UL board taps former Louisiana Tech leader as interim system president _lowres

Advocate file photo by Liz Condo -- Daniel Reneau is pictured here in 2010 while he was serving as chancellor at Louisiana Tech. He was voted Thursday as interim president of the University of Louisiana System.

For the time being, the University of Louisiana System will be led by a familiar face: Daniel Reneau, the former longtime president of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.

The system’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Thursday to hire Reneau as interim president. Reneau retired from Louisiana Tech in 2013 after 26 years at the helm.

He replaces outgoing system President Sandra Woodley, who announced last month that she will step down at the end of the year and remain on staff in an advisory capacity through March.

Reneau’s appointment had immediate implications for the University of New Orleans, where rumors about alternative succession plans had circulated among the faculty.

Many faculty members thought the UL board was considering UNO’s own designated interim leader, Randy Moffett, to be the temporary system president. And that notion apparently had some merit. The UL board considered both Moffett and Reneau before the members went into closed-door discussions of the appointment.

The possibility of Moffett getting the promotion caused jitters about his potential replacement at UNO, and the UNO Faculty Senate took the pre-emptive step this week of passing a no-confidence vote in the school’s vice president for business affairs, Gregg Lassen, whom many expected to be next in line as the school’s interim president, replacing the retired Peter Fos.

Lassen has been at UNO since 2013. Wednesday’s resolution, which passed 30-0, said Lassen has been unable to provide “viable strategies for dealing effectively with UNO’s budgetary struggles” and accused him of demonstrating “troubling signs of disengagement.”

Moffett was named UNO’s interim president in October after Fos said he would retire in January. His four-year tenure has been marked by steep funding cuts and dwindling enrollment.

Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.