Gov. John Bel Edwards is getting his first opportunity to make his mark at LSU.
In his most high-profile board appointments yet, he announced on Thursday two new faces to the LSU Board of Supervisors who will replace members appointed by former Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Edwards also reappointed Stephen Perry, the president of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, but moved him to an at-large seat from his current position representing the 2nd Congressional District.
The new appointees are James Williams, a New Orleans attorney, and Glenn Armentor, a Lafayette attorney who was an early supporter of Edwards during the gubernatorial campaign and held a major fundraiser for him in March 2015. They will represent the 2nd Congressional District and the 3rd Congressional District, respectively.
Williams will be one of two black members on the powerful board, which wields control over the state’s flagship campus and the rest of the LSU system. The board’s 16 members all are appointed by the governor, except for one spot reserved for a student.
The board often has been criticized for its lack of diversity. Ann Duplessis is the only gubernatorial appointee on the board who is black. The rest of Jindal’s appointees were white men.
The appointments begin June 2.
Terms for board members Hank Danos, Ray Lesseigne and Jack Lawton, who all work in the oil and gas industry, all expire June 1.
That means Edwards has one last appointment to the Board of Supervisors he has yet to announce.
The positions on the LSU Board of Supervisors are highly coveted. The members are not paid, but they get access to the 50-yard-line suite at Tiger Stadium for LSU football games and tickets to other athletic events. They also get to award 15 LSU scholarships every year of their six-year term.
The board appointments also are an opportunity for the governor to exert influence over the LSU system.
When Jindal appointees became a majority of the board, LSU quickly ousted several high-profile executives and top administrators who were well-known in the academic community.
The system president, main campus chancellor, the leader of LSU hospitals and the system’s top lawyer were gone in a matter of months.
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