Ray and successor express excitement following president-elect announcement

Archived Photo of Oregon State University President F. King Alexander

Michael Eubanks, News Contributor

Correction: This article had previously gotten F. King Alexander’s start date incorrect. This issue has been resolved.

Members of the OSU community gathered in the Memorial Union’s Horizon room Friday morning to watch the university’s Board of Trustees unanimously vote for and introduce F. King Alexander, Ph.D, as the new president of the institution.

Alexander, who is the current president of Louisiana State University, entered the room to a standing ovation before giving a short introduction speech. He will succeed current president Edward Ray on Jul. 1, 2020.

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“I’ve had the privilege to work with President Ray in Washington D.C. on many issues that have impacted Oregon State and other public universities around the country for the last two decades,” Alexander said in his speech. “We’ve been on the same side of the trench.”

Following the board meeting, Ray and Alexander attended a public reception held in the M.U.’s main lounge, where Ray gave a short speech congratulating Alexander and presented him with an OSU Pendleton blanket as a gift. 

Alexander then gave another brief speech during the reception before both left the podium to speak one-on-one with members of the OSU community, during which Alexander expressed excitement over his new opportunity. 

“It’s a great day for us,” Alexander said. “I have a few mixed emotions because of all of the great people at LSU, but looking forward to the challenges that this poses for us, and building on this great reputation of this great institution. It’s very, very exciting to be here and to be part of the Beaver Nation.

Alexander said he knows how great OSU has been, as he has taught higher education history and policy and finance, and he has previously advocated for higher education reform in Washington D.C.

“I just look forward to working with all of our students and building on all of the success that has currently gone on.”

Though the announcement meant that Ray’s tenure as the longest-serving president in OSU history was about to end, he expressed no feelings of sadness because he said he believes Alexander was the perfect candidate to lead OSU in the next decade.

“There’s nothing bittersweet about it. You can’t fool father time. I’m going to be 76 next September,” Ray said. “There obviously is a lot to do and a lot of promises and possibilities unfilled, and we need someone to come in and be here another 10 or 15 years and pick up the baton and run with it, and I think we got the right guy. It’s not bittersweet at all. It’s very positive.”

Ray also said he was excited to see how his successor would fare at the helm, and looked forward to seeing how Alexander performed. 

“I’m enthusiastic about what I know he’s going to be able to accomplish,” Ray said. “He’s got values and principles that really align with us as a community.”

Ray will continue his time at OSU as a professor of economics for the College of Liberal Arts.