Black academic leaders are breaking barriers in the realm of higher education and making history in the process. According to WDSU6, William Tate IV has been appointed to serve as the president of Louisiana State University by the institution’s board; making him the first Black person to assume the position in the school’s 161-year history.
Tate, a seasoned education professional, has a track record of evoking transformative change at different collegiate institutions. The Northern Illinois University alum—who holds master’s degrees from the Washington University School of Medicine and the University of Texas at Dallas, and a doctorate degree from the University of Maryland—has served in leadership roles at Texas Christian University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Washington University. Prior to being selected to sit at the helm of LSU, Tate was the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of South Carolina. At the institution, he spearheaded the development of strategies to advance academic affairs and oversaw curriculum development and accreditation. He also cultivated a foundation for academic requirements for 13 on-campus schools and colleges as well as the UofSC School of Medicine Greenville and the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia.
Tate is excited to lead LSU and says he wants to put the focus on making higher education accessible. “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 in a statement. “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.” He succeeds Tom Galligan and will officially step into the position in July.
Tate’s appointment comes at a time when there is a major need for diversity in academic leadership. Research shows a mere 8 percent of college presidents are Black.