University of Arkansas System President Donald R. Bobbitt will nominate Laurence B. Alexander of the University of Florida to be the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, succeeding Lawrence A. Davis, Jr., who retired on May 25, 2012.
Alexander, who is currently the associate dean of the graduate school and director of the Office of Minority Programs at the University of Florida in Gainesville, was one of four finalists for the position who visited the campus in late January and early February.
U of A System spokesman Ben Beaumont said Bobbitt will recommend Alexander for the position at a special meeting of the board of trustees of the University of Arkansas that will be conducted by phone later this week.
Alexander expressed his appreciation for the nomination and pledged to work with all stakeholders to advance the educational experience at UAPB.
“It’s a high honor to be nominated as the next chancellor of UAPB,” Alexander said. “This is really a very exciting time for me and for my family and very exciting to be coming to Pine Bluff to serve as chancellor of this very fine university; particularly a university that has such a great history in terms of its mission and in terms of its service to the state. I look at this as a great opportunity for us and for UAPB as it transitions from the fine leadership it currently has and in this transition building on the strengths it has had for years to become an even greater institution.”
Alexander said he looks forward to meeting individually with the entire university community once he arrives.
“Certainly I want to hit the ground running but I also want to spend quite a bit of time in the early days meeting everyone on campus,” he said. “I know it will be summertime but I will meet with the folks who are there on campus as well as spend time with the key stakeholders. It is very important that I make a connection with all key stakeholders at UAPB, not only those on campus but also the alumni, supporters, community officials, business leaders, and folks across the state who are supportive of higher education.”
Bobbitt expressed his belief that Alexander is the right person for the top post at UAPB in the press release.
“I’m pleased to nominate Dr. Laurence Alexander, who I believe has the right combination of experience and enthusiasm to help shape a positive, successful future for UAPB,” Bobbitt said in the release. “Dr. Alexander understands the important role that UAPB plays in the higher education portfolio of our state and in the Pine Bluff community. It’s a university that has grown and developed throughout the past two decades, and I am excited about the leadership Dr. Alexander will provide to help the campus and its students, faculty and staff achieve at the highest levels. While we know there will be challenges ahead, I look forward to working with Dr. Alexander to ensure a successful future for UAPB.”
Alexander, who is a distinguished teaching scholar and a professor in the Department of Journalism at Florida, chairs the Graduate Curriculum Committee and directs more than twenty student development and funding programs, including the UF McKnight Doctoral Fellowships and the National Science Foundation LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate.
Alexander received a bachelor’s degree in drama and communications from the University of New Orleans, a master’s degree in journalism and communications from the University of Florda, a juris doctor from Tulane University and a doctoal degree in higher education from Florida State University.
Alexander and his wife, Veronica, are natives of New Orleans, and have three sons.
Upon approval by the UA board of trustees, Alexander will succeed Calvin Johnson, who has served as interim chancellor of UAPB since April 2012. Alexander is expected to begin his tenure July 1.
The other three finalists for the chancellor position were Kim Luckes, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Norfolk State University in Virginia; Everette J. Freeman, president of Albany State University in Georgia; and Robert Mock, vice president for Student Affairs at the University of Kentucky.