Southern narrows president-chancellor search to 3 finalists

Dillard University leader among candidates

By: - January 25, 2022 4:29 pm

A. O. Williams Hall on the campus of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Baton Rouge. (Photo courtesy Southern University)

Southern University has narrowed the search for its next president and chancellor to three finalists. They will take part in a final round of interviews next week.

The finalist are:

  • Laurence Alexander, chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans
  • Dennis Shields, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Platteville

James Ammons, chancellor of Southern University at New Orleans, was another Louisiana university leader under consideration, but did not make the final list of candidates.


Kimbrough has previously announced he will step down as Dillard president in May. He has led the campus since 2012.

Southern University’s search committee began the search for a new president-chancellor in November 2021.


The current Southern president-chancellor, Ray Belton, announced in July that he will retire at the end of the next fall semester.

Belton has served in the role for seven years. Before that, he served as chancellor for Southern University Shreveport for 14 years. He also has worked in faculty and administration at Southern for more than 34 years.

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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.