11.3.18 LSU salute

LSU President F. King Alexander speaks during the LSU salute ceremony at the Parade Ground on Saturday Nov. 3, 2018.

In a live-streamed press conference Friday afternoon, the Oregon State University Board of Trustees announced its new president, F. King Alexander.

Current Oregon State President Ed Ray intends to step down in June 2020, after 17 years in the position. The six-month selection process interviewed 68 candidates, culminating in four finalists.

"This was a very difficult decision for me given my fondness for LSU and the tremendous progress we're making here," Alexander said in a press release. "It's been a privilege to be part of such an important and iconic university system. I'm proud of what we've collectively accomplished."

Alexander will formally begin as Oregon State's 15th president on July 1. His last day as LSU president will be Dec. 15, according to a University press release.

"In all of his [Alexander's] work, he has demonstrated an unwavering dedication and passion for 21st-century land-grant institutions," Oregon State Board of Trustees Chair Rani Borkar said.

Thomas Galligan, dean of the University's Paul M. Hebert Law Center, will serve as interim president while the LSU Board of Supervisors conducts the search for Alexnader's replacement.

Alexander has served as LSU President since 2013, overseeing the launch of the University's "Fierce for the Future" campaign, back-to-back record-breaking freshmen classes, the construction of Nicholson Gateway and the stabilization of Louisiana's higher education budget under Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Alexander's tenure is not without controversy. Alexander faced criticism for his handling of Greek-life policy changes in the aftermath of Max Gruver's hazing death in 2017. He further endured backlash from donors and the Louisiana Board of Regents for the University's "holistic admissions" policy in 2018, which critics claimed lowered standards for the state's flagship institution.

Before Baton Rouge, Alexander served as president of California State University, Long Beach and Murray State University in Kentucky. Born in Kentucky, Alexander earned his Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Alexander succeeded his father, Kern, as president of Murray State. Prior to Murray State, Kern Alexander was president of Western Kentucky University. Alexander's mother, Ruth, helped establish the women's athletic program at the University of Florida. 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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