President of the university Dr. John L. Crain strives to ensure a good experience for students as the university’s ambassador.
The responsibilities of the president include overseeing various departments on campus, fundraising, advocating on behalf of the university, bridging the university management board and the University of Louisiana System, and representing the university on all levels.
Crain explained that one of the many important parts of his job is to represent the institution to different organizations.
Crain said, “I do spend a good bit of my time out in the public in meetings and with different organizations representing the university, and that might be everything from Chamber of Commerce meetings to a part of some business development organizations like Greater New Orleans Inc. for this region, the Northshore Business Council for this region, and others.”
Crain explained that although he makes final decision for the university, he listens to expertise from various professionals.
“There is a team of professionals, that you have to rely on their expertise and their knowledge,” said Crain. “So, it’s not just me. I may have the final word, but I rely heavily on the other professionals and their expertise and their knowledge base to make sure that we are doing the right thing.”
Crain likes to spend his time outside meetings and work reading fictional books, playing his piano and exercising.
“When I have time to read for personal pleasure, I like to read fiction,” said Crain. “I usually don’t read as much as I like to or used to when I had more free time but that, to me, is like an escape and step back from the real world of all the work, into the fictional world.”
Crain accumulated a lot of memories throughout his years of working with the university. He remembered the time when he went to a student’s house to present the diploma degree in an unusual circumstance.
“His father was very, very ill and couldn’t attend commencement to see him graduate,” said Crain. “So, he called the office and asked if it would be possible if I could come to his home and present him with his diploma so that his father could see that. So, I did. I drove out, presented him with his diploma, met his family, and took some photographs. You could just tell how much it meant to them.”
Crain expressed that he chose the professional career because he enjoys “seeing students grow, develop and succeed.” He likes to interact with students whenever he can, especially at commencement.
“Everything we do is driven by how it affects our students,” said Crain. “So, no matter what job you have, or how far up you go in the administrative chain, if you lose contact with students, I think that limits your perspective on seeing the university through their eyes and understanding their experience as much as possible.”
Crain feels it is rewarding to see students be successful in their lives and to realize that he played a role in that success.
“It’s at times a very difficult position, but it’s also a very rewarding position for me because it does let me feel that in some way I am affecting the lives of our students,” said Crain. “I get to see the really positive things that happens in people’s lives because of their education.”