Northwestern State University in Louisiana made history Monday when it appointed Marcus Jones the first Black president in its 137-year history.
Jones was unanimously selected as the 20th president for the school and its 10,000 students by the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors. Jones, a professor of business law and international business, has worked at Northwestern State for more than two decades.
UL System President Jim Henderson had nothing but praise for Jones, calling him a leader and a visionary.
“Marcus is an authentic leader of character, integrity, and vision. His familiarity with the community, his passion for student success, and his commitment to excellence will advance our alma mater for the next generation,” Henderson said according to the Associated Press.
During his time at Northwestern State, Jones has also served as vice president for university affairs and executive vice president for university and business affairs.
Jones, a native of Winnfield, La., holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and advanced degrees from HBCUs Grambling State and Southern University, where he was the managing editor of the Southern Law Review.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Jones is paramount to the state’s higher education system and mission.
“Congratulations to the new president of Northwestern State University Marcus Jones, who is making history today as the first Black president of the university,” Edwards said in a university release. “Earning his undergraduate degree at Northwestern, his master’s degree at Grambling, and his law degree at Southern, Mr. Jones is a testament to Louisiana’s higher education institutions. Mr. Jones has served the NSU community for many years, and I have no doubt he will continue to succeed in his new role.”
Jones, who has been the interim president since July, is excited about his future at Northwestern State.
“Northwestern is home to me. I know Northwestern and Northwestern knows me,” Jones said in a statement. “This is about fit and timing for Northwestern, and I will hit the ground running.”