F. King Alexander, a prominent national advocate for advancing equal opportunity for all people through public higher education, became Oregon State University’s 15th president on July 1, 2020. President Alexander brings 20 years of success as a university president to OSU, where he is continuing the transformative momentum and impact that Oregon State University -- Oregon’s largest university -- has realized over the past two decades.
President Alexander is noted for his commitment to inclusive excellence among students, faculty and staff; his drive to provide access and an affordable education to all learners; and his support for the teaching, research and outreach mission of the land grant university. He has provided Congressional testimony on barriers to equal opportunity for college students, college affordability and the use of federal incentives to help reverse the national decline in state support for public higher education.
As OSU’s president, he is working with students, faculty, staff, alumni and stakeholders to advance a safe, welcome, just and inclusive university community; provide further success for all graduate and undergraduate students; advance support for OSU’s excellent faculty and staff in teaching, scholarship, research and outreach; further enhance OSU’s legacy of more than 150 years of service to all of Oregon; and build on the momentum and achievements guided by past President Emeritus Ed Ray over the past two decades.
President Alexander succeeds Edward J. Ray, who served as president of the university from July 2003 through June 2020. Ray is now president emeritus at Oregon State and a professor of economics in the College of Liberal Arts.
Prior to his arrival at Oregon State, President Alexander served as president and chancellor of Louisiana State University from July 2013 through December 2019. Under his leadership, LSU’s 2018-19 graduating class set records for the number of in-state and out-of-state graduates, as well as females, African Americans, Hispanics, first-generation students and Pell Grant recipients, along with graduates who previously served in the U.S. military. These LSU graduates are among the nation’s lowest in terms of student loan indebtedness with more than half graduating with no student loan debt.
President Alexander also served as president of California State University, Long Beach from January 2006 to June 2013 and president of Murray State University in Kentucky from September 2001 to December 2005.
Throughout his career, President Alexander has been honored and recognized for his leadership. He received the Stephen J. Trachtenberg Award for Leadership in Higher Education in 2017 from the American Association of University Administrators; was selected as the California State University President of the Year in 2009-10 and 2011-12 by the California State University Students Association; received the Humanitarian Award by the California Conference for Equity and Justice in 2013; and was named to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame in 2016.
He also received the Leadership in Higher Education Award from the Long Beach Chapter of NAACP in 2008; the Excellence in Higher Education Service Award from the Community Hispanic Association’s 12th annual Nuestra Imagen (Our Image) Awards; and the Award of Appreciation for Outstanding Dedication to International Human Rights from the Cambodia town Association in Long Beach.
President Alexander, a tenured professor in OSU’s College of Education, is the author of “The American Higher Education Dilemma: State Disinvestment, Student Indebtedness, and the Decline of Human Capital Development,” which is scheduled for publication in spring 2021. He has also co-authored the 2015 book “Financing Public Schools: Theory, Policy and Practice” and the 2003 book “Maximizing Revenue in Higher Education” with Ronald Ehrenberg.
He holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; a master’s degree in educational studies and comparative education policy from the University of Oxford; and a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where he was a member of the men’s basketball team.
President Alexander is a Kentucky native who grew up in Gainesville, Florida. The “F.” in his name stands for Fieldon, which is a family name, as King is as well. He and his wife, Shenette, have three adult daughters, Kylie, Savannah and Madison. The Alexanders reside in the university president’s residence in Corvallis.