In A Flash

Southern president-chancellor finalists include 2 current Louisiana university leaders

By: - January 6, 2022 5:13 pm

The F. G. Clark Activity Center at Southern University in Baton Rouge is also known as the “Mini-Dome” and is a multi-purpose facility used for campus and community events. (Photo provided by Southern University)

Southern University announced the five semi-finalist candidates for the next president-chancellor of the system.

The finalists include:

  • Laurence Alexander, chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • James Ammons, chancellor of Southern University at New Orleans
  • Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans
  • Dennis Shields, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Platteville
  • Kent Smith, president of Langston University in Oklahoma

Kimbrough has previously announced he will step down as Dillard president in May. He has led the campus since 2012. Ammons has been in charge at SUNO for a year.


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, and before that served as chancellor for Southern University Shreveport for 14 years. He also has worked in faculty and administration at Southern for over 34 years.

The search committee will interview the five semifinalists on Jan. 18 and Jan. 19.

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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.