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Outdoor Classroom Dedicated to Former Dean

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An outdoor classroom and nine Holly trees were dedicated in memory of a former dean at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and leader in the horticulture industry earlier this week.

Members of Dr. James A. Foret's family along with friends and colleagues joined together at the Ira Nelson Horticulture Center on Tuesday to honor the former dean of the College of Agriculture (now the College of Applied Life Sciences).

"James Foret's roots go deep into the soil at this university," said UL Lafayette President Dr. Ray Authement. "Every time we see a camellia bush blooming, we know James Foret is alive and well. The beauty of this campus speaks to his hard work."

Foret was instrumental in introducing the nursery trade to the university while also serving as a consultant for nurserymen, florists, home gardeners and municipalities during his career.

"He didn't know an eight hour day," said Jim Foret, one of Dr. Foret's sons. "He spent a lot of time here at the Ira Nelson Center doing research and teaching students. That's why it's very appropriate this area be dedicated in his memory."

Several wood benches and nine Holly trees circle a brick podium with a plaque which includes a sketch of Dr. Foret and words of dedication. The area is to the rear of the Ira Nelson Center.

"It's fitting to have a podium here," said John Foret, another of Dr. Foret's sons. "My dad love God, his family, horticulture and teaching. Our family will always been indebted to you for this honor."

Before serving as dean, Dr. Foret was an associate professor and then professor of horticulture at UL Lafayette. He led the Department of General Agriculture as well as the Department of Plant Industry. He also served as research director for the Louisiana Society for Horticulture Research and was general chairman of the American Horticulture Congress.

In addition, Dr. Foret spoke at various garden clubs, civic clubs and helped judge flower shows. His professional activities included membership in the American Society for Horticultural Science and the Weed Science Society of America among many other organizations.

During his career, he was honored for his service in the horticultural industry by both the Louisiana Association of Nurserymen and the Texas Association of Nurserymen. His research introduced to cultivation numerous plants include the "Ilex Cornuta Cultivars" from Avery Island.

The dedication ceremony was hosted by the South Louisiana Mid Winter Fair Association along with the Louisiana Society for Horticultural Research and the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association.

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