Belton to lead Southern University System

“We are pleased with the outcome of the search for the SU System president/chancellor. The search committee’s work was expedient and exemplary. We welcome Dr. Ray Belton whose tenure will signal the beginning of the next era for the only HBCU system in America.” – Leon Tarver, PhD 

Getting to know Ray Belton, PhD
Compiled by Leslie D. Rose

On July 1, Ray Belton, PhD will assume his new role as president and chancellor of Southern University, overseeing both the Baton Rouge campus and the overall Southern system. His appointment comes by way of a June 12, 13-1 vote over Ivory Toldson, PhD, deputy director for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The Decision

In a report, it is noted that the board’s favoring of Belton is due to his wealth of experience.

In his preceding position, Belton served as chancellor of Southern’s Shreveport campus. He has spent 27 years working his way up from Southern University faculty member to chancellor of the two-year Shreveport campus.

Belton, 62, is also a graduate of Southern University at Shreveport and Southern University in Baton Rouge. He has a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

“I think I’m almost a by-product of what our mission speaks to,” a report quoted Belton.

Belton’s Quality

Belton was appointed the sixth chancellor of the SUSLA campus in 2000, after previously holding positions as director, department head, associate professor, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, and executive vice chancellor, as well as a member of the faculty, serving as Faculty Senate president.

During his tenure as chancellor of the Shreveport campus, the university has enjoyed unprecedented growth resulting in an enrollment increase of over 156 percent. The campus has been nationally recognized as both the 22nd fastest-growing institution of its size and as one of the best performing institutions in the country.

At present, the institution’s graduation rate has doubled and the University has realized extraordinary success in shaping opportunities for high school students and fostering economic and workforce development initiatives for the community to include the establishment of a Center for Business Development and Incubation.

The University also initiated the establishment of an ASN program in Nursing and expanded the academic inventory of allied health offerings that average first time passage rates of over 90 percent on national registries.

Over the last 14 years, the University has acquired over 34 million to support capital improvements on campus, to include, academic structures, student centers and the first time development of student apartments.

“I am both humbled and honored to have been selected as the president/chancellor of the Southern University A&M System, the nation’s only historically black university system,” Belton was quoted. “For over a century, the Southern University System has prepared students to compete and make global impacts. I am eager to begin working with all of our campuses and look forward to our System continuing to evolve and make even greater footprints here and beyond.”

Future Plans

As a by-product and an experienced leader, Belton said his first priority will be to figure out the new model for serving as president and chancellor – a combined position only recently created by the Southern University System – and what that will mean for operations on the Baton Rouge campus and at the system level.

He said the work will begin through building a leadership team that will advance the evolution of the Southern University System, making it known for its contributions to Louisiana, and the nation.

“It is an absolute honor to be afforded this occasion to serve this Board and to serve this institution to whom I remain indebted,” he said. “As president and chancellor of the Southern University System, I will give my all.”



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