LSU Interim President Previews Upcoming Year

Feb 5, 2021, 08:53 AM

LSU’s interim president, Thomas Galligan, spoke to faculty and staff at LSUA on the school’s plan for the upcoming year and also met with legislators ahead of the 2021 Legislative Session.

Galligan said the main priorities he is focusing on is trying to improve student life on all LSU campuses and receiving more financial support for higher education.

LSUA is looking to add a Student Success Center to help attract more students to the campus after already setting back-to-back enrollment records. The university is hoping to have 5,000 students enrolled by 2025.

The eight million dollar facility would hold the offices for admissions, advising and career services. LSUA began a capital campaign in 2019 for the project and raised $2.5 million before COVID-19 slowed down the process. The school is hoping to raise more money and also receive support from the state level to get the facility.

 “It’ll be a magnet to students on campus. It will be a place to go to access the services that they need. We really want to get this project built because it’s crucial to recruitment, retention and career planning,” said Galligan.

Galligan added that he wants to work with the state legislators to try and get more funding to give salary increases to the faculty members.

District 28 State Representative Daryl Deshotel said because of the efforts that teachers and staff have put in last year dealing with COVID-19, they should receive more money.

“We’ve asked teachers, faculty and staff to change the way they operate. We’ve asked them to learn new techniques and asked them to learn new methods of teachings. It’s important that they be rewarded because I think they’ve done a fabulous job,” said Deshotel.

Last year Governor Edwards and the legislature took out $100 million from the CARES Act and designated it to support higher education. Galligan is hoping that the legislators push Congress to get more relief packages aimed for schools again this year.

“Congress hasn’t acted to provide that money again to state and local governments so they have to deal with what they are going to do with that $100 million. We hope Congress will step in and say we will do this so that we can allow the states to support higher education,” Galligan said.

Galligan said budget stability is a challenge to maintain every year and 2021 will certainly prevent its own challenges. He anticipates the budget being cut and is trying to work with those on the state level to avoid those cuts.

Don Pierson, the Secretary for Louisiana Economic Development, said, “Education is certainly a priority in our state and Governor Edwards has been very aggressive in working with all of our four-year institutions. We are making sure that the things LSUA wants to achieve moving forward are front and center.”

 The state officials are hoping to take a lot of the ideas and discussions from the meeting at LSUA and carry that momentum into the 2021 Legislative Session.

By: Dylan Domangue, KALB