NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) - Dr. James Henderson was formally installed as Northwestern State University President Friday morning in Natchitoches.
Henderson assumed office as NSU president on January 1. He was unanimously elected Northwestern State's 18th president in September 2014, succeeding Dr. Randall J. Webb's 18-year administration.
"At NSU we are dedicated to one goal: yours," Dr. Henderson said during his address, explaining that it's more than a slogan that will be a beacon that guides us" in assisting students in meeting their goals in life.
Quoting Luke Chapter 12, "Who much has been given, much will be expected," Dr. Henderson expressed gratitude for the opportunity to lead the institution, and vowed to strive diligently to guide it to "become the nation's premiere regional university through innovative, transformative student learning that prepares graduates for life and career success."
Dr. Sandra Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System, performed the investiture.
Dignitaries of elected office, religious affiliation and the realm of academia also participated, along with media executive and Northwestern State alumnus Greg Ashlock, who was guest speaker.
The day began with an Investiture Mass of Thanksgiving at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Natchitoches, concelebrated by both the dioceses of Alexandria and Shreveport.
The Investiture Mass marked the first occasion that the university has been prominently included in a Mass celebrated concurrently by both dioceses, which until the 1980s were part of the one Diocese of Alexandria/Shreveport. Prior to 1910, both were part of the Diocese of Natchitoches, whose See was the Minor Basilica. The Most Rev. Ronald P. Herzog, Bishop of Alexandria, who was scheduled as principal celebrant but unable to attend due to health reasons, granted a dispensation to Catholics attending the Investiture celebration from the Lenten obligation of abstaining from meat.
Dr. Henderson has been a long-time and active member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Shreveport, and Natchitoches is within the Diocese of Alexandria.
The formal investiture was followed by a community reception at the Arnold R. Kilpatrick President's Residence.
Investiture is a formal ceremony marking the installation of a head of state or other roles of office, with the full robes and regalia that come with the office.
Prior to his appointment at NSU, Henderson was Chancellor at Bossier Parish Community College for 5 years.
Before becoming Chancellor, he served as a Senior Vice President for Workforce and Economic Development at the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
He has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from NSU, a master's degree in Human Performance Technology from the University of West Florida and a Doctor of Management from the University of Maryland.