Interim President Dr. William L. Jenkins
William L. Jenkins
Dr. William L. Jenkins is serving his second term as President of the Louisiana State University System, which has an annual budget of $3.4 billion and more than 54,000 students at 10 institutions, including four academic campuses, a law center, one of the world’s leading obesity research centers, a statewide AgCenter extension service, two health science centers and 10 public hospitals.
Jenkins returned to his duties leading the LSU System as Interim President after serving until 2007 as the fifth system chief executive.
Prior to becoming System President, Dr. Jenkins, a veterinary scholar, held virtually every major administrative position at LSU, including provost and chancellor, since coming to the university as Dean of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in 1988.
Jenkins’ tenure as System President was marked by unprecedented growth and challenges, including destruction at LSU institutions in New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricanes in the fall of 2005.
Although faced with a fiscal crisis and deep budget cuts that disrupted academics and forced the furloughs and firings of thousands of LSU employees, Jenkins pressed for calm and reflexive responses to the calamities.
A South Africa native, Dr. Jenkins received his veterinary medicine degree from the University of Pretoria in 1958 and specialist credentials in 1968. Following his graduation, he came to the United States where, in 1970, he received his Ph.D in veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri in Columbia. He returned to South Africa where he practiced veterinary medicine for four years before joining the faculty at the University of Pretoria, advancing through the ranks to become professor and head of the Department of Veterinary Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology.
In 1978, Dr. Jenkins became a member of the faculty in the Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology at Texas A&M University. He was appointed dean of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in 1988 and was named LSU’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs in September 1993. Three years later in 1996, the LSU Board of Supervisors named him LSU’s fifth Chancellor.
As chancellor, Dr. Jenkins led the reorganization of the main campus administration to make it more efficient and lead the effort to produce a strategic plan, measures that were major factors in the crafting of LSU’s Flagship Agenda.
As a teacher and administrator, Dr. Jenkins has received numerous teaching and public service awards. In 1997, the Public Relations Association of Louisiana, and a Distinguished Alumnus by the University of Missouri named him Communicator of the Year. The regional chapter of Toastmasters International presented him with its 1999 Communication and Leadership Award.
Other honors include the Vision of Excellence Award 2000 by the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce and the New Orleans Chapter of MetroVision. In addition, his alma mater, the University of Pretoria, bestowed an Honorary Doctorate on Dr. Jenkins in September of 2000. The Southern Economic Development Conference also presented him with the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2004.
An active participant in national continuing education efforts, Dr. Jenkins has delivered more than 150 lectures and addresses to diverse groups in both the United States and abroad. The co-author of a textbook on veterinary pharmacology, Dr. Jenkins also has taught extensively at both the professional and graduate levels written more than 60 scientific articles and contributed 15 chapters to various collegiate textbooks.
Dr. Jenkins has been active in numerous professional and civic organizations as well as select national committees. He served on the National Institute of Health’s Alcohol Abuse and Misuse on College Campuses Committee and on a special Steering Committee of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that reviewed accreditation criteria for colleges and universities. Dr. Jenkins also is a member of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges’ Committee on Food and Society and is a member of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Restoration and Conservation.
In addition, he has served on a number of public boards such as the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, Teach for America South Louisiana, and the Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Jenkins and his wife, Peggy, have four children—Sharon, Gwynn, Anthea, and Warren—and nine grandchildren.