Louisiana Appoints Kim Hunter Reed as 1st Black Woman Commissioner of Higher Education

After a months-long search, the current Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Kim Hunter Reed, is returning to her home state as the next Commissioner of Higher Education in Louisiana.

Reed will be the first Black woman to hold the position and oversee policy governing the state’s public colleges and more than 200,000 students.

“This is an honor, this is an opportunity,” Reed told the Louisiana Board of Regents moments after she was selected. 

“I want you to know I will take this responsibility very seriously…you will have my best work every day.”

The Board of Regents, with whom Reed worked for eight years earlier in her career, oversees higher education in Louisiana, including the boards that run LSU, Southern, the University of Louisiana System and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. She served as the deputy commissioner for public affairs there from 2000 – 2004, then chief of staff for the board from 2008 – 2012.

“You have deep roots here in Louisiana,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a brief ceremony in his office. “I believe it is a perfect fit.” He went on to say that Reed understands the link between higher education and economic development.

“You get that,” he told her.

In addition to her roles at the Board of Regents, Reed served as executive vice president for the University of Louisiana System, an adjunct professor at Southern University, a deputy chief of staff for former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, and as Executive Vice President of the University of Louisiana System.

Her appointment comes at a time where Louisiana colleges and universities are threatened by budget cuts in the upcoming financial year that begins on July 1, 2018.

Rachel Hampton

Communications and Special Projects Associate

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