James Williams for LSU Women’s Gymnastics

Please join us in celebrating and congratulating the LSU Women’s Gymnastics team on its first NCAA Championship win! This team’s success not only shines a spotlight on the positive sports culture at LSU and its female athletes but also makes a big impact on young women. Anything is possible if you work hard and have a passion for whatever it may be!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for our next guest. LSU is governed by a board of supervisors, which oversees Louisiana’s flagship university and its many campuses. At this time, please join me in welcoming the athletics chair of the LSU Board of Supervisors, James Williams.

James Williams:
Good evening, everyone. On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I want to first congratulate our team on all of their success. I need to recognize the chairman of our board, Jimmy Woods; and thank you for appointing me as Athletics Chairman and also for giving me the opportunity to make these remarks. I want to acknowledge our board members that are present. We have board member Laurie Aronson, board member, Pat Morrow, board member Remy Starns, board member Mary Werner, board member Lee Mallett, and board member Glenn Armentor. From the board, I want to extend congratulations to President Tate, chair of the department Scott Woodward, head coach Jay Clark, all of the assistant coaches, our gymnasts, and then congratulations to all the season ticket holders, all of our fans, all of our family, and all of our friends.

You’ve heard the mission of the Board of Supervisors. You’ve heard our duty, and we are particularly excited about this championship because, as former LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert says, “athletics – and in this situation, gymnastics – is the front porch, the front porch to our university.” There are a lot of great things happening here at LSU, but our gymnastics team is the curb appeal. It’s what people see on the outside. It’s what draws them in. Just like a front porch enhances the beauty of a home, the gymnastics team has enriched the fabric of our institution drawing attention and admiration for LSU from around the world. You don’t just win a championship based on speed and strength. Their journey to the top is a testament to their discipline and their intelligence that defines all LSU students and faculty.

But you see, a front porch is not just for curb appeal; it’s also a gathering spot. And think about what gymnastics has done this year alone as a gathering spot. When people packed into this PMAC, nobody said, “well, I’m going to only sit with the people from North Louisiana,” or “I’m going to only sit with Democrats or Republicans,” or “I’m not going to fool with those or sit with those people because they’re from the Northshore.” Black, white, purple, green, Republican, Democrat, whatever you want to call yourself. We all sat side by side, shoulder to shoulder in this arena to unify behind our national championship gymnastics team. Thank you for bringing us together. And what I want to say is Louisiana, for all of the knocks that people around the country want to give us, for all the ways people who don’t understand us, want to make fun of us and ridicule us, we’re the most talented state in the country. We are. We are. There’s more talent coming out of Louisiana than any place else despite what they say. And so, where I grew up, in the Louisiana I grew up in, when you’re the most talented, and people talk about you, they call that hating.

And what we do when people hate – and that’s why I love the way they compete – we put our best and our brightest up against your best and your brightest. And we let that do the talking. We let that do the talking. And now that we are champions, and I’ve likened the gymnastics team to the front porch, I want you to think about “the front porch to what?” The front porch to our house. This is our house. LSU belongs to us, to the people of Louisiana. But it’s only through efforts like your gymnastics team, like the fight you put forward day after day on television for the world to see. Everyone now knows what we already know. That LSU is full of champions. LSU is full of winners. and I’m just so proud that you are the latest installment of a legacy of greatness for this university. On behalf of the LSU Board of Supervisors, thank you for making us champions. Thank you for vindicating us. Thank you for letting us talk noise to all our friends.

Congratulations. Job well done.