Randy Brown, Bossier Press-Tribune
Former Bossier Parish Community College Chancellor Tom Carleton passed away on Thursday May 11, 2023 at the age of 78.
As his obituary reads: “Chancellor Carleton began his teaching career at Airline High School in 1967. He became a full-time teacher at Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) in 1974 and was named Dean of Community Education before being promoted into administration as Vice Chancellor of Administration in 1988, going on to become Chancellor in 1994. He served as BPCC Chancellor from 1994 through 2009, at which point he retired.”
As the obituary continues: “Chancellor Carleton was known for leading and serving his students, faculty and staff at BPCC. It is a well known fact and a belief held by countless individuals in the Bossier community (and beyond) that Tom Carleton’s vision, drive, networking and problem solving skills all worked together in allowing the current BPCC campus to become a reality. In addition to serving at BPCC for 35 years, he also served south Bossier Parish as Justice of the Peace for over 40 years and belonged to numerous clubs and organizations around the Shreveport-Bossier community.
In an effort to highlight the tremendous impact that Chancellor Tom Carleton made during his 35 years of service to both BPCC and the northwest Louisiana community at large, the Bossier Press-Tribune reached out to current and former BPCC administrators and community leaders instrumental in moving BPCC forward. In speaking of Chancellor Carleton, local business and community leader Kevin McCotter said, “Chancellor Carleton had a passion for improving the student experience. He led the transformation of BPCC to a nationally recognized community college and connected with students in a way that motivated them to keep growing and improving. Under his leadership, BPCC became a true part of the northwest Louisiana higher education experience.”
McCotter formerly served on the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors. And, he, Don Jones and John McConathy formed Campus Facilities, Inc. (CFI) in 1999. CFI, was formed for the purpose of building the current BPCC campus which opened in 2005. CFI continues to exist today as owner of the campus with BPCC as the tenant. McCotter continues to serve as president of CFI.
Dr. Rick Bateman, current BPCC Chancellor, said “Every single success that BPCC enjoys today… was built upon the foundation set by Tom Carleton. This importance of this man to higher education in Northwest Louisiana cannot be overstated. Tom will be dearly missed.”
And, Dr. Jim Henderson, President of the University of Louisiana System, served as BPCC Chancellor from 2009-2014. Dr. Henderson replaced Tom Carleton as BPCC Chancellor in 2009, upon Chancellor Carleton’s retirement. In speaking of Tom Carleton, Dr. Henderson said “Tom Carleton was a visionary leader who built the finest community college campus in Louisiana before it was cool. His engaging, gregarious personality was obvious to any who met him, but his commitment to students was his defining trait. His legacy is still being built by all who have followed him to BPCC.”
Funeral services for Tom Carleton will be held at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City, Louisiana. Visitation will be held from 5:00-7:00 p.m., May 17, 2023, at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, with a private burial to follow the service at Providence Cemetery in Ringgold, Louisiana.