John Warner Smith is the second University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate in a row designated Louisiana Poet Laureate.
The Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation has a new executive director.
Lee De León began his new role July 16. He comes to RCAF from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he was executive senior associate athletics director and assistant vice president for development.
Dr. Bryan Maggard, UL Lafayette’s director of athletics, said De León “is a proven fundraiser with immense experience in college athletics. I know he will hit the ground running and continue the success of the RCAF.”
The RCAF is the fundraising arm of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics. It provides financial support for student-athletes across the University’s 16 sports programs. As executive director, De León will oversee investments and cultivate major gifts, among other responsibilities. He also will serve as deputy director of athletics.
De León was athletics director at Abilene Christian University from 2014-2018. At the time of his appointment at the Texas university, De León was the nation’s youngest Division I athletics director.
A native of Houston, De León earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in sports management from Texas A&M University.
“Being from Houston, I’ve always had a deep appreciation for the passion and loyalty of the Louisiana fan base,” he said. “I'm really excited to begin building relationships in the Lafayette community and throughout Acadiana.”
From 2011 to 2014, De León was the University of New Mexico’s associate director of athletics for development. He also served as executive director of the Lobo Club, the university’s fundraising organization for athletics.
De León previously worked at the University of Arizona as the director of annual giving and as assistant athletics director for major gifts and annual giving; at the University of Houston as assistant director of marketing and director of marketing; and at LSU as a marketing assistant.
He succeeds Jim Harris, who led RCAF from 2015 until earlier this year, when the University of Maryland hired him as its executive director of development.