Parker Executive Search Assists LSU Recruit First African-American President
May 10, 2021 – Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search has assisted Louisiana State University (LSU) in the selection of William Tate as the school’s first African-American president. He will replace Tom Galligan, who has served as LSU president since January 2020. “This is a very pivotal time at our university, from economic, environmental, social challenges, but we are doing great things at this place,” said LSU board chair Robert Dampf. “From our academic achievements, our enrollment, our diversity, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished. We set about to find a great leader, and we found one.”
“Following a national search, Louisiana State University has selected Dr. William F. Tate IV to serve as its new president, and I congratulate and welcome him to this new role and to our state,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “This is a historic moment for the Louisiana State University system, as Dr. Tate will become the university’s first African-American president and also the first African-American university president in the Southeastern Conference. He has expressed a desire to ensure that more students have the opportunity for higher education at the schools in LSU’s system, including more minority students, those from rural areas and those who face financial challenges.”
“He will also be charged with attracting first class researchers and research funding to our state as we seek to continue and expand LSU’s role as a national leader in innovation and discovery,” Mr. Bel Edwards said. “I share this goal of making higher education more accessible to students from all walks of life and all areas of our state and beyond and in growing the system’s prominence and I welcome his experience, vision and insight.”
Dr. Tate is an education foundation distinguished professor and provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of South Carolina. During his time at South Carolina, Dr. 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. Prior to that, he served as dean of the graduate school and vice provost for graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis from 2002 to 2020. Dr. Tate also served at Texas Christian University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Tate said he is excited about being part of the LSU system, but that 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,” he 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.”
Related: Why Universities Have Stepped Up Efforts to Involve Search Firms
LSU comprises eight campuses stretching across Louisiana and includes more than 50,000 students and research expenditures amounting to $360 million. Within LSU are two health sciences centers offering various levels of degrees in medicine, dentistry, allied health, nursing, public health and graduate studies. LSU’s flagship campus, located in Baton Rouge, is Louisiana’s top public institution, enrolling some 32,000 students studying in nearly 200 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and specialist programs.
Parker Executive Search conducts executive searches for corporations, colleges and universities and collegiate athletics. The firm has a wide range of client schools, including Notre Dame, Dartmouth, the University of Chicago, Iowa State, Fordham, University of Central Florida, University of Oregon, Clemson University, the University of Tennessee and Iowa State University, among many others.
Search firm president Laurie Wilder is responsible for the strategic leadership and day-to-day operations of the firm. She has been with Parker for 19 years and is responsible for leading the development and delivery of recruiting strategies and best practices across the firm’s practice areas. She is involved in all aspects of the search process and has conducted over 1,000 leadership assignments.
Her experience spans AAU public research universities, regional and state colleges, as well as private liberal arts institutions. She has recruited for leadership positions across all levels of higher education and collegiate athletics. Ms. Wilder has also actively worked on middle- and senior-level searches for a variety of corporate clients in the sales, marketing, material management, logistics, human resources, general management, operations, manufacturing, construction and finance functions.
Dan Parker serves as the firm’s vice president and managing director. He has worked on numerous corporate vice president searches, collegiate athletic director searches and collegiate basketball, baseball, and football head coach searches. Mr. Parker is also responsible for business development and candidate development.
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Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media