Nine Candidates Recommended for President of Northwestern State University


Search Committee will meet Aug. 21 to select semi-finalists

BATON ROUGE – Members of the Northwestern State University Presidential Search Committee today received nine applications of candidates recommended by the search firm R.H. Perry and Associates.  The committee will meet in Baton Rouge at 2:15 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 21, to select semi-finalists to interview on the Natchitoches campus the week of Sept. 8.

According to the consultants, there were 60 inquiries, 32 nominations, and 41 complete applications.  Of the nine recommended candidates, three have been or are currently presidents or chancellors and six have senior level administrative experience.

The nine candidates are listed below in alphabetical order with the highest degree earned and most recent position noted:

  1. Betsy V. Boze (Ph.D. – University of Arkansas), Senior Fellow, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (former President and Professor, The College of the Bahamas)
  2. Ron D. Dempsey (Ph.D. – Southern Seminary), Vice President for Advancement and University Development, Southern Polytechnic State University
  3. Eugene A. Gilchrist (Ph.D. – State University of New York at Albany), Gene Gilchrist Consulting (former Executive Director, Milwaukee Regional Medical Center and Associate Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Louisville)
  4. James B. Henderson (D.M. – University of Maryland), Chancellor, Bossier Parish Community College
  5. Michelle R. Johnston (Ph.D. – Mississippi State University), Senior Vice President for Administrative Affairs, University of Montevallo
  6. Robert C. Mock, Jr. (Ed.D. – University of Arkansas at Little Rock), Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Kentucky
  7. Linda K. Rinker (Ed.D. – Columbia University Teachers College), Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Davenport University
  8. Marwan A. Wafa (Ph.D. – Clemson University), Vice Chancellor and Dean, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus
  9. Renva H. Watterson (Ed.D. – University of Arkansas), Interim President, Georgia Highlands College

The candidate applications can be downloaded at

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. The consultants will attend Thursday’s committee meeting to provide additional information about the candidates.  Thursday’s committee meeting will be webcast live at  All meetings of the search committee are open to the public.

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.