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Pierre named chancellor of Southern University and A&M College

The Southern University System Board of Supervisors today named John K. Pierre as the chancellor of Southern University and A&M College.
“As a higher education advocate, I am honored that the SUS Board of Supervisors and search committee are confident in my ability to champion and lead the Southern University and A&M University College,” said John Pierre, who is currently chancellor of the Southern University Law Center and SU System interim executive vice president. “I am committed to advancing the university’s mission and fostering partnerships that will position our students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni to serve as transformational change agents.”
The Board’s approval comes at the recommendation of Southern University System President Dennis J. Shields, who appointed a search committee composed of Southern alumni, students, faculty and staff, and community leaders. The committee received applications from a national search firm.
“He (Pierre) and I have worked together closely over the last six months,” Shields said prior to the Board’s vote. “What the Board should know is that I knew and knew of John Pierre for many years before I arrived here. And, I held him in high regard due to my role in legal education. I think you’ve heard it from faculty and others about the impression he has left on this campus in an interim (executive vice president) position. I can’t imagine anybody better suited to sit in this role at this point in time.”
Pierre has devoted his career to molding leaders and championing innovation. Since 1990, he has served in faculty and administrative roles at Southern University Law Center. In 2016, he was chosen to serve as the chancellor of the Law Center. Under his tutelage, the Southern University Law Center has thrived as a global legal institution. Year after year, it is recognized for its diversity, world-class faculty, and racial justice efforts. As a progressive leader and visionary, he advocates for technology advancements, community outreach initiatives, and strategic partnerships that ensure access and opportunity are provided to all.
In 2023, the Southern University System Board of Supervisors tapped Pierre to serve as the interim executive vice president for the Southern’s Baton Rouge campus.
“Chancellor Pierre will be a transformational leader that will guide us beyond our expectations,” said Myron K. Lawson, chairman of the Board.
Before joining academia, from 1986 to 1990, Pierre served his country as a Judge Advocates General Corps Officer (JAG) for the United States Army. In addition, Pierre was involved in the Baton Rouge school desegregation case as co-counsel for the Baton Rouge Branch of the NAACP in Davis v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. He was also co-counsel in the landmark case of McWaters v. FEMA.
Pierre consistently inspires legal professionals and thought leaders around the globe. He has earned numerous awards for his leadership, innovative strategy, and tireless efforts within the legal and professional realm, including Educator of the Year from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Top 10 Most Dominant HBCU Leaders from The HBCU Campaign Fund. Hampton University, the Baton Rouge Bar Association, and the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus are just a few of the organizations that have bestowed honors upon Pierre throughout his career. Also, his alma mater, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, has named him a Distinguished Alumni. Pierre has served as a contributing panelist during national discussions with the Peggy Browning Fund, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the National Pre-Law Summit, and more.
Pierre received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southern University in 1980, a master’s degree in tax accounting from Texas Tech University in 1982, and a juris doctor degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law in 1985.
Pierre will begin his term as chancellor of Southern University and A&M College once a contract is approved by the Southern University System Board of Supervisors. His official start date is forthcoming