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Louisiana State University is making history as they’ve named William “Bill” Tate as the first Black president in the Baton Rouge school’s history.
Additionally, the former University of South Carolina Provost also becomes the first African American president at a school in the Southeastern Conference.
“Quite frankly I didn’t think this day would come that an African-American would become president in the SEC,” Tate said, according to USA Today of becoming the head of a school that Black students were not even allowed to attend until 1953. “Y’all made it possible.”
He continued: “I’m really excited to be part of this community. For me this is all about how we can help students regardless of their background … and give them opportunity to live their dream.”
Tate is slated to start his job on July 2 and contract negotiations are currently underway.
LSU has been dealing with scandal over alleged systemic mishandling of sexual harassment and violence complaints. Tate said Louisiana State will be a model for addressing sexual violence and Title IX complaints moving forward.
“If a person is found guilty of (sexual harassment and violence) we need to remove them from campus as soon as possible,” he said.
Tate will take over for interim President Tom Galligan. LSU’s Board of Supervisors made Tate their selection late on Thursday after in-person interviews with three finalists. Kelvin Droegemeier, former director of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Jim Henderson, president of University of Louisiana System were the other two candidates.
The vote was unanimous (15-0).
“We worked very hard for a very long time to select a great leader for LSU,” Board Chairman Robert Dampf said, according to USA Today. “It’s a pivotal time for our university, but we’re doing great things.”