Tom Galligan withdraws name from search for LSU’s next president

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 9:17 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU Interim President Tom Galligan will no longer seek to become the next president of LSU, he announced on Twitter Tuesday, April 20.

Galligan, who was the leader of Louisiana’s flagship university during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic and when a bombshell report was released about how LSU mishandled sexual assault cases on campus for years, will return to the LSU Law Center full time.

Galligan was named interim president when former LSU President F. King Alexander left the university to become president of Oregon State University in 2019.

Alexander resigned as president of Oregon State University on March 23 amid an outpouring of criticism of how he handled sexual misconduct complaints while president of LSU.

LSU Title IX Report

Galligan issued the following letter to the university Tuesday morning:

Dear Friends,

As the search for a permanent president moves to the critical stages, I have given much thought to the future, what is best for LSU, and what is best for me and my family.

When I first arrived at LSU in 1986 as a faculty member at LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center, I learned very quickly how much I loved teaching and writing about my subjects: torts and admiralty. My tenure as Interim President marks the longest period of my higher education career that I have not been in the classroom. To say that I miss teaching very much is an understatement.

Life brings about many moments of reflection and transition, some that require you to rethink your priorities. Many of you know, though many may not, that my family experienced a great tragedy in the months immediately preceding my taking this position. Our middle daughter, Aisling, was diagnosed with a very aggressive and rare form of non-small cell lung cancer in October 2018 during her second year of medical school at Brown University, and passed away in August 2019. It was a time when our family needed to continue to band together, and we did. Just a few months after Aisling died, the Board of Supervisors asked me to consider accepting the role of Interim President. I did so eagerly, but I had no idea how much change lay ahead.

It has been exciting and challenging but since the onslaught of the pandemic, we have not been able to see our children or our 14-month old grandson as much as we would have liked. We were finally able to go to New Hampshire a few weeks ago to see our grandchild for the first time since he was seven days old. I do not have to tell you how special that was, and it was during that wonderful visit when I began reflecting on what is most important and realized that it was time for me to make a change. It is now time for us to be able to spend more time together.

So, given both personal and professional considerations, I have decided it is time for me to return to the Law Center and spend more time with my family and my students. Consequently, I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the presidential search, though I will remain onboard as Interim President while the university completes its selection process.

It has been and continues to be an honor to serve LSU as Interim President, and I look forward to working with whomever is selected to fill the seat permanently. Thank you for all your hard work, dedication and support.

Tom Galligan

Interim LSU President and Professor of Law

Galligan will remain interim president while LSU completes the selection process for a permanent president.

The LSU Presidential Search Committee has a meeting Wednesday, April 21, at 3 p.m. It will be held at the Lod Cook Alumni Center but occupancy is limited due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

This is a developing story. WAFB will update this story when more information is available.

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