On December 12, the Oregon State University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Dr. F. King Alexander of Louisiana State University the new president of OSU.
Alexander will be stepping down as president and chancellor of LSU December 31 after a tenure of six years. Prior to LSU, he served as president of California State University Long Beach from January 2006 to June 2013 and president of Murray State University in Kentucky from September 2001 to December 2005.
In an interview with Baton Rouge’s Daily Report, Alexander said that he was first approached by OSU in April, and chose to “play out the process and see what happens.” According to Louisiana’s The Advocate (no relation to The Corvallis Advocate) he was selected as a finalist for the position in July.
One of OSU’s main draws for him was funding. During his tenure at LSU, Alexander had to deal with severe budget cuts from the Louisiana legislature and former Gov. Bobby Jindal. In contrast, funding at OSU stands to by 12.3 percent in the next two years.
He also found OSU’s status as a land grant university appealing. “My heart, soul and DNA are as a land grant researcher and educator,” he said in an OSU press release. “Oregon State University’s mission and destiny as an internationally recognized land, sea, space and sun grant university captured me. OSU is on the cutting edge of the many critical issues that the world is begging to understand.
Finally, Alexander was attracted to Oregon as a place to settle down. “My wife, Shenette, has been talking for over a year about where my last move would be before we retired and the West Coast kept coming up,” he told Daily Report. “Oregon called early, and this deal came to fruition. We couldn’t be more thrilled. This is a fantastic place.”
Alexander will become OSU’s 15th president on July 1, 2020, replacing Ed Ray, who will step down as president on June 30 after 17 years of leading the university. His appointment concludes a six month search with over 60 candidates.