Louisiana State University has hired the first African American president in the Southeastern Conference.
William Tate IV will begin in July, LSU said on its website.
Tate is currently at the University of South Carolina as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, LSU said.
“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.”
Tate will be the first African American to hold the position at LSU and in the SEC, affiliate WAFB reported. The board voted 15-0 for Tate after interviewing two other finalists.
“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.”
Tate will replace LSU President Tom Galligan, who has served as LSU president since January 2020, the station reported.
The announcement comes as the university’s leadership is under extra scrutiny. The previous president was F. King Alexander. He left LSU for Oregon State University, and announced his resignation there this March amid criticism of his handling of sexual misconduct complaints during his time at LSU, the station reported.
Also in March, the University of Kansas parted ways with head football coach Les Miles. The announcement followed the release of two reports investigating accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by Miles during his time at Louisiana State University as head coach. Miles has denied the allegations.