Oregon State University has announced its choice for a new president to replace their long-time leader who’s stepping down in June.
Ed Ray is leaving the OSU presidency after 17 years. After a lengthy search process, the Oregon State Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday to hire F. King Alexander, who is currently serving as president of Louisiana State University.
Alexander said one of his goals at OSU will be to reduce the amount of student debt carried by graduates. “One big fight that we’re in, and it’s in all of the nation, is to make sure our state legislatures keep supporting higher education," he said. "The greatest issue in higher education with regards to affordability has been state disinvestment over the last 30 years.”
The 56-year-old Alexander has also served as president of California State University-Long Beach and Murray State University in Kentucky.
His appointment as head of Louisiana State University in 2013 was not without controversy. The school's Faculty Senate unanimously passed a "no confidence" resolution directed at the school's Board of Supervisors in protest of Alexander's selection. The resolution noted that Alexander "has never been a tenured full professor at a major research university" and cited graduation rates at Cal State-Long Beach that were significantly lower than Louisiana State.
In announcing his selection Friday, Oregon State University Board of Trustees chair Rani Borkar gave Alexander high praise.
"Doctor King Alexander is the right person, educator, and higher education leader to carry on the transformative impact that Oregon State University provides throughout our state, nation and world," said Borkar.
The Board of Trustees awarded Alexander a five-year contract. He will start as OSU president on July 1, 2020.