A total of 1,786 degrees were awarded during the UL Lafayette’s 161st Commencement ceremonies Friday at the Cajundome and Convention Center.
Five new endowed professorships at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette were completed Thursday after the Louisiana Board of Regents presented $200,000 to university leaders.
The funds will be matched with private donations to UL Lafayette as part of the Regents' Endowed Chair for Eminent Scholars and Endowed Professorships program.
"Our private donors and the Regents are to be honored for their work in helping this university attract leading faculty," said UL Lafayette President Ray Authement. "Professorships and scholarships established through this program help make UL Lafayette a leader in academics. A program like this is important to higher education here at this university and all across the state."
The state match along with the private funds will create five $100,000 professorships. The state funds come from the Louisiana Quality Support Fund, also known as the 8(g) fund.
Funding for the endowment matching funds program is generated through a permanent trust fund approved by voters in a 1986 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 2003, the trust fund has risen to approximately $939 million. Twenty-five percent of the interest earned each year is reinvested in the 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, to create an endowed professorship, a college or university must first raise at least $60,000 from private contributions, which then makes it 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 $8.24 million in matching grants to public and private colleges and universities to help fund 10 new endowed chairs for eminent scholars and 84 new endowed professorships.
"These presentations are an excellent opportunity to highlight some of the great successes in Louisiana postsecondary education in recent years," said Commissioner of Higher Education Joe Savoie. "Two very significant success stories are the Louisiana Education Quality Support Fund and the generosity of a host of private citizens and corporations in this state who understand that investment in Louisiana's colleges and universities is the best way to ensure our state's long-term economic and social vitality."
UL Lafayette's endowments which were matched today include:
Van Eaton & Romero/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Real Estate
The Lafayette Coca-Cola/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Hospitality Management III
The Lafayette Coca-Cola/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Mathematics
Anthony Moroux/BORSF Memorial Endowed Professorship in Political Science I
Dr. Tommy Comeaux/BORSF Memorial Endowed Professorship in Traditional Music IV
Last year, the Regents also distributed $200,000 in matching funds to UL Lafayette, creating five endowed professorships.