Southern University’s Chancellor Candidates Narrowed Down

BATON ROUGE, La. –- The top 10 applicants for Southern University’s chancellor job include Philander Smith College’s “hip-hop prez” and a former LSU administrator.

The Advocate of Baton Rouge reports that the DHR International search firm Monday submitted 10 names to the university’s search committee. The panel meets again April 5 to decide who they’ll invite to campus for formal interviews.

DHR Executive Vice President Robert Clayton described some of the applicants as rising “superstars,” including Philander Smith College President Walter Kimbrough, who is also known as the “hip hop prez,” and Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas. He previously served as vice provost for academic affairs and campus diversity at LSU.

“If you took a vote of the student body, they would say search over,” Clayton said of Kimbrough. “He’s the No. 1 superstar, young president in the country.”

Clayton also spoke highly of other sitting or former college presidents in the running, such as:

Tony Atwater, former president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

George Bradley, president of Paine College In Augusta, Ga.

Robert Hampton, former president of York College, City University of New York.

Melvin Johnson, former president of Tennessee State University.

Earl Yarbrough, president of Savannah State University.

Belinda Childress Anderson, former president of Virginia Union University. She was a semifinalist last year for the Southern University System presidency that went to Ronald Mason Jr. before she opted to withdraw.

Robert Jennings, former president of Alabama A&M University. He was a finalist last year for system presidency.

James Llorens, the former Southern dean of graduate studies and current assistant chief administrative officer to Mayor Kip Holden.

Llorens was among the finalists for the chancellor job in 2008 that went to Kofi Lomotey, who resigned under pressure in November. His last day in the post is June 30.

Search committee member Wade Shows said he may want to give more consideration to applicants outside the top 10 in order to cast a wide net.

The search committee members have the rest of the week to score the top 10 on a series of 14 criteria, such as “demonstrated fundraising skills” and “turnaround experience.” Then they will decide whom to bring to campus for interviews.

Eventually, the search committee will recommend its top three choices to Mason, who will then submit his final choice to the Southern Board of Supervisors for a vote.