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Plaza to be named in memory of beloved educator Carolyn Dural

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will name a plaza on campus near Griffin Hall in memory of Carolyn Dural, the College of Liberal Arts’ assistant dean and an alumna who died in August 2020.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors approved the “Carolyn Dural Plaza” on April 21. The plaza’s centerpiece will be the “Bending the Circle” sculpture. The large, aluminum sculpture of interlocking red hearts is intended to reflect the high, University-wide esteem in which Dural was held.

Dural earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in French from the University. She later taught the latter subject from 1995 to 1998, the same year she became assistant to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Her tenure as assistant dean of the college began in 2009.

In a March 31 letter to the UL System, Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president, wrote that “Ms. Dural assisted countless students in achieving their dreams. She also taught hundreds of faculty advisors how to help their students succeed.”

“Carolyn put people first and had a passion for helping students in the best and most effective ways possible,” he added.

The College of Liberal Arts – where Dural spent a quarter earning her reputation as a beloved, influential faculty member – agrees. It has established the “Carolyn Dural Memorial Fund.” The fund will support students participating in the University’s Study Abroad program in France and enable the creation of a faculty advising award. Both will be named for Dural.

“She was amazing. Everyone loved her and she left such an impression on everyone she encountered,” said Dr. Jordan Kellman, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

The college is also overseeing publication of a hardcover book by UL Press. The book will honor Dural’s life, career and influence. It will contain remembrances from colleagues, students and others, and scores of photographs of her. The book will be released during a plaza dedication and memorial ceremony for Dural; it will also be presented to her family members. Kellman anticipates the event to be held sometime this fall.

Beyond testimonials the book’s 54 pages will hold, its evolution represents her profound impact on others. The “labor of love,” Kellman explained, began as a link to a Google document that was circulated among faculty and staff members. The resulting outpouring of tributes was so great that “we finally figured we should publish it.”

Following the fall ceremony to dedicate the plaza and recognize Dural, copies of the book will be sold to help fund the scholarship. It will be awarded yearly to a student participating in the University’s Study Abroad program. The first scholarship – and the first advising award – are expected to be given sometime next year.

Photo caption: The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will honor beloved assistant dean Carolyn Dural (left) by naming a plaza for her, and establishing a scholarship and an advising award in her name. A book filled with tributes and photos will also be published. Dural spent 25 years as a faculty member at the University, where she earned a reputation for tirelessly helping students and colleagues succeed. She died in August 2020. Submitted photo
 

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