Four Semifinalists to Compete for President of Northwestern State University

BATON ROUGE – The Northwestern State University Presidential Search Committee unanimously voted to invite four semifinalists to interview with the committee the week of Sept. 9, 2014. The committee narrowed the field from 12 candidates out of the 41 applications processed by search consultants R.H. Perry and Associates.

“Thank you for such a passionate debate.  It is clear there is a deep commitment to finding the next great president of Northwestern State University,” said University of Louisiana System President and Northwestern Search Chair Sandra K. Woodley.

The four semifinalists are listed below in alphabeticalorder with the highest degree earned and most recent position noted:

1.     Lisa Abney (Ph.D. – University of Houston), Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, Northwestern State University

2.     James B. Henderson (D.M. – University of Maryland), Chancellor, Bossier Parish Community College

3.     Linda K. Rinker (Ed.D. – Columbia University Teachers College), Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Davenport University

4.     Renva H. Watterson (Ed.D. – University of Arkansas), Interim President, Georgia Highlands College

The candidate applications can be downloaded at

The semi-finalist interview schedules are still being finalized, but plans are for each candidate to spend an entire day on the Natchitoches campus interacting with the search committee and university groups such as faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members.  After all semifinalist interviews, the committee will deliberate on campus and recommend sending finalists (usually two or more) to the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System, who will make the final selection at a special meeting on September 23 in Baton Rouge. 

Northwestern State’s longest-serving president, Randall Webb, announced his retirement in April.  A new president is expected to be named at the end of September.  To assist the Northwestern State University Presidential Search Committee, search firm R.H. Perry and Associates was contracted to collect applications, actively seek qualified candidates, and make recommendations to the committee. 

Voting members of the Northwestern Presidential Search Committee include UL System Board Members Edward Crawford III of Shreveport, Dr. Kelly Faircloth of Pineville, Board Chair E. Gerald “T-Boy” Hebert of Kenner, Student Member Adam Lefort of Thibodaux, Jimmy Long, Sr. of Natchitoches, D. Wayne Parker of Choudrant, Mark Romero of Lafayette, Carl Shetler of Lake Charles, Robert Shreve of Baton Rouge, and Winfred Sibille of Sunset.  Also serving as a voting member is Northwestern Faculty Senate President Massimo Bezoari.

Serving as advisory, non-voting members are Northwestern SGA President Kyla Winey, a junior mass communication major from Lafayette; Northwestern Foundation President Lola Dunahoe, a 1971 graduate in biology who works for The Dunahoe Law Firm in Natchitoches; and Northwestern Alumni Association President Joe Stamey, a 1983 graduate in accounting who is a partner in the Natchitoches-based Stamey and Miller Law Firm.  UL System President Sandra Woodley serves as the non-voting committee chair.

For more information about the Northwestern Search including the meeting agenda, visit Questions and comments can be emailed to


ABOUT NORTHWESTERN STATE: Founded in 1884, Northwestern State University is classified by Carnegie as a Master’s Large University and by the Southern Regional Education Board as a Four-Year 4 institution, enrolling almost 9,000 students in over 50 degree programs.  In addition to the main campus in Natchitoches, the University has facilities in Leesville and Shreveport and offers instruction at other centers in central Louisiana.

ABOUT THE UL SYSTEM: The University of Louisiana System is the largest higher education system in Louisiana enrolling about 90,000 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of New Orleans.