News emerged Monday that Cal State Long Beach President F. King Alexander is the leading candidate to become Louisiana State University's next leader, and that he will be visiting the campus this week.
Alexander, who took the helm of California State University, Long Beach in 2006, is credited with shepherding the large campus through such devastating state funding cuts that student enrollment was briefly halted and the number of credits a student could carry was reduced. The number of new admissions has whithered in the face of a statewide crisis that touches every level of public education.
Under his tenure, graduation rates have increased, the university says, capital investments built while some 435,000 CSU students in the state voted him "President of the Year."
Alexander has not been hired, but the LSU Board of Supervisors will weigh his candidacy at a specially called meeting Wednesday, said CSULB's public information office, via press release. A national search whittled down 100 candidates to 35, and finally to Alexander, the CSULB release stated.
Among the other achievements attributed to Alexander is creating the Long Beach College Promise. The program guarantees every Long Beach student a seat at CSULB or Long Beach City College - despite it turning away thousands of eligible student applicants. It is a joint effort by Long Beach Unified School District, LBCC and CSULB, whose leaders hailed Alexander Monday.
"I’m personally grateful for all that he has done to help ensure equity and access to a college education for all students in our community," stated LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser, "and I wish him all the best.”
The full statement by CSULB can be found below:
California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) President F. King Alexander today has been recommended by a presidential search committee at Louisiana State University (LSU) to become the next president of LSU.
This recommendation was presented to the LSU Board of Supervisors earlier today. The board received the recommendation but took no action. Board members are expected to consider Alexander’s candidacy at a special meeting on Wednesday, March 27.
LSU conducted a national search involving more than 100 candidates and narrowed the list to 35 for further discussion. This past weekend, Alexander emerged as the committee’s consensus finalist candidate to lead LSU in the years to come.
Alexander is expected to visit LSU later this week, allowing the community from all campuses to have a chance to hear from him and learn more about him.
Alexander began his duties as president at CSULB in 2006. Under his leadership, the university has improved its graduation rates to the highest levels in school history, and that in turn has led to the largest numbers of graduating students in the university’s history, peaking at nearly 9,000.
Alexander’s legacy at CSULB includes a strengthening of the city’s Long Beach Education Partnership with the establishment of the Long Beach College Promise, a joint effort with the Long
Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and Long Beach City College (LBCC). The College Promise has served Long Beach area students and families by guaranteeing a seat in college in spite of the fact CSULB has been faced with turning away thousands of eligible students.
Since its creation in 2008, the College Promise has been recognized as a model for the state and nation with several California communities—Fresno, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco—using the program as a launching point for similar partnerships in their own communities.
“I greet the news that President F. King Alexander is the consensus candidate for the presidency at Louisiana State University with sadness and great pride. His commitment to our community and students as exemplified by the Long Beach College Promise would be deeply missed in Long Beach,” said LBCC President Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “These same traits set him apart as a higher education leader who understands the connection of public education institutions to the communities they serve.
“He has been a true partner of Long Beach City College and his leadership has helped secure the success of the Long Beach College Promise for generations to come,” he continued. “I am sure he will produce similar results at LSU if they are fortunate enough to have him as their president.”
LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser agreed. “Louisiana State University would be very fortunate to have King as president. He has done wonderful things to elevate the stature of Cal State Long Beach, and he has remained a true friend of our K-12 school system during some difficult times for California’s public schools,” he said. “We would be saddened to see King leave, but we know that wherever he goes, he will have a tremendous, positive impact upon the lives of students. I’m personally grateful for all that he has done to help ensure equity and access to a college education for all students in our community, and I wish him all the best.”
During the depths of the California recession, Alexander persevered in securing capital funding and
constructed three significant building projects on campus, including its $110 million, state-of-the-art Hall of Science to help fill the state’s future STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) employment needs. The science building is the largest capital building project in CSULB’s history and, at the time of its opening, was the largest building project in the California State University (CSU) system.
There was also the campus’ $70 million Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which receives some 4,000 visits per day, and the School of Nursing Building, a $4.3 million project that was the first addition to the university’s nursing facilities in 35 years and was sorely needed to help meet the state’s future health care industry need for nurses.
During this same time, Alexander maintained and modified budgeting processes to accommodate an $85 million reduction in state appropriation during the economic recession.
Alexander elevated the campus’ recognition as one of the nation’s best values in public higher education and has added to its reputation as a top college destination in the country as its application total from freshman and transfer students topped 82,000 this past fall.
Earlier this year, CSULB was named to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s list of top 100 best values in public colleges for the third straight year, recognizing four-year institutions that combine outstanding education with economic value. A month later, The Princeton Review teamed up with USA Today and announced that CSULB was on its list of the 150 “Best Value Colleges for 2013.” It was CSULB’s fourth consecutive selection to the Princeton Review list.
Also earlier this year, U.S. News & World featured CSULB on its list of most efficient universities in the country, showing which schools are providing a high quality education while spending relatively less than their peers to achieve that quality. U.S. News also included CSULB on its list of the top 10 colleges in the nation receiving the most applications from first-time freshman.
In two of the last three year Alexander was voted “President of the Year” by the California State University Student Association, a statewide group representing 23 student governments and 435,000 students throughout California.
He significantly increased CSULB research and external funding capacity and support. He oversaw a reorganization of the university’s institutional advancement and public relations office, and the university’s private philanthropic giving has set institutional records and currently is in the midst of a first “Capital Campaign,” where more than $200 million has already been raised, resulting in a doubling of the university’s endowment.
Prior to becoming president at CSU Long Beach in 2006, Alexander was the president of Murray State University from 2001 to 2006. He received his Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis in 1996 from the University of Wisconsin, his Master of Science in educational studies/comparative educational policy in 1991 from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor of Arts in 1987 in political science from St. Lawrence University.