Following a Stellar Career, William Jenkins Retires from LSU
June 20, 2013
Jenkins, who had retired from LSU in 2007, agreed to come out of retirement last year to serve the university as interim system president and shortly after, he agreed to take on the duties of chancellor of LSU as well.
During his time back at LSU, Jenkins has spearheaded LSU's reorganization efforts by conducting public forums at each institution in the LSU System, serving as a member of the Transition Advisory Team and supplying invaluable knowledge and feedback on the future of higher education in America. He also provided steady leadership during a time of change for higher education.
Jenkins, a native of South Africa who has worked at LSU since 1988, was first named chancellor of LSU in 1996. During his tenure, he reorganized the campus administration to make it more efficient and crafted a university-wide strategic plan that was the forerunner to LSU's Flagship Agenda. He also became nationally known for his leadership and compassion when he spoke to numerous national media outlets, as well as students and parents, in the wake of a tragic student death in 1997.
In 1999, Jenkins was named president of the LSU System, and throughout his time as president, he was an active and vocal advocate for the health sciences centers and the public hospital system, once again underscoring his service to the people of Louisiana.
Jenkins' tenure as president was marked by unprecedented growth and challenges, including the destruction of LSU institutions and hospitals in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the subsequent recovery of those facilities in the aftermath. While he was president, he foreshadowed his own career and donned the two LSU hats for the first time by also serving as interim chancellor of LSU, while the campus was in the process of searching for a new chancellor.
A recipient of numerous accolades and honors during his career, Jenkins was most recently recognized during the May commencement at LSU with an honorary degree for his service, unwavering loyalty and dedication to the university.
As Jenkins bids farewell to LSU, a number of people who have worked with him over the years in Louisiana and beyond wanted to reflect on his career in higher education, wish him the best, and thank him for his service to LSU and the state of Louisiana.
"To me, Dr. Jenkins has been the very model of the servant-leader that so many aspire to be but so few actually are. I'm very grateful to him for all the many specific instances of guidance and support he has provided LSU Shreveport and the LSU System, but I'm also personally grateful for having been able to work with and learn from such an accomplished leader."
- Paul Sisson, interim chancellor at LSU Shreveport