Ray Belton, Southern University’s president-chancellor, plans to retire in 2022

By: - July 16, 2021 5:57 pm

Southern University President-Chancellor Ray Belton takes a picture with the Board of Supervisors after announcing his retirement. (JC Canicosa/Louisiana Illuminator)

After seven years as the Southern University system’s president-chancellor, Ray Belton announced to the Southern University Board of Supervisors Friday morning he will retire in the  fall of 2022.

“This is a good day, I’ve been truly blessed,” Belton said during the meeting.

Belton said he took on the role as president-chancellor “to provide for a stronger foundation for Southern University” and position the university to “continue to be seen as a premier institution.”

“Upon reflection… I actually believe we’ve accomplished that,” Belton said. “We have enjoyed (record-breaking) enrollment over the last four years and have established policies that opened the doors of Southern University again.”

The university has already begun a number of capital outlay projects and efforts that “promise to transform the landmass of Southern University at Baton Rouge,” he said.

Belton served as chancellor for Southern University Shreveport for 14 years before taking on his current role, and has worked in faculty and administration at Southern for over 34 years.

He said he was especially proud of “stabilizing the fiscal integrity of all the campuses within the system” and reaffirming accreditation at all but one of the five campuses — which he said should be reaccredited in December.

Southern University at New Orleans was placed under financial probation in 2019, which led to furloughing and increasing the teaching loads of some of the university’s faculty, according to a report from the Times-Picayune

“Even the athletic department is now poised for a championship year after having now been removed from probation — where all 15 of our programs are eligible for postseason play,” he said.

The board gave Belton a standing ovation after his announcement.

“We are indeed indebted to you for the many years of service and commitment that you’ve demonstrated to higher education in general — but to the Southern University System in particular,” Domoine Rutledge, chairman of Southern’s board of supervisors said. “I believe that you will leave the institution in much better shape than you found it.”

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is a former Louisiana Illuminator reporter. Prior to working with the Illuminator, Canicosa worked for Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon. Canicosa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.