University statement on death of Raymond S. Blanco
Raymond S. “Coach” Blanco joined the football coaching staff in 1963. From 1969 to 1974, he was dean of men, dean of student personnel, and dean of students. He then became vice president for Student Affairs, a position he held until his 2009 retirement.
Dr. Joseph Savoie is currently UL Lafayette’s president, but Blanco hired him in 1978 as an assistant dean of student personnel. The following can be attributed to Dr. Savoie.
Coach Blanco once said that students were among his best friends – and our students never had a better friend, or fiercer advocate, than Raymond Blanco.
His devotion to their success and his belief in social justice created a legacy that remains deeply rooted in our University’s culture.
Those of us who worked for and with Coach heard him say many times that it was a moral obligation to listen to students and to respond to their concerns with fairness and kindness.
While there are hundreds of stories about his larger-than-life exuberance and escapades, there are just as many tales of quiet mentorship and guidance. In dorm rooms and locker rooms, in his living room and kitchen, he sat with students and simply listened.
He treated them as if they were his own, and offered counsel grounded in a definite sense of right and wrong. He connected with students as individuals who deserved attention and respect. He listened with his ears and heard them with his heart.
If we are today a University that encourages dialogue and understanding, that prioritizes the success and safety of students, that infuses caring and compassion into our mission, then we can rightfully claim to be following the example set by Raymond Blanco.
The University community joins me in offering condolences to Karmen, Pilar, Monique, Nicole, Ray, and their families.
Photo caption: UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie, left, joined Raymond S. “Coach” Blanco and former Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco at the May 2019 dedication of a suite of offices in the UL Lafayette Student Union honoring Raymond Blanco. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)