Baton Rouge, La — After a stellar career in higher education that spans more than 35 years, William “Bill” Jenkins is calling it a career … for the second time.
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.