William Tate IV Becomes 1st Black President in the History of the SEC: 'We Set About to Find a Great Leader, and We Found One'

Illustration for article titled William Tate IV Becomes 1st Black President in the History of the SEC: 'We Set About to Find a Great Leader, and We Found One'
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The SEC might boast some of the most powerful programs in all of collegiate sports, but until Thursday, not a single school in the conference had ever had a Black president.


That’s until William Tate IV changed the game.

Tate, who currently serves as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of South Carolina, has been handpicked by LSU’s Board of Supervisors to replace LSU’s president Tom Galligan, who served as school president since January 2020. After interviewing two other finalists for the position, the board voted 15-0 in favor of Tate.

“What I’m really most excited about is I met students here who really are amazing, and for me, this position is all about what we can do to help students and give people access and opportunity in higher education,” Tate said in a statement. “That’s really in my DNA, how do we help people regardless of their background—we find the money, get you here, and give you the opportunity to live your dream. I think there is no better place in the United States to come find your dream and to make it happen than right here at LSU.”

For those curious about his experience level and accomplishments at South Carolina, LSU is kind enough to provide receipts as well as a summary of what he’ll bring to the table:

During his time at University of South Carolina, Tate launched Carolina Online as the university’s comprehensive effort to deliver degree programs and professional credentials online; established the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program, which offers postdoctoral fellowships with the specific aim of increasing faculty diversity and research productivity on campus; and guided in collaboration with the Faculty Senate the development of a “Founding Documents” course for incoming freshmen.

Tate received his Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of Maryland, Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Texas at Dallas, Master of Psychiatric Epidemiology from Washington University School of Medicine, and Bachelor of Science in economics from Northern Illinois University.

“This is a very pivotal time at our university,” LSU Board Chair Robert Dampf said in a statement. “From economic, environmental, social challenges, but we are doing great things at this place. From our academic achievements, our enrollment, our diversity, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished. We set about to find a great leader, and we found one.”

Tate will assume his new position in July, and will undoubtedly bring Black excellence with him.


Congratulations, William!

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.



I’m soooo thrilled at this news! Welcome Mr. President! As a black parent of a black student at LSU, this warms my heart and gives me beaucoup pride! My daughter will be a senior this fall and after this past COVID changing year, I am so happy that she gets to spend her last year and graduate under Mr. Tate’s leadership. My black pride flag is going bonkers over here in the Boot!  Can’t wait for the secondline to welcome him to campus!