenas.

LSU has an African American President

Providing a safe and challenging environment where our young people can learn and grow is essential.  Every year the Louisiana Legislature adequately funds our flagship university. In Louisiana, over 30% of the population is African American.  So, African American tax dollars contribute mightily to the LSU budget.  .  Our community must take advantage of the state’s greatest resource.  Dr. Tate is proof we can do it!

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