Over two-and-a-half decades, William Jenkins has held multiple leadership posts in the Louisiana State University System, culminating in an eight-year presidency defined by Hurricane Katrina. Now the native South African has returned as interim president, replacing the ousted John Lombardi, amid a fiscal storm and a flood of disparate pressures about the identity and structure of a 54,000-student system that includes multiple academic and research campuses along with the statewide charity hospital system.
The Legislature is debating a budget that will force steep cuts. Construction of a Charity Hospital successor in New Orleans is under way, but the financing isn't settled. Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose appointees control the system governing board, envisions a fundamental remake of the charity model.
LSU main campus Chancellor Michael Martin appears poised to depart for Colorado State University.
Lawmakers moved the University of New Orleans to the University of Louisiana System and could do the same this year with LSU's Shreveport campus.