The Southern University Board of Supervisors has four new board members, including former Tulane University President Eamon Kelly.
The other new board members appointed Thursday by Gov. Bobby Jindal are Republican Simsboro Mayor Willie Hendricks, Natchitoches car dealership President Calvin Braxton and Lake Charles minister Samuel Tolbert, who briefly served on the board in 2007 and 2008.
None are Southern graduates.
With the changes, the 16-member Southern Board no longer has any female board members.
Jindal reappointed New Orleans board member Richard Caiton, who recently became a maximum Jindal campaign contributor.
Southern board members who did not get reappointed are Walter Guidry, of Lake Charles; Lea Polk Montgomery, Baton Rouge; Achilles Williams, Bastrop; and Murphy Nash, Shreveport.
The appointments could strengthen Jindal’s influence over the Southern board.
Earlier this year, Jindal proposed merging Southern University at New Orleans with the University of New Orleans, but that measure was defeated.
Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. said he is looking forward to getting to know the new board members, although he already knows Kelly well.
Kelly first hired Mason at Tulane nearly 30 years ago, jumpstarting his career in higher education. Mason and Caiton, though, have butted heads during recent board meetings.
“I thought they (the departing board members) were all fine members of the board,” Mason said, “but I got to know Walter Guidry especially well.”
Guidry and Tolbert seem to be playing musical chairs on the Southern board.
In 2007, Gov. Kathleen Blanco took Guidry off the Southern board and appointed Tolbert, a former Lake Charles councilman and the current pastor for Greater St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church.
When Jindal took office in 2008, he would not submit Tolbert for Senate confirmation, which took him off the board.
Then Jindal reappointed Guidry.
Now, Jindal is putting Tolbert back on the board in place of Guidry.
Tolbert is not a Southern alumnus, but he is still a life member of the Southern University Alumni Federation.
Hendricks, a former Seattle resident who moved to Louisiana less than 10 years ago, is the senior vice president of Centric Federal Credit Union.
He also has become the mayor of Simsboro, near Ruston.
Braxton is president and CEO of the Braxton Land Co. and president of Natchitoches Ford-Lincoln-Mercury.
The Senate must decide whether to confirm or reject the newest appointments by the end of the legislative session on June 23.