A total of 1,786 degrees were awarded during the UL Lafayette’s 161st Commencement ceremonies Friday at the Cajundome and Convention Center.
Seven new professorships were completed at UL Lafayette Thursday when the Louisiana Board of Regents presented $280,000 in state funds to university leaders. The money will be matched with private donations raised by the university.
These endowments are part of the Regents’ Endowed Chair for Eminent Scholars and Endowed Professorships program.
“ Once again, our generous donors and the Regents are to be commended for their commitment to advancing higher education,” said UL Lafayette President Ray Authement. “Endowments like the ones created today are building blocks for this university’s academic future. They help attract high caliber faculty who then educate high caliber students.”
The state match combined with the private donations will create seven $100,000 professorships. The state funds come from the Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund, also known as the 8(g) fund.
Funding for this endowment program is generated through a permanent trust fund approved by voters in a 1996 constitutional amendment. The original $540 million payment was part of a settlement between state and federal governments over disputed offshore oil and gas royalty funds.
By 2004, the trust fund had risen to approximately $953 million. Twenty-five percent of interest earned each year is reinvested in the trust fund. The Legislature appropriates half of the remaining interest to the Board of Regents for higher education and the other half to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for grades K-12.
To create endowed chairs and professorships, colleges and universities must raise 60 percent of the cost from private donations. For example, a college or university must first raise $60,000 in private contributions for an endowed professorship. This endowment is then eligible to receive the Regents’ $40,000 match. Likewise, at least $600,000 for endowed chairs must come from private sources which are then combined with $400,000 from the Regents.
The Board of Regents will distribute $10.4 million in matching funds to public and private colleges and universities to help create 16 new endowed chairs and 100 new endowed professorships.
“ The LEQSF makes it much easier for Louisiana’s colleges and universities to attract new scholars and researchers,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Joe Savoie. “The fund also goes a long way toward stemming the much-publicized ‘brain drain’ by providing the means for our institutions to retain eminent faculty members, who themselves attract high-quality graduate students.”
UL Lafayette endowments which were matched today include:
• Anthony Moroux/BORSF Memorial Endowed Professorship in Political Science II
• Anthony Moroux/BORSF Memorial Endowed Professorship in Political Science III
• Patrick Rutherford/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Education
• Northwestern Mutual Financial Network/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Insurance and Risk Management
• A-CIM/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Engineering II
• The LAGCOE/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Petroleum Engineering
• Marine Survival Training Center/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Safety Engineering
Last year, the Regents delivered $200,000 in matching funds to UL Lafayette, creating five new endowed professorships.