On Oct. 25, President of Grambling State University Richard Gallot Jr. was announced as the next President of the University of Louisiana System.
Gallot will move into his new role on Jan. 1, 2024. That same day, Jim Henderson, the current ULS president, will begin serving as president of Louisiana Tech.
In July of 2016 Gallot was named the 10th president of Grambling State University. Gallot has also served as a Louisiana senator, three terms in the Louisiana House of Representatives and as a member of the Grambling City Council.
Gallot will be the first Gramblinite and the second African American to hold the ULS president position. Gallot has served as president of Grambling State for seven years.
A Grambling native, Gallot is a pillar in the Grambling community and will have a voice in who will succeed him.
“One of the things I will be looking to do is ensure that my successor is not only qualified, but will be a good fit — someone who understands the culture,” Gallot said.
Gallot will work alongside Elizabeth Pierre, Chair of the University of Louisiana System Board, to select his successor. A presidential search committee is slated to hold its first meeting on Nov. 17 on the GSU campus.
Under Gallot’s leadership, Grambling State University has seen sustained growth and development. Grambling State also remains an educational juggernaut as the University’s nursing program recently notched a perfect NCLEX pass rate for the second year in a row.
Grambling State athletics programs have also entered a renaissance in recent years. Grambling’s soccer, men’s basketball and baseball teams have won Southwestern Athletic Conference champions in their most recently completed seasons
“The pursuit of excellence will have to be the standard, does that mean we will always achieve it? Probably not,” Gallot said on maintaining the level of play Grambling athletics teams have achieved in recent years.
“When you look across the landscape of the Southwestern Athletic Conference the level of competition across the board has risen.”
Putting students in the spotlight and watching them succeed has also been a top priority for Gallot. His commitment to preparing GSU students is apparent in not only his words but his actions.
Looking back fondly on his time as GSU’s president, Gallot reminisced on watching his students shine.
“Just to see students being successful has been the most rewarding thing that I have done here,” Gallot said. “It is some of the most rewarding work I have had the privilege of doing in my entire professional career.”
With Henderson moving to Louisiana Tech and Gallot leaving Grambling there will be a period of transition for the leaders in their new roles.
“Transition is not always a bad thing if we select the right leaders to move us forward,” Gallot said.
“I’m very optimistic that things will go well. We will always put the students first. I think the only difference here at Grambling was 5,000 (students) and in the University of Louisiana System it is over 80,000.”
Richard Gallot Sr., the father of Gallot Jr., was a mayor of the City of Grambling, and owned a local barbershop near campus before his death in February of 2023, so the ties between the university and the city of Grambling run deep for the Gallot family.
“I never in a million years thought I would be president,” Gallot said of his years at the helm of GSU. “Each day was like an adventure.”