|James Braswell "Jim" Henderson|
President of the
University of Louisiana System
|Assumed office |
January 1, 2017
|Preceded by||Daniel Dugan Reneau, Jr. (interim for Sandra Woodley)|
January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2016
|Preceded by||Randall Webb|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Christopher "Chris" Maggio|
President of Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City
2009 – December 31, 2014
|Succeeded by||Rick Bateman, Jr.|
|Born|| January 28, 1970|
Resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Political party||No Party|
|Spouse(s)|| Tonia Istre Henderson|
|Alma mater|| Northwestern State University|
University of West Florida
James Braswell Henderson, known as Jim Henderson (born January 28, 1970), has been since January 1, 2017, the 18th president of the Baton Rouge-based University of Louisiana System, which governs nine institutions of higher learning across Louisiana and is one of the twenty largest educational consortiums in the United States.
A Shreveport native, Henderson graduated in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in English and journalism from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, one of the UL System schools which he would later serve as the president for two years. He earned a master’s degree in administration from the University of West Florida at Pensacola, Florida, and a Ph.D. in management from the University College of the University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland. His wife, the former Tonia Istre (born October 1, 1972), is also an NSU graduate and has been an executive in television advertising and sales. They have three children, Reagan, Nicholas and Alexander.
Henderson succeeded the late Randall Webb as the NSU president. Under his leadership, NSU established new and realigned academic programs designed to serve students in finding available jobs in the workforce. His tenure was highlighted by upgraded campus facilities, expanded marketing initiatives, innovative recruitment programs, and increases in alumni engagement and fund-raising.
Prior to the NSU presidency, Henderson was the chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City located across the Red River from Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana. Under Henderson's six years at BPCC, enrollment grew by 86 percent. He succeeded the late Randall Webb as the NSU president. Prior to his BPCC position, he was from 2005 to 2009 the senior vice president for career and technical education for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System; enrollment in that system grew by 98 percent while Henderson was the senior vice president. From 2001 to 2005, Henderson was the director of Administration and Workforce Development for the Louisiana Department of Labor in Baton Rouge. Prior to 2001, he was employed in hotel management.
After a national search, only Henderson's name was submitted for the UL System presidency, and the supervisors chose him in a unanimous vote. He succeeded Daniel Dugan Reneau, Jr., a former president of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, who had been the interim system presidentsince Sandra Woodley resigned in 2015. Reneau said that Henderson's "career has uniquely prepared him for this role. Higher education in Louisiana is facing some of its most challenging times, and I think the board made an excellent selection to best position the system to combat the challenges ahead.” During his time as the NSU president, Henderson worked to increase enrollment. Upon his appointment as UL System president, he expressed "a deep sense of humility and appreciation...even though I obviously have some mixed emotions about leaving a university that has been such an important part of my life.”
Henderson described his educational philosophy as one that starts and ends with students," rather than the "policy environment" of higher education. He indicated that he will visit all nine campuses on a regular basis and will seeking ways to get students more involved in the universities. He proposed that a student advisory council be established on each campus to meet with board members. He promised to work to reduce the "spiraling increase in out-of-pocket costs on our students. We are making [college] unaffordable to a big population of the state."
In April 2018, Henderson said in a KEEL radio interview that the popular Taylor Opportunity Scholarship Program could face funding cuts but added: "Nobody wants to cut TOPS. It's just figuring out how we're going to get to that place." Henderson said that the 2018 state budget deficit could range from $600 million to $900 million but noted "indications of growth in the Louisiana economy that could drive that number lower."
In May 2018, Henderson called upon Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards to veto a budget approved by the state House of Representatives. Under the plan, operating expenses for several state departments will be slashed, and the Taylor Opportunity Program Scholarships would cover only 70 percent of tution, instead of 100 percent since the inception of the program. The budget would provide money for nursing home residents and for safety-net hospitals. Henderson said that he believes this particular budget will be devastating to higher education. Edwards a few hours later did veto the budget. A few weeks later, Edwards, with the acquiescence of Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras of New Iberia, obtained the retention of .45 percent of the temporary one-cent sales tax and announced a budget that restored full TOPS funding and no cuts in higher education, measures which Henderson hailed as "a beautiful day for Louisiana families."
- James Henderson, 70810, January 1970. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on February 19, 2018.
- James B. Henderson. Mylife.com. Retrieved on February 18, 2018.
- Henderson named president of University of Louisiana. Natchitoches Parish Journal (October 6, 2016). Retrieved on February 18, 2018.
- Leigh Guidry (October 6, 2016). Henderson named UL System president. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on February 18, 2018.
- Robert J. Wright and Erin McCarty (April 5, 2018). Dr. Jim Henderson: Colleges and universities always in the crosshairs. KEEL Radio.
- Dr. Henderson to Governor: 'Don't sign this budget'. KEEL Radio. Retrieved on May 18, 2018.
- Greg Hilburn (May 18, 2018). Governor Edwards vetoes budget bill. The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved on May 19, 2018.
- Robert J. Wright (June 25, 2018). Jim Henderson On New Sales Tax, TOPS Funding (video). KEEL Radio. Retrieved on June 26, 2018.