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UL Lafayette issues statement on the death of author Dr. Ernest J. Gaines

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Fall 2019 Commencement ceremonies set for Friday, Dec. 20

Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees will be conferred during the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Fall 2019 Commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 20.

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The following can be attributed to Dr. Joseph Savoie, University of Louisiana at Lafayette president.

Ernest Gaines once said he wanted his epitaph to read: “He was a good man who wrote well.” And indeed he was – but to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he was far more.

He was a literary giant who found his muses among the sugar cane fields of his native Pointe Coupee Parish, and who shared those stories with readers around the globe.

He was an approachable, yet demanding, teacher who for a quarter century as a professor and writer-in-residence attracted aspiring writers to the University and helped them find their own inspirations.

He was a believer in the power of words to inspire unflinching, honest conversations about painful corners of our collective past.

He was a visionary who, following his retirement, worked to establish the Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University. We are deeply humbled that he chose us as the stewards of his legacy.

Ernest Gaines, a good man who wrote well, was also an extraordinary and inspiring figure in the American literary landscape.

My wife Gail and I join the entire University family in mourning his passing. He will be missed, but his words will live on.

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