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Bid On Chance To See Alicia Keys, Jimmy Buffet, B.B. King

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This may be a deal music lovers can't pass up - two VIP tickets, backstage passes and a meet-and-greet with Grammy-award winning Alicia Keys when she performs at the New Orleans Arena on May 22. Throw in a photo with the artist as lagniappe.

2008 Spring Gala Auction Committee This music package, along with several others, is up for bids at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Spring Gala on March 15. The event will feature both live and silent auctions.

If Keys' style of music isn't for you, how about Jimmy Buffet or B.B. King? Travel packages for those performers are part of the auctions as well.

“ We always try to bring new and exciting items to the auctions each year,” said Melanie Martin, chair of the Gala's auction committee. “We want to have something for everyone.”

Other items of interest include a week stay in a luxury Cabo San Lucas penthouse with airfare, free tuition to UL Lafayette, fleur-de-lis jewelry of all sorts, season tickets and travel packages with Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns and many gift certificates to fine dining restaurants throughout Acadiana.

Spring Gala is a fundraiser for UL Lafayette's Alumni Association. But, this year, the Gala will also serve as the community's opportunity to formally acknowledge retiring President Ray Authement and his wife Barbara.

Both will serve as honorees for the 12th annual gala at the Cajundome Convention Center at 6:30 p.m.

Authement - the nation's longest serving president of a public university - announced his retirement April 27. The couple have been married for 56 years and have two daughters.

Most recently, the association honored Authement with its Outstanding Alumni Award and surprised Barbara with the Honorary Alumni Award - an award rarely given.

Under Authement's guidance, UL Lafayette has become a major economic force in Acadiana. The university earned a national reputation in the fields of computer science, environmental and biological research and Francophone studies.

During his administration, the university became a selective admissions institution sand designated as a “research university with high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation. He was a major force in successfully changing the name of the university from the University of Southwestern Louisiana to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. And since becoming UL Lafayette's fifth president, Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns have competed in NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate athletic competition.

He is also responsible for the development of University Research Park, which houses numerous national research centers, the LITE facility and a hotel.

Authement earned his bachelor's degree in physics from UL Lafayette in 1950. He later earned a master's degree and Ph.D. from LSU in mathematics. He began teaching at UL Lafayette in 1962. He was named president in 1974.

The Spring Gala offers fine food, entertainment and both silent and live auctions. Mary Galyean, president-elect of the UL Lafayette Alumni Association, serves as chair of the Spring Gala.

Tickets are $200 per couple or $100 per individual. Corporate sponsor tables may be purchased for $5,000 or patron sponsor tables are available for $2,000. Cox Communications is the Gala's first presenting sponsor. Proceeds from the Gala are used for Alumni Center improvements.

To donate auction items or for more information, call 337-482-0900 or visit www.louisianaalumni.org.