Dr. Marcus Jones was chosen to be the 20th president of Northwestern State University of Louisiana, but something makes him stand out from the first 19 campus leaders.
Jones is the first Black president in the school’s 137 year history.
According to the Associated Press, the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for Jones to be president of the majority-white campus on Monday. Jones has been serving as interim president since July.
The former professor of business law and international business has been a faculty member at the school for 23 years, ABC affiliate KATC reports. He previously served as both vice president for university affairs and executive vice president for university and business affairs. NSU is also where Jones got his undergraduate degree.
The Northwestern State Presidential Search Committee narrowed the field to two finalists, Jones and Kim LeDuff, after interviewing six semifinalists on Northwestern’s campus last week.
“It’s an historic day for Northwestern State,” UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson said. “Marcus is an authentic leader of character, integrity, and vision. His familiarity with the community, his passion for student success, and his commitment to excellence will advance our alma mater for the next generation.”
During his interview, the university says that Jones spoke of the importance of a strong institution for university alumni and the Natchitoches community as a whole. He also discussed his vision for the university working more collaboratively with business and industry to ensure graduates have both the hard skills and soft skills to meet the needs of the global market.
Jones is the second education professional responsible for history-making headlines in Louisiana in recent weeks. Last week, The Root reported that Dr. Andia Augustin-Billy became the first Black faculty member to be granted tenure at Centenary College of Louisiana in the nearly two centuries since its founding.
“Northwestern is home to me. I know Northwestern and Northwestern knows me,” Jones said, according to KATC. “This is about fit and timing for Northwestern, and I will hit the ground running.”