University of Florida associate dean selected after nationwide search
Ben Beaumont – Director of Communications, University of Arkansas System
LITTLE ROCK – University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt will nominate Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, associate dean of the Graduate School and director of the Office of Minority Programs at the University of Florida, to serve as the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Alexander was among the finalists in a nationwide search for a new chancellor conducted by Bobbitt and an advisory search committee of UAPB faculty, staff, alumni and supporters. Bobbitt will recommend Alexander for the position at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas that will be conducted by phone later this week.
“I’m pleased to nominate Dr. Laurence Alexander, who I believe has the right combination of experience and enthusiasm to help shape a positive, successful future for UAPB,” Bobbitt said. “Dr. Alexander understands the important role that UAPB plays in the higher education portfolio of our state and in the Pine Bluff community. It’s a university that has grown and developed throughout the past two decades, and I am excited about the leadership Dr. Alexander will provide to help the campus and its students, faculty and staff achieve at the highest levels. While we know there will be challenges ahead, I look forward to working with Dr. Alexander to ensure a successful future for UAPB.”
Alexander, who is a distinguished teaching scholar and a professor in the Department of Journalism at Florida, chairs the Graduate Curriculum Committee and directs more than 20 student development and funding programs, including the UF McKnight Doctoral Fellowships and the National Science Foundation LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate.
He also leads the Graduate School’s program in recruitment, retention, success and graduation of underrepresented minority students. Previously, he served as chair of the Department of Journalism at the University of Florida and coordinator of journalism in the English Department at the University of New Orleans.
“It’s a high honor to be nominated as the next chancellor of UAPB,” Alexander said. “This university has a proud history as an HBCU that’s committed to student success and academic excellence. I am humbled by the nomination and encouraged by the outstanding opportunity facing UAPB, the Pine Bluff community and the state of Arkansas. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community and state leaders to advance the institution to the next level of academic excellence.”
A native of New Orleans, Alexander received a bachelor’s degree in drama and communications from the University of New Orleans, master’s degree in journalism and communications from the University of Florida, Juris Doctor from Tulane University and Ph.D. in higher education from Florida State University.
He and his wife, Veronica, also a native of New Orleans, have three sons, Brandon, David and Tyler. David and Tyler are college students and Brandon, a Santa Fe College academic adviser, and his wife, Vanessa, are the parents of Alexander’s grandchildren, Jonathan and Allie. Veronica Alexander currently serves as the director of human resources for the University of Florida Foundation.
“My family and I are excited to get to know everyone at the university and in the Pine Bluff community, and we are anxious to join the traditions of the family of supporters of the Golden Lions,” Alexander said.
Upon approval of the board of trustees, Alexander will succeed Dr. Calvin Johnson, who has served as interim chancellor of UAPB since April 2012. It is anticipated that Alexander will begin his tenure by July 1.
“I’m grateful to Dr. Calvin Johnson for his guidance and steady leadership of UAPB during the past year,” Bobbitt said. “He has served UAPB, Pine Bluff and our state with honor and distinction throughout his outstanding career.”
About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff:
An 1890 land-grant institution, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is the second-oldest public university and the only public historically black institution in Arkansas. The institution’s historic mission is to teach in areas related to agriculture and the mechanical arts, as well as scientific and classical studies and help solve economic, agricultural and other problems in the community, state and region. For more information visit www.uapb.edu.