Jim Henderson, Facebook

Update: Northwestern State University President Dr. Jim Henderson will become the new president of the University of Louisiana System, after the Board of Supervisors unanimously appointed him to the position.Henderson says he’ll look to reverse the 10 year decline in state funding of higher ed.

“We have got to create a funding formula that is transparent, that is predictable, and most importantly that is aligned with the long-term strategic interests of the State of Louisiana and the short-term immediate interests of the students we serve,” Henderson said.

Henderson says Louisiana ranks 16th out of 16 southern states for the resources available per student. He says he looks forward to working with the legislature to resolve many of the issues universities and students are facing. He added that he has healthy relationships with many Louisiana lawmakers.

“Our ends and their desired ends are very much in concert with each other. Finding the language and the processes by which you can achieve those ends together is a process that I really enjoy,” Henderson said.

Henderson says he wants to see more student involvement at the system level to give students a voice in the policy decision making. He says he would also like to have a more hands on relationship with students throughout the UL system.

“I hope that my relationship with the universities is such that I’ll have plenty of opportunities to interact with students on their campuses. I think that’s important,” Henderson said.


Northwestern State University President Jim Henderson is expected to become the new president of the University of Louisiana System, as he is the only candidate that will go before the Board of Supervisors today. Henderson says if selected for the position, there are some obvious problems he plans to tackle.

“The rising cost of higher education is making it inaccessible to many students, even at a time when a college education is the front door to numerous opportunities for people. So we’re going to have to address that,” Henderson said.

Henderson says if the job didn’t allow him to continue to work with Northwestern, he wouldn’t even consider it. He says he has immense love for the Natchitoches school, as he and his wife, Tonia, both graduated from NSU, but he says he has ties to many Louisiana universities.

“Both my parents graduated from Tech. I have an uncle that was the president of then-Northeast, now University of Louisiana at Monroe. My mother-in-law is a McNeese grad, and my brother-in-law is a ULL grad. My best friend is a Southeastern grad,” Henderson said.

Henderson has been the Northwestern president since January of 2015. He says he wants to do what he can to provide more opportunities for students in Louisiana.

“If we’re going to give them opportunities, we have to have a strong University of Louisiana system, and I think this would be a step in that direction,” Henderson said.