Dr. Haywood Joiner’s educational realm has just expanded. He will serve as the interim chancellor for Louisiana State University at Alexandria. Joiner officially moves into his new office as the calendar turns to September. “It is quite an honor. It’s beyond my wildest dreams,” Joiner says of his new position.
Dr. Joiner has served as chair of the department of allied health and interim chair of the department of business administration, and is looking forward to serving in the new role. “Education is the key to one’s future, and I’m honored to be selected to lead this institution into the future. LSUA is on an upward trajectory, and I will work hard alongside our faculty, staff and students to ensure we continue on that path,” Joiner says while sitting in a conference room at the LSUA campus.
Dr. Dan Howard stepped down as chancellor at the end of August to pursue quality time with his family while supporting philanthropic causes. As a result, Joiner will assume a leadership role that he says he could not fathom as a young boy growing up in the rural community of Boyce. “We lived in an agricultural community, and my dream as a boy was to drive a John Deere tractor,” Joiner says with a laugh. “There were five of us kids. My dad drove a school bus and owned an upholstery shop, and my mom worked as a lunchroom manager,” he adds.
At Wettermark High School, Joiner played on the basketball and baseball teams, sang baritone in the high school choir and excelled in chemistry and biology. He also sang in the Good Hope Baptist Church choir. When he was a junior, he met his future bride, Mary. “She was in the 8th grade. My friends dared me to talk to her. I asked her if I could carry her books and walk her home. She kicked me in the knee, but I followed her home anyway,” Joiner recalls.
The two made a definite connection, Joiner adds. “Our first date was at a Catholic dance hall on a Saturday night. Mary was in the ninth, and I was a senior. She’s been the only one since that walk to her gate.” The two celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary in July, and have two grown children, Angela and Haywood III, and five grandchildren.
After graduating with a class of six high school students, Joiner majored in Biology at Grambling State University. In college, he served as the Student Government Association president and sang in the Grambling choir for four years. “I liked to make a joyful noise,” Joiner, who still sings in his church choir, jokes. He and four of his college friends formed a band called the “Newtones” and even cut one 45 rpm record single called “Skate Philly Dog”. “It was soul music, and our claim to fame,” Joiner adds with a grin. The “Newtones” were known for their tight harmony, and sang across the state in concerts and for school dances. Joiner says Gospel music is his favorite music to sing, and his favorite song is “If I Can Help Somebody.” “That song has become my motto in life. If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living is not in vain. I believe we are here to help others,” notes Joiner.
Before graduating from Grambling with his bachelor’s degree, Joiner had decided he wanted to serve his country by becoming a jet pilot. However, due to a failed eye exam, he could not take to the skies. Instead, he joined the U.S. Air Force and served four years as a clinical laboratory specialist with the 457th Tactical Air Command Hospital at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. “The first person I drew blood from was a Thunderbird,” Joiner recalls. Even in the Air Force, Joiner continued his love of singing with joining the Nellis chapel choir and the male chorus. “I like songs that have a positive message. I draw a lot of my motivation from music, and try to get the message to the people listening,” he says.
After his military service, Joiner was employed at St. Francis Cabrini Hospital for 25 years, having served as the medical lab scientist, director of schools and medical technology, laboratory supervisor, director of education and director of human resources. Later, he became the administrator of Winward Hospital in Alexandria, which was a long-term care facility. After two years, Joiner accepted a position as the program director of the medical science program at Southern University–Shreveport. In addition, he served as the chairman of the division of allied health at Southern for five years before accepting a position in allied health at LSUA.
Joiner earned a master’s degree in education administration and supervision from Northwestern State University and a doctorate degree in allied health from Grambling. “I’m a big believer in setting goals. I believe what your mind can conceive, you can achieve. In my opinion, I think everything I need to become successful, I learned in Sunday School. ‘Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you,’ based on the Bible verse Matthew 7:7. To me, that is the thing that drives me,” Joiner says. To that end, Joiner says he always focuses on what he needs to do to accomplish his goals in life. Up until this summer, he taught classes as well as serving as the chair of allied health. This fall, and until a chancellor is selected, Joiner says he is happy to step into the role as the LSUA interim chancellor.
Besides being completely immersed in academia, Joiner has served on numerous boards in the community. He is past board chair of the Central Louisiana Area Health Education committee, past board president of the Arna Bontemps African American Museum, past president of the CENLA Kiwanis club, a member of the Rotary Club of Alexandria, commissioner of the Rapides Parish Housing Authority and a board member of Rapides Regional Medical Center. With razor-sharp goals in mind for the future of LSUA, Joiner says the college’s forecast looks bright, and is ready for the task to be at the head of the helm.