HAMMOND, La. (AP) — Two finalists are vying to be the next president at Southeastern Louisiana University.

The Louisiana Board of Regents meets next week and is expected to name a successor to Dr. John Crain, who announced his retirement in January after 35 years in higher education.

The finalists for the post are Dr. William Wainwright, chancellor of Northshore Technical Community College and Dr. Sebastian van Delden, dean of the School of Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, The Daily Star reported.

Wainwright and van Delden were among five semifinalists from the original field of 15 who were interviewed earlier this week.

Dr. Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System, said all of the semifinalists were outstanding candidates, any of which could have made “fine” presidents at SLU.

“It’s a very difficult decision between two extraordinarily qualified candidates; either one of them could be an exemplary leader for this institution,” Henderson said.

Henderson said the board will decide Thursday on the candidate who members believe is best positioned to lead Southeastern.

Wainwright, a University of Louisiana-Lafayette graduate, earned his master’s at Northwestern State University and his doctorate from the University of New Orleans. In 2012 he was a Harvard Institute for Educational Management Fellow. He has served at Northshore Technical Community College since 2006.

Van Delden, who was raised on the Dutch Island of Saba in the Caribbean, previously worked at Southeastern from 2012-15, serving as head of the Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology. He has been at the College of Charleston since leaving SLU.

Henderson will make his recommendation to the board following interviews with both candidates during Thursday’s meeting. The new president is expected to be announced later that day.

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