BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Southern University and A&M College experience a change in leadership.

Dennis Shields is the new President-Chancellor. The Midwest native spends the majority of his career advocating for better access to higher education.

“I mean we have Jaguars placed in all levels of corporate America and the government. And they’re all reaching back to help the folks that come behind them achieve even more than they have,” said Shields.

Since Southern University’s main campus is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the capital city, President Shields says it’s important to pay attention to the needs of our community.

“We have to continue being very responsive to our stakeholders which includes elected officials, business and industry, and being responsive to the need that they have,” said Shields.

Shields says he does not take full responsibility for the success of Southern. He emphasizes that no institution is successful because of one person.

“I rely on all the other great leaders, all the great people that work there,” said Shields.

Although President Shields is no stranger to working in higher education, he says as one of the newest leaders to enter the Jaguar nation, there are obstacles to face.

“The biggest challenge is learning all that I can about the whole institution so that I can help and assist them be successful,” said Shields.

Overall, the newly elected chancellor says the culture at Southern University is unmatched.

“The food, the people, the music, different rhyme, and reason. You know – you only have to look at the Human Jukebox and see what they do and know that there’s a different thing going on here,” he said. “That’s great fun! I’m here because I wanted to be a part of that experience.”

Shields has one more message for students, faculty, and fans… “Go Jags!”