As students strolled across the University of New Orleans quad on the first day of spring semester classes, they got a surprise. Standing at a table laden with bagels and coffee was UNO President Peter Fos, who took over Tuesday after the university went more than a year without a permanent leader in the post.
Fos, 62, chatted with students for about an hour at Tuesday's meet-and-greet, detailing his plans to firm up ties with the business community, increase communication with students and faculty and improve enrollment and retention.
"We have to stop the trend of losing students," he said.
His arrival closes out a turbulent period that began when Chancellor Tim Ryan was fired in September 2010. The university faced a proposal by Gov. Bobby Jindal to merge UNO with the nearby Southern University at New Orleans, which ultimately failed. The Legislature moved UNO from the LSU System to the University of Louisiana System. And enrollment continued to wane.