BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — A third meeting was held Wednesday to name and review semi-finalists for Southern University’s President-Chancellor position but that wasn’t the case.

“It’s been a labor of love this far, we think a lot about the Southern University System, we want to get this right,” said Managing Principal Rod McDavis. “We identified a number of presidents and chancellors across the country that we contacted personally, individually by phone, we sent emails to others.”

In July, Southern University President-Chancellor Ray Belton announced he would retire in the fall of 2022 after holding the role for the last seven years. On Wednesday, the committee’s goal was to narrow down semi-finalists for his position.

“Many of the potential applicants for this opportunity saw Southern University as a diamond in the rough,” said McDavis.

2,000 emails were sent out in search of the right applicant, according to committee members. That’s twice as many as they normally send for a search of this nature.

While the committee has compiled a pool of applicants to review, they are still being met with one issue — the eventual publication of an applicant’s name. 

“For a lot of presidents and chancellors that was a mountain too tall to climb,” said McDavis.

This dealbreaker, however, is something the committee cannot change. 

“That’s one of the awesome tasks of stepping up to the public, public government, is that transparency is a key principle in what the activity is,” said attorney Brandon DeCuir.

To review semifinalists the committee broke off for an executive session to protect applicants’ information and were not named at the end of the session. It was voted that interviews be rescheduled to a later date.

The search committee is set to meet again in January.