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It’s the End of an Era at LSU-Shreveport

Dr. Vincent Marsala, Retired LSU-S Chancellor, LSU-S Photo

LSU Shreveport Chancellor Dr. Vincent Marsala has retired, following a 45-year career with the university, including 17 years as chancellor. 

“Chancellor Vince Marsala has enjoyed an extraordinary career at LSU Shreveport,” said Dr. William L. Jenkins, Interim LSU System President.  “During his years as chancellor, he served with dedication, distinction, and determination notwithstanding the tremendous challenges, financial and otherwise, that he faced during his term of office.”

Jenkins on Tuesday appointed Dr. Paul Sisson, 47, LSUS Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, to serve as Interim Chancellor until a permanent replacement for Marsala is named.

In announcing Sisson’s appointment, Jenkins praised Sisson’s longtime service and experience.

“Dr. Sisson is a fine academician who has proved also to be an able administrator,” said Jenkins.  “He has contributed significantly to LSU Shreveport’s efforts to adapt to the changing environment that the institution will face in the coming years.  I have full confidence in his administrative abilities as he serves as Interim Chancellor during the months ahead.”

Jenkins added that the process to find Marsala’s successor would get underway when the fall semester begins in September.

Marsala, 76, was serving as LSUS dean of continuing education and public service in May 1995 when he was tapped by then LSU System President Allen Copping to become chancellor, succeeding John Darling, who stepped aside to rejoin the faculty.  At the time, Marsala was also an elected Caddo Parish commissioner.

As he took office, Marsala said his focus as chancellor would be to increase and improve degree options for students, goals that would mark his entire tenure as chancellor.

Marsala is a native of Monroe.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from Northeast Louisiana University and his Master’s degree in Government and Ph.D in Latin American Studies from LSU A&M.  He joined the faculty at LSU Shreveport in 1967 and held a variety of positions, ranging from classroom instructor to chancellor.  He taught Louisiana History, Louisiana Government, and Latin American History.

Marsala’s publications included an analysis of the political career of Louisiana U.S. Senator Joseph E. Ransdell of Lake Providence, who served in Congress at the turn of the 20th Century and who sponsored the Ransdell Act, which created the National Institutes of Health.  Marsala also edited, with Dr. Bill Pederson, a book entitled, “Abraham Lincoln: Sources and Style of Leadership.”

In addition, Marsala served on the Governor’s Higher Education Commission for the 21st Century, and in 1984 received a Fulbright Award for a Group Study Project to Costa Rica entitled, “The Social Context of Crisis in Central America.”

Marsala served as an elected Caddo Parish Commissioner from 1987-1991 and ran unopposed for a second term. He served as chair of CERT (Consortium for Education, Research and Technology) whose membership consists of all the CEO’s of all colleges and universities in North Louisiana from 1996-1998 and as CERT Treasurer until the time of his retirement.

Along with his academic duties, Marsala was a member of the South Shreveport Business Association, Committee of 100, KDAQ Public Radio, Alliance for Education, and the Strategic Action Council.  He also served as Chairman of the Economic Development Committee of the Committee of 100, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Conference of Louisiana Colleges and Universities (CLCU), and Chairman and Treasurer of CERT (Consortium for Education, Research & Technology).

Marsala also was a member of the Military Affairs Council at Barksdale Air Force Base; LSUS Foundation; National Conference for Community and Justice; the Community Foundation of Shreveport-Bossier City; National Conference for Community and Justice; and was a member of the Economic Development Cabinet. Education Cabinet, and the Legislative Policy Committee of the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.

In 1995 the Louisiana Association of Educational Office Personnel honored Marsala as “Administrator of the Year,” and in 1999 he received the first-ever “Pilot of the Year” award from the LSUS Alumni Association. On October 7, 2003, Marsala was named by Junior Achievement of North Louisiana to be a Laureate of the North Louisiana Business Hall of Fame.

Marsala and wife, Carol Ann, plan to make their retirement home in Shreveport.

“We owe both Vince and Carol Ann a great debt of gratitude for their many years of devoted service to LSU Shreveport and we wish them the very best as they enjoy their retirement years,” said Jenkins.

About Paul Sisson

Sisson, meanwhile, has served in multiple academic leadership roles over a nearly 20-year tenure at LSUS.  Not only is Sisson a Professor of Mathematics, but he is also Dean of the Graduate School as well as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Sisson, who joined LSUS in 1993, received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Physics from New Mexico Institute of Technology in 1987 and his PhD in Mathematics from the University of South Carolina in 1993.

Among his academic achievements, Sisson was named a full professor in 2003 and has served as Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science and Dean of the College of Sciences before being named Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in July 2008.

As LSUS Provost, Sisson directed the renovation and construction of new computer science classrooms; initiated the development of the Laboratory for Advanced Biomedical Informatics, an education and research collaboration that serves as a core facility for LSUS and 17 colleagues at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport; and directed the development of the LSUS Computer Information Systems degree program.

Sisson also guided the rapid expansion of the LSUS dual enrollment high school outreach effort, resulting in an increase from 12 to 950 students; initiated the process of revising all degree programs to reflect a 39 credit-hour general education core; and guided the campus through a prolonged sequence of massive budget cuts as part of the LSUS administrative team and a member of the Budget Crisis Committee.

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