Willie D Larkin3

Willie D. Larkin, named as the ninth president of Grambling State University.

The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana (UL) System named Willie D. Larkin, chief of staff to the president of Morgan State University, as the ninth president of Grambling State University June 5.

“The Board was looking for a visionary leader for Grambling, and I think they found it in Dr. Larkin,” said UL System President and Search Committee Chair Sandra Woodley in a statement. “We will work with him in the transition and continue to support his efforts to help Grambling reach its potential.”

Interviewers noted Larkin’s leadership and collaboration skills, which he sharpened in his decade of service as chief of staff to David Wilson – first in his position as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin College and the University of Wisconsin Extension, then as president of Morgan State University; as well as his experiences with the Faculty Senate and University Senate at Auburn University.

“I’ve been working for this my entire life,” Larkin said of his appointment.

Hailing from an agricultural rural background, the oldest of eight children and born to uneducated parents, Larkin said he believes he can be an inspiration to the students at Grambling. The former Kellogg Fellow earned his doctorate in agricultural education extension from Ohio State University, where he specialized in 4-H and youth development. He earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Tuskegee University.

“I think I’m a great leader. I think I have a great influence on people. So I’d like to come to Grambling and get an opportunity to demonstrate that my kind of leadership works, my inspiration works, my enthusiasm, my motivation and I think that I can lead by example,” he said in the statement.

Wilson, in a letter to the Morgan community, also expressed congratulations to his former right hand.

“While we will miss him here at Morgan, we congratulate him on this terrific leadership opportunity, and we wish Grambling much success under his leadership,” Wilson said.