New Northwestern State President Could Be Named Next Week

Schedule Set for Finalist Interviews on Tuesday

Baton Rouge, La. – The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System could select a new president for Northwestern State University on Tuesday following back-to-back public interviews of finalists Lisa Abney and James Henderson.

WHAT: Special UL System Board Meeting to Interview Finalists and Select the President of Northwestern State University

WHEN: 9 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

WHERE: Room 1-100, Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

ACCESS: The meeting is open to the public and will be webcast live at (viewers will need to register to access the feed).

A 15-member search committee comprised of board members, campus, alumni, and community representatives selected Abney and Henderson out of four semifinalists who went through extensive interviews and constituent meetings on the Natchitoches campus last week.

Video of Abney’s and Henderson’s semifinalist interviews can be viewed at  For more information about the search including the meeting agenda and candidates’ applications, visit


Lisa Abney is Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Northwestern State University and has worked at the university since 1997.  Prior to Northwestern, she held a faculty position at the University of Houston-Downtown. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in English from Texas A&M University.  She holds a doctoral degree in English from the University of Houston.

During her interview Abney shared her philosophy on leadership.  “The leader of this university has to be someone who can build consensus.  You have to share information when you have it and maintain visibility on campus,” she said.


James Henderson is Chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College.  Prior to becoming Chancellor, he served as Senior Vice President for Workforce and Economic Development at the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.  He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern State, a master’s degree in human performance technology from the University of West Florida, and a Doctor of Management from the University of Maryland.

During his interview with the search committee, Henderson spoke of being a servant leader.  “You have to be a champion of the university for the students you serve, the faculty, staff, and alumni.  One of the most important things you can do is add value to the degrees that have already come through the university,” he said.

Northwestern State’s longest-serving president, Randall Webb, announced his retirement in April. 


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.