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Our trailblazer story

University of Louisiana System

Featuring Dr. Jim Henderson

Since 2019, the University of Louisiana System through its Compete LA initiative has intentionally worked to re-engage the 1-in-5 Louisiana adults who have some college but no degree. The statewide college completion initiative provides a dedicated team of coaches and personalized counseling services to these students, many of whom are working adults aged 25-44. Since its inception, Compete LA has enrolled over 1,000 stopped-out adults and celebrated the graduation of over 280 students. With nine regional universities located across the Pelican state, the UL System has been able to reach returning adults in rural, urban, and suburban areas who never thought finishing college was a possibility for them.

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About jim henderson

President and CEO, UL System/Compete LA

Dr. James Henderson became the University of Louisiana System president Jan. 1, 2017.


Since his appointment, he has led the Universities of Louisiana in the creation of a strategic framework that charges its universities to produce the most educated generation in Louisiana’s history, drive growth through public/private partnerships and research, and recruit, retain, and develop world class faculty who educate students, empower employers, and enrich communities. There are various systemic functions that ensure success, one of the newest is Compete LA, a program designed to assist the 653,000 Louisianians with some college credit but no degree.

Previously, Henderson served as president of his alma mater, Northwestern State University, where he reinvigorated student life and campus culture leading to the highest enrollment in the school’s 135-year history. Before taking the helm of NSU, Henderson served as chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College. During his tenure, the institution ranked among the five fastest growing colleges in the nation for five consecutive years.

In 2012, Henderson was named a Northwest Louisiana Business Hall of Fame Laureate and in 2017 he was inducted into Northwestern State University’s hall of honor, the Long Purple Line.

Driving Policy Change 

to empower all students

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