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SU president-chancellor, who is from Shreveport, announces retirement

Dr. Ray L. Belton
Dr. Ray L. Belton
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 10:02 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Southern University System president and chancellor, Dr. Ray L. Belton, has announced his retirement.

Belton made the announcement to the Board of Supervisors Friday, July 16; he says his retirement will go into effect fall of 2022.

“By 2022, I will have served as a chief executive officer for more than 21 years, the first 14 years as chancellor of Southern University Shreveport and then, for seven years as president-chancellor for the System and SUBR,” Dr. Belton said. “This also will mark 35 years of service with the university. Over the course of my tenure, I have had the great fortune to work with some exceptionally talented colleagues. Together, I believe our work has enabled us to position the university in a manner that it will continue to be seen as a premier institution within the higher education community.”

Dr. Belton was SU’s first president-chancellor when the school combined the positions in 2015. During his time at the helm, a number of new programs and initiatives were launched. Recently, Belton oversaw the Southern Association of Schools - Commission on College’s reaffirmation of accreditation for the flagship campus in Baton Rouge. Also under Dr. Belton’s leadership, SU became one of only two universities in Louisiana to be given a license of grow medical marijuana. Southern is also the first HBCU to do so.

Enrollment, retention rates, and graduation rates have also seen increases during Dr. Belton’s time; the athletics program has also seen growth. The university has also seen infrastructure improvements with the establishment of the SU Innovation Center, the Jaguar Plaza sports complex, and upgrades to athletic facilities. Efforts are currently underway to build more than 750 student apartments and a new Student Union Complex.

“We are indebted to Dr. Belton for his many years of service and commitment to the cause of higher education in general, and the Southern University System in particular,” Southern University Board of Supervisors Chairman Domoine D. Rutledge said. “I have had the distinct pleasure of working very closely with him over the past two years as board chairman.  Invariably, his decision-making process reflected the best interest of the institution and the students we serve were always a priority.”

As Dr. Belton oversaw the university’s Shreveport campus, it saw enrollment grow more than 156%.

“As a proud son of the Southern, he has worked tirelessly to promote and enhance the enterprise and the institution he leaves, is demonstrably better than the one he inherited in every respect. I know I speak for the entirety of the Southern University family when extending well wishes to him and his family as he transitions into a well-earned retirement,” Rutledge added.

Dr. Belton is from Shreveport and graduated from SUSLA. He then continued his studies at Southern University A&M College, where he graduated first in his class. He earned his masters in counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and earned his doctorate of philosophy in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin. He’s also a tenured psychology professor.

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