NATCHITOCHES, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Interim Northwestern State University president Marcus D. Jones has been selected by the University of Louisiana System board to take on the position permanently, becoming the first Black president in the university’s history.

Marcus Jones was unanimously selected Monday as the 20th president for the Natchitoches school and its more than 10,000 students by the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors.

“Marcus is an authentic leader of character, integrity, and vision. His familiarity with the community, his passion for student success and his commitment to excellence will advance our alma mater for the next generation,” UL System President Jim Henderson said in a statement.

The search for the new president started after the former NSU president, Dr. Chris Maggio, announced his retirement from the role in July.

The UL system search committee had narrowed its selections down to two finalists for the position. Jones and Kim M. LeDuff, who is currently serving as Vice President of Academic Engagement and Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of West Florida-Pensacola.

Jones has worked at Northwestern for 23 years, as a professor of business law and international business; vice president for university affairs; and executive vice president for university and business affairs. Most recently, he’s been interim president since July.

“Northwestern is home to me. I know Northwestern and Northwestern knows me,” Jones said in a statement.

A native of Winnfield, Jones was one of two finalists chosen by the presidential search committee. He has an undergraduate degree from Northwestern, a master’s degree from Grambling State University and a law degree from Southern University.

“Mr. Jones is a testament to Louisiana’s higher education institutions. Mr. Jones has served the NSU community for many years, and I have no doubt he will continue to succeed in his new role,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement congratulating the new president.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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