Lafayette attorney Blake David was sworn in as chair of the Louisiana Board of Regents this week.
David will serve as Board of Regents Chairman for 2021. David is the founding partner of Broussard & David, L.L.C., where he is a practicing trial attorney and business owner. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from LSU and his Juris Doctorate from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Since becoming a Regent in 2019, Chairman David has served as Board Secretary as well as Chairman of the Finance Committee. His term expires in 2022.
Joining Chairman David on the Executive Committee are:
- T. Jay Seale III of Hammond, Vice Chair
- Sonia Perez of Baton Rouge, Secretary
“Now more than ever, Regents’ focus is on the students, potential students and their families, to meet the challenges and opportunities they face in earning a credential,” David said. “I look forward to serving as chair and continuing the collaborative work of this board with our education partners and stakeholders across the state so that we can ensure Louisiana prospers and we keep our focus on the goal of doubling our annual credentials conferred by 2030.”
“The new year provides great opportunity for higher education to accelerate its priorities while continuing to increase degree completions and support economic recovery,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “From the federal perspective, we are grateful for the stimulus funding, broadband support, and policy changes that will simplify the FASFA, increase Pell grants, advance prison education and ultimately support our efforts to increase attainment in our state.”
Several Board members also shared personal memories of former Regent Vic Stelly, who passed away from COVID-19 on December 26, 2020 remembering him for his passion, character and vision. Regent Marty J. Chabert shared that he attended the funeral on the Board’s behalf.
“Vic provided a sound, visionary management style and was a humble team player,” said Regent Randy Ewing. “The Stelly Plan stands today for fair, progressive policy and hopefully will be used as a roadmap in the future.”
“Those who knew Vic Stelly describe him as an over-achiever in everything he did,” said Regent Robert W. Levy. “He did all these things with passion, but Vic really preferred simple service. He didn’t seek the spotlight. He sought to do the right thing again and again, in everything he touched and in every way. His was a lifetime of service, and a record of excellence that we should all aspire to achieve.”
“I was Vic’s roommate in the legislature and experienced firsthand his character and his hard work,” said Regent Charles McDonald. “We need more men like Vic Stelly to lead our state.”
Joining Regents for the first time, Stephanie Finley, also of Lafayette, and Judy Williams-Brown were sworn in as new members, with terms to expire in 2026.
Regent Finley of Lafayette represents the 3rd Congressional District and replaces Gerald Theunissen. She is the first woman in Louisiana to have served as a United States Attorney, spending 7 years, 2010-2017, as the Western District’s chief law enforcement officer after her appointment by President Barack Obama. Finley is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel with more than 25 years of service as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force. She is currently a practicing attorney as well as a recognized public speaker, with an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Grambling State University and a Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center.
Regent Brown of Homer represents the 4th Congressional District and replaces Claudia Adley. She is Senior Vice President and Banking Center Manager for Origin Bank in Ruston, Louisiana. Brown graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance. She is a member of the Ruston Rotary Club and a graduate of Leadership Lincoln.
Regents Collis Temple III of Baton Rouge, representing the 6th Congressional District, and Phillip May, Jr. of Baton Rouge, representing the 1stCongressional District, were also re-appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards, with terms to expire in 2026.
The Board of Regents, a state agency created by the 1974 Louisiana Constitution, is a policy and advocacy board coordinating the activities of the state’s public higher education institutions. Its responsibilities include creating a statewide vision for educational attainment and talent development and adopting a funding formula to incentivize improved student outcomes. Members of Regents are gubernatorial appointees, chosen to serve six-year terms after receiving Senate confirmation. The sixteen-member, voluntary board includes two individuals from each Congressional District, as well as three members-at-large and a student member elected annually from the Council of Student Body Presidents.