Northwestern State is on track to have a historic ‘first’ as university president

A person who isn’t white will lead the school for the first time

By: - November 2, 2021 8:12 pm

Northwestern University entrance. (Courtesy of

Northwestern State University’s presidential search committee announced two finalists to become the university’s 20th president Tuesday afternoon.

Either candidate would make history if they are given the job.  Northwestern has never had a university president who isn’t a white man, but both of the candidates to be the school’s next leader are Black — and one is a woman.

One of the finalists, Marcus Jones, currently serves as interim president for Northwestern

Jones earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern, master’s degree in international business and trade from Grambling State University and law degree from the Southern University Law Center.


Jones also serves as the executive vice president and chief operating officer for the University of Louisiana system. He worked in Northwestern’s administration for 13 years and as a professor at the university from 1999 to 2017.

The other finalist, Kim LeDuff, currently serves as vice president for the division of academic engagement and student affairs as well as the chief diversity officer at the University of West Florida, Pensacola.


LeDuff earned a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University in New Orleans, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland-College Park and a doctorate in mass communication from Indiana University.

LeDuff has taught communications and journalism at the University of West Florida, Pensacola since 2005 and worked in the university’s administration since 2013. She also served as an interim director, associate director and assistant director at University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg’s School of Mass Communication and Journalism.

The UL system board will meet Monday, Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. to interview finalists and select the next president of Northwestern. 

Chris Maggio retired this summer after serving as president since January 2017. He had been a member of staff, faculty and administration for the university for 33 years.

The new president is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022.

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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.