Oregon State University has named a successor to President Ed Ray, who will step down at the end of the current academic year after nearly two decades on the job.
Louisiana State University President F. King Alexander will take on the top job in Corvallis on July 1, 2020. He was appointed unanimously by the Oregon State board of trustees to a five-year contract Friday morning.
The board did not make public the names of any finalists prior to Alexander’s hiring.
Board Chair Rani Borkar said in a statement that Alexander is “the right person, educator and higher education leader to carry on the transformative impact that Oregon State University provides throughout our state, nation and world.”
In a short speech shortly after the announcement, Alexander said he was drawn to Oregon State because of his affinity for land-grant universities, a program established by Congress at the height of the Civil War to emphasize agriculture, science and engineering following the Industrial Revolution.
“Land-grant universities aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty,” he said.
Alexander earned a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after completing a master’s in education studies and comparative education policy at the University of Oxford in England. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Lawrence University in New York.
Prior to his 6 1/2 years at the helm of Louisiana State, he served seven years as president of California State University, Long Beach and before that, four years as president of Murray State University in Kentucky.
During his remarks, Alexander said he and Ray often worked together in Washington, D.C. to push for funding for higher education. In a news release, Alexander said he will prioritize affordability and inclusivity for Oregon State students, faculty and staff.
As the university’s 15th president, Alexander will make $704,400, which includes a base salary of $366,000 plus $263,400 from the university’s foundation. The foundation will also pay $75,000 into Alexander’s retirement fund per year and pay him $40,000 to relocate from Baton Rouge to Corvallis as outlined in his contract.
The university also agreed to either provide Alexander with a car or reimburse him $1,000 per month if he uses his own. He’ll reside in a house just off campus owned by Oregon State, which real estate site Zillow values at about $1.7 million. The university will pay the property taxes on the residence, according to the contract.
Ray will make $809,988 in his final year as president, the Corvallis Gazette-Times reported in January.
Alexander will leave Louisiana State on Dec. 31 and said leaving Baton Rouge was a “very difficult decision” in a news release. The university announced Law Center Dean Thomas Galligan as his interim replacement.
Mary Werner, chair of the Louisiana State Board of Supervisors, thanked Alexander for what she said was “outstanding leadership” and his “untiring advocacy for public higher education.”
Alexander’s hiring at Oregon State marks the fourth announcement of a new leader by any of the state’s three largest public universities in the last five years.
Michael Schill was announced as the University of Oregon’s president in 2015, replacing Michael Gottfredson. Portland State hired Rahmat Shoureshi in 2017, who resigned under pressure earlier this year. He was replaced by interim President Stephen Percy, who was previously the university’s dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs.
Article was originally published by The Oregonian.