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Ammons appointed as Southern University at New Orleans chancellor

The Southern University Board of Supervisors on Friday approved the appointment of James H. Ammons Jr. as the permanent chancellor of Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO). The appointment comes at the recommendation of System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton, who outlined the search process that included members of the SUNO community as an advisory committee — faculty, staff, students and alumni. The committee was chaired by Retired Lt. General Russel Honore'. 

“It was evident that the committee felt that Dr. Ammons could 'hit the ground running,’” said Belton during the Board’s January meeting. “He is aware of the challenges the University must navigate as well as opportunities that must be taken.”  

Ammons has been serving as interim chancellor of SUNO since November 2019. He served as executive vice president/executive vice chancellor for the Southern University System and Southern University Baton Rouge. Ammons has also previously served as president of North Carolina Central University and Florida A&M University (FAMU), respectively.   

Belton added, “I am confident in knowing that Dr. Ammons will bring able leadership that will guide the University in advancing its goals.” 

A native of Winter Haven, Florida, Ammons graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree in political science from FAMU in 1974. He was awarded the M.S. in public administration in 1975, and the Ph.D. in government in 1977 from Florida State University. In 2008, he completed the Corporate Governance: Effectiveness and Accountability in the Boardroom Executive Program at the Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. 

“After serving as interim chancellor for the past year, I have been able to see firsthand how beloved this institution is in the New Orleans community,” Ammons said. “I also see the potential for a strong and vibrant SUNO that will continue to be viewed as a trusted voice and a valued asset for New Orleans, the state of Louisiana and beyond.”  

Ammons began his teaching career in public policy and administration in 1977 as an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida.  In 1983, he became an associate professor of political science at FAMU and quickly moved up the ranks becoming vice president for Academic Affairs in 1995.  From 2001-2007, Ammons served as the ninth chancellor of North Carolina Central University. In 2007, Dr. Ammons was elected the 10th president of FAMU — a position he held until 2012.  

Ammons has served on 14 SACS accreditation committees and chaired the committees for North Carolina Central University, Norfolk State University, South Carolina State University and Clemson University. 

Among Ammons' many recognitions is an honorary doctorate from Wilberforce University awarded in 2015.